BOB:  Rangers Sale Gets Nasty

Rangers sale continues to get nasty

Right now, things are at a standstill between Hicks Sports Group, the owners of the Texas Rangers, and the company’s creditors over the sale of the ballclub. As Maury Brown reports, it now looks like MLB is set to take control of the team because of the impasse. This would give control of the sale to the league and would probably speed up the sale to the group led by Chuck Greenberg. I say probably only because when it comes to MLB, it usually takes a lot longer than anticipated.

For now, it looks like Hicks and his creditors are about $30 million apart. Monarch Alternative Capital seems to be the primary offender. They scooped up a bunch of the debt at a discount and they’re holding things up to bump up their profit.

Giants getting into basketball

The San Francisco Giants have joined forces with four different groups that are looking to buy the NBA’s Golden State Warriors. The Giants aren’t looking for a controlling stake but their participation could come in a variety of forms from a marketing partnership to a direct investment in the team. It’s probably not coincidental that the Giants hold negotiating rights to some land where the Warriors could end up looking to build a new arena if they were ever moved.

As far as synergies between the Giants and the Warriors, it appears that there’s many. In a great piece Henry Schulman, the positives for both the Giants and the Warriors are described.

Camden Yards facelift

Oriole Park at Camden Yard was the stadium that set the trend for a whole generation of ballparks. It’s hard to believe that as far as ballparks go, it’s now one of the oldest because I remember when it opened during a time when new ballparks weren’t as common. Now at 18 years old, Camden Yards needs some work. That’s why Janet Marie Smith, who was around when the ballpark opened, now has the task of fixing up the classic ballpark while making sure none of the aesthetics are lost.

One of her ideas involves integrating the ballpark with the city around it. The club levels will probably also get an overhaul with some suites going by the wayside. It’s funny how things have come full circle. Suites were the cash cow of a new stadium and now they’re expendable in this rough economy.

Arizona is Ground Zero for immigration debate

Last week, Arizona passed an aggressive anti-immigration law. Everyone has their opinions on it, but it’s causing a headache for baseball for a number or reasons. Arizona is spring training home to half of MLB’s teams, there’s a major league team there fulltime and the sport has a growing number of Hispanic players. Now those opposed to the law are boycotting everything Arizona, and that includes Diamondbacks games. Some players have said they’ll boycott the Arizona Fall League and the union has opined on their opposition to the law.

So far, Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB has remained mum on the issue. How the league reacts will be interesting because many think they’ll have to take a stand but they’re also going to make some group of people unhappy.

Giving scouts their due

Benjamin Hill’s latest is a great piece on professional scouts and the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. It opened in 2008 and is now considered the unprecedented shrine for scouts in a profession that largely goes under appreciated in baseball. There are actually four locations and they’re all ballparks owned by the Goldklang Group that also established the Scouts Hall of Fame. To date, there are 28 members in the Hall of Fame including five who are being honored this year. Baseball card company Topps has also taken an interest in the group by starting a line of baseball cards that feature scouts.

Legendary Broadcaster Ernie Harwell dies at 92

After a year-long battle with inoperable cancer, former Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell passed away Tuesday at the age of 92. To put things in perspective, we just talked about Vin Scully celebrating the 60th anniversary of his first game. Harwell called Dodgers games before Scully did. Harwell was “my” broadcaster. He’s the guy I listened to growing up and for me, he is baseball. Thanks for the memories Ernie.

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