The Texas Rangers, A Klein High Kid And Richard Justice
Richard Justice is a columnist,
not a reporter. And as part of his job, he's supposed to give
his opinions, no matter how wrong I think they usually are. But
that said, when he's writing an opinion piece trashing Klein High School's Matthew
Purke for turning down a $4-million-a-year contract with the
Texas Rangers so as to go to TCU, Justice really owes it to everybody
to make sure his opinion is really based on the facts of what actually
So that you don't actually
have to read Justice's blog post, here's a short summary. Purke was the number-one draft of the Texas Rangers in this year's
amateur player draft. Purke, not satisfied with the Rangers offer,
chose to instead attend TCU and play college baseball. According
to Justice, Purke turned down a $4 million offer, making him
an idiot who needs to question his priorities. Justice also states
that the Rangers should be asking hard questions of their baseball people
for wasting a draft pick on a player that they could not sign. He then praises Drayton McLane because it is McLane's edict that the
team not draft the most talented players, but instead draft players
that can be signed to contracts.
That's the Richard Justice
version of what happened. That's not what really happened, of
course, but I'm supposing that Justice just guesses that his readers
only use the internet to read his posts, but otherwise don't seek
out other stories on these topics. Because otherwise, he would
have figured that the readers might actually plug some names into that
Google thing and come up with a more accurate set of facts.
The Texas Rangers knew all
along how much money Purke and his parents were seeking. A number
of teams actually passed on Purke because of this, which is why the
Rangers were able to draft him. And knowing how much Purke was
seeking, the Rangers chose to draft him because they felt they could
get him to agree to a more reasonable number. Purke was seeking $6 million dollars. At the last minute, the Rangers offered up
the $4 million figure. But the reason that Purke didn't
agree to the $4 million was not that he was a greedy
punk, it was because Major League Baseball forced the Rangers to withdraw
the offer and instead offer $2.3 million at the last moment.
And since the signing deadline
was Monday, and since MLB stepped in on Monday, there wasn't a lot
of time for negotiating. Thus Purke decided to go to college,
and scribes and loudmouths like Justice decided to trash Purke.
But Purke and his family were
working under a set of conditions that were apparently unknown to anybody
but some of the Rangers officials and MLB. You see, the Rangers
have a bit of a financial problem. That financial problem being
that owner Tom Hicks is defaulting on his debts and his franchise is
now being bankrolled by MLB -- that's right, MLB is responsible for
everybody that's being paid by the team. And as the deadline
approached, MLB -- supposedly at the behest of the other owners -- stepped
in and interfered with the efforts of the Rangers front office, including
Nolan Ryan, to sign Purke because the rest of the owners didn't want
the kid to get paid.
Now it's easy for Justice
to trash Purke. He's just a kid and he's not friends with
MLB commissioner Bud Selig like Justice is. But seeing as how
Justice was hanging out at Bud's house on Sunday, and seeing as how Justice talks about
how he's buds with Bud all of the time, and seeing as how Klein is
an area school, you might think that Justice would've made a few calls
and attempted to get some of the facts before writing his hit piece,
but instead, he chose to take the easy way out.
It seems to me that the villain of this piece isn't Purke, it's MLB, because it's clear that MLB isn't thinking of what's in the best long term interest of the Rangers, it's thinking of what's best in the short term for MLB. And seeing as how the Washington Nationals have yet to recover from their stewardship by MLB, this might end up being very bad news for the Rangers.
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