Don't despair, Houston Astros fans. I know you're tired of bad baseball. I know you're a tired of good ol' boy Drayton and his bumbling sidekick Ed. I know you're tired of laggards like Carlos Lee and contracts wasted on the likes of Pedro Feliz. I know you're fed up with all of this, but don't worry. There's still hope.
Last week Mark Cuban was cleared by MLB to bid on the Texas Rangers, and if he's really interested in buying the Rangers, and with the team's bankruptcy auction now set for August 4th, there now exists reason to hope that the bid submitted by Nolan Ryan's group to purchase the Rangers out of bankruptcy will be rejected. And if that happens, maybe somebody can talk to Nolan about using that money to instead buy the Astros from Drayton McLane.
It's a reach, but there's hope.
It appeared earlier this year that Ryan's ownership of the Rangers was a sure thing. But the team's creditors thought that too much money was going to owner Tom Hicks, and not enough of it was going to pay off the money owed them by Hicks. So they complained. The Rangers went into bankruptcy as another way of getting around the creditors and getting the team to Ryan and his partners. But the creditors were able to prevail on the judge, and bidding on the team will begin anew come August 4.
The creditors convinced the bankruptcy to reopen the bidding by saying that were potential owners out there who were willing to bid more money for the team than Ryan. One such bidder was Jim Crane, the douche who backed out of a deal to buy the Astros several years ago. But with the entry of Mark Cuban into the proceedings, it appears the creditors really knew what they were speaking about.
Cuban attempted to purchase the Chicago Cubs several years ago, but he found himself fighting the baseball establishment and the credit crisis, and eventually cronies of commissioner Bud Selig purchased that team. But with MLB having footed the bills for the Rangers over the past two seasons, it appears that they're a bit more willing to let Cuban join the elite baseball owners club.
And while Cuban has supposedly claimed that he would keep Ryan in the position of team president, the hope for Astros fans must be that Ryan, having had a taste of ownership, will decide to buy the Astros because this could be the absolute best scenario that any Astros fan can hope for.
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Ryan has proven himself as a businessman. His minor league teams, the Round Rock Express and Corpus Christi Hooks, are successful, well-run franchises. There's no evidence that he's one of those nickel-and-dime owners when it comes to ticket prices or concessions. And his work as the president of the Rangers has demonstrated that he's not just a figurehead - that's probably why he wanted out from the position he had on Drayton's so-called management team.
More important, Ryan's attitude with the Rangers has been about winning baseball teams, and doing what is necessary to make that happen. That's not the attitude that's been seen in Houston the past several seasons. It's not that attitude where a great marketing campaign is more important than actually winning. Ryan's the type to think winning a baseball game is more important than somebody's quest for 3,000 hits.
Since the Rangers have been operating under the tight financial control of MLB, Ryan hasn't been able to waste money. Yet he found a way to pull off a trade for Cliff Lee without decimating his farm system or adding a huge amount of payroll. It's hard to envision Ryan wasting money on Carlos Lee, Kaz Matsui, or Pedro Feliz.
So here's hoping that Mark Cuban finds the money to purchase the Rangers. And here's to hoping that Nolan Ryan decides to, once again, return home and bail out the Astros. That might be the only chance the Astros have for returning to relevancy.