And so, after a year-long battle to purchase the Rangers that entailed initially working with -- and then later battling against -- Hicks Sports Group, overcoming ravenous creditors, incurring setbacks in bankruptcy court, and ultimately besting Mark Cuban and company in an epic day-long auction, all for the privilege of holding the title of team CEO and managing partner ... well, it turns out that this is where it ends for Chuck Greenberg's involvement with the Rangers organization.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Greenberg could announce as early as today that he is resigning to "pursue other interests"; of course, this minor blurb alone obviously doesn't suffice as far as explaining what on earth really happened here, and to that end Wilson further indicates that though no single reason was given for Greenberg's imminent departure, his "method of operations could have created disagreements within the organization, including with team president Nolan Ryan, and among the ownership group and even Major League Baseball." Greenberg was reportedly not in attendance at several key functions this past weekend with the rest of the Rangers' ownership consortium and advertising executives in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirms that Greenberg is on his way out, further clarifying that Greenberg no-showed a private party for the team's employees and players on Sunday night in Arizona (which he was supposed to co-host with Nolan Ryan), and drops something of a bombshell: according to one story floating through organizational circles, Greenberg may have killed a trade that would have sent Michael Young packing to an unknown destination by demanding that Young relinquish the interest on the $9.24 million of deferred money in his contract -- payable beginning in 2016 -- in order to facilitate a deal. Demanding such a concession would have effectively diminished the value of Young's contract, and apparently would have violated the terms of baseball's current collective bargaining agreement.
My first instinct is to believe that the most we're likely ever going to get is a partial account of what caused this breakup, and that the more controversial or sordid aspects of the falling-out won't be publicly reported -- unless, of course, certain parties within the organization take a big chance by disclosing more of the details, or the main financial backers of Rangers Baseball Express decide to set the record straight themselves, or a baseball official tucked away in the league offices whispers to the national writers like Buster Olney and Ken Rosenthal. If you're expecting absolute transparency from Greenberg or Ryan on what really happened here, your level of expectation is sorely off base, because you're not going to get it from them. No public figure with a vested interest in preventing this from becoming a distraction is going to spill the beans.
But for better or for worse, this is now a distraction in every sense of the word for the die-hard Rangers fan, and a truly blind-siding development for an organization that seemed to be moving past the Michael Young-induced turmoil and moving forward in a united, cohesive, fan-friendly direction. In terms of on-the-field impact, I seriously doubt that we're going to see a material change in how the baseball operations or management departments go about their business, but this raises some interesting questions as far as how the Rangers intend to market themselves going forward (and for that matter, whether this will signal a change in ownership's relatively hands-off approach to this point), and how the departure of the man who many heralded as the "savior" of the Rangers only a few short months ago is going to affect public opinion of the organization.