Greenberg: Rangers can be a power
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Chuck Greenberg, who has an agreement in place with Hicks Sports Group to purchase the Texas Rangers, walked onto the field in Arlington wearing a red Rangers pullover.
"I bought this thing during that homestand where it rained almost every day last year," Greenberg said. "It just sat on my chair the last four months. I didn't put it on until Saturday night."
Saturday was when his group, Rangers Baseball Express, finally got the deal hammered out with former owner Tom Hicks. It won't become official until HSG's 40 lenders and 75 percent of the MLB owners approve the agreement. That could take another few months. But Greenberg said Monday he's hopeful that it will all be resolved by Opening Day.
Greenberg took some time to talk with ESPNDallas.com about the team and his vision.
Q: Give us a sense of how this club will operate in terms of your role and others. Will you make the day-to-day decisions? How will it work?
A: I'll be the managing partner and CEO. If you like what's going on or you don't like what's going on, I take responsibility for that. Nolan [Ryan] and I will work very closely tougher. When it comes to baseball, I'm not going to interject my opinions. I love the game of baseball and I love talking baseball. If Nolan and JD [Jon Daniels] want to discuss something with me, they can, but I have complete faith and trust in the decisions that they make. I'll be as involved as they wish me to be, but with complete faith and confidence in them.
What I'm going to focus on, particularly since the baseball side is in great shape, is the business side. How do we connect with the community? How do we create a higher tempo of energy in the front office? How can we do a better job of filling the stands and make an impact on people's lives? If we succeed on the business side and continue on path on the baseball side and combine it with a dynamic market like this is, we can be and should be one of the powerhouse franchises in baseball.
Q: Define your philosophy and direction for the club.
A: We want to be passionately and obsessively dedicated to being the very best we can be in everything we do. That's scouting, developing, playing hard, playing smart, connecting to the community in terms of what we do on the baseball side of things. And in the front office, we want to get out in the community and positively affect people's lives. We want them to know that the Rangers are here to serve our fans, not ourselves.
We want to do everything we possibly can to make an experience of being at a Rangers game memorable. We want to be absolutely obsessive and passionate about going to bed every night with the idea that we want to be better when we wake up. That means getting ideas from fans, media, players, elected officials, business partners. If there's an idea that can make us better, we want to hear about it. We don't think we have a monopoly on wisdom. We'll embrace the opportunity to get better.
Q: Why did you choose the Texas Rangers to make this purchase attempt? What was it about this team that interested you?
A: I think the Rangers are the perfect set of circumstances. It has a wonderful community that loves its sports. It deeply wants to believe in the Rangers, but hasn't had an opportunity to have those dreams fully realized. They have an outstanding, young major league team and a great farm system. The baseball operation is tremendous. Four of the top 51 picks in the draft, which means an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent. But it's a franchise that needs a little push and a little infusion of energy to help it connect in a way where the whole is more than the sum of the impressive parts. Hopefully that's what we're going to be able to do. All of the elements to have a great, great franchise are here. It just needs a little push and direction to get there.
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A: He's a special person. His personal values and qualities are exemplary. He's a great role model for everybody, but particularly for players as they develop as professionals. His knowledge in the game and insights are staggering. He's got great judgment. When you combine all of that with the towering respect that everyone throughout the community and in the game has for him, it's really the total package in terms of the person you want to lead the baseball side of the operations.
He's done a great job. I think Jon Daniels has done a great job. I think together they are a duo that every franchise in baseball would be thrilled to have. But the Texas Rangers have him, and that's a great thing.
Q: What role will Tom Hicks have in the club?
A: I give Tom an enormous amount of credit for providing a smooth, clean passing of the torch toward a new era. I'm sure there was a tremendous temptation to be involved and to be on the board, but I think for the franchise's future and for Tom's legacy, the way we ended up putting this together is best for everyone. I think Tom deserves a lot of credit for that. It really is a smooth and clean transition, but Tom is a very important member of the community. He's had a lot of experiences throughout his tenure as a sports franchise owner and we won't hesitate to call upon him and benefit from those insights.
A: That depends. If you have a veteran team, the payroll is different than a younger team. You have to be able to scout and develop well and have a pipeline of prospects and then as they grow into outstanding players, you have to have the resources to keep them. The idea is not to be a farm team where you just have good young players and they reach a certain level and they go on to play in New York or Boston.
In a market like the Metroplex, the resources are here. We have to do a better job of cultivating that support. Is there one payroll figure that makes sense? No. I just think it depends on the circumstances. We have to be in position to continue to add the pieces and be a championship club and make sure it stays that way.
Q: Will the Rangers spend like a big-market team?
A: If the organization is doing all of the things it ought to do in all facets of the operation, this franchise should be able to operate like a big-market team. When you look at Anaheim and Philadelphia, they are smart, clever, have resources and use them wisely. Those are types we can emulate.
Q: Are there a few things you'd do to the park?
A: I certainly don't want to be judgmental. I was at about 16 games last year and formed some preliminary impressions. I think that it's a beautiful, iconic ballpark. I love it. But in terms of some of the bells and whistles, what was state of the art in 1994 could use some freshening up in 2010. The LED ribbons were terrific, but I do believe that having a more centrally located HD video board can enable the game-day experience to be enhanced for fans and business partners. But it's not just a matter of buying an expensive piece of video equipment.
Whatever we do with this ballpark will be with care for the legacy of the ballpark. We made improvements to the ballpark with my teams a year or so after we bought them and when we were done there, it was tough to see what was new and what wasn't. I like that. It has to go with how the ballpark is now and work for the place.
Q: Once this deal is official, what are you looking forward to most?
A: Everything. Everything about a franchise is special to me. I love watching the game and hearing the sounds. I love interacting with fans. I love the look on a kid the first time he's been to a game or the look of Mom and Dad as they watch their son or daughter at a game. It's nice to see friends enjoying the games. The ballpark is a great gathering place. To be a part of that, I take enormous pride in. To be able to do it in a community as wonderful and dynamic as Metroplex with a franchise and fans who waited patiently to have their moment, to have a chance to try to deliver on that promise is awfully exciting.