Selig: Rangers sale needs to be finalized

Updated: May 13, 2010, 7:16 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig expressed concern Thursday that the sale of the Texas Rangers to Rangers Baseball Express, a group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and club president Nolan Ryan, was not finalized.

"That needs to be completed as expeditiously as possible -- underscoring, underlining expeditiously," said Selig, speaking in conjunction with owners' meetings in New York on Thursday. "I'm concerned about the length of time it's taken. I'm concerned for the franchise, for their fans."

Selig would not address whether MLB would use the "best interests of the game" clause and seize the franchise in order to complete the sale.

"We'll let human events determine that," he said.

The deal between Hicks Sports Group and Rangers Baseball Express agreed upon on Jan. 23 is contingent on approval from the 40 lenders of HSG. So far, that has not happened. All parties involved have been exploring options to relieve the impasse. That includes MLB, which could seize the franchise and, in the process, circumvent the creditors and complete the sale. Of course, that would likely spark the creditors to sue, which could include the filing of an involuntary bankruptcy petition. That might leave the fate of the sale in the hands of a judge.

HSG was forced to put the club up for sale after defaulting on a $525 million loan last season. MLB has also put some money into the financially strapped club.

Current owner Tom Hicks negotiated with Houston businessman Jim Crane and former agent Dennis Gilbert before selecting Greenberg's group as the buyer. The two sides worked out a purchase agreement in January and have been seeking approval from creditors ever since. The deal is also subject to approval by 75 percent of the owners, which isn't expected to be a problem.

MLB issued a statement in late April that it was in control of the sale and didn't want any interference. The comment came hours after Hicks had talked to reporters before the Rangers played in Boston, with Hicks saying he was concerned the sale wouldn't go through and that some of the creditors felt the Greenberg bid wasn't the highest one and wanted "to learn more about their options."

In the Rangers' clubhouse this week, players said they are aware of the ongoing ownership drama but aren't concerned about it.

"We don't get paid to think about who's running the team," left fielder Josh Hamilton said. "We get paid to play baseball. That's just not high on the priority list. We're getting our paychecks and we don't worry about it. I think fans worry about it more because it's how the organization is run, it's how the atmosphere around the ballpark is run. We don't think about it all. I don't think about it unless you guys ask."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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