This is an object lesson that sports fans do not want the courts, teh government, and maybe even Major League Baseball in its business. The Texas Rangers are in bankruptcy court because their owner Tom Hicks has not treated his creditors very nice. The creditors want top dollar in the potential sale of the team and that may knock the Nolan Ryan-Chuck Greenberg bid for this team out for the count. While eventually the team will have new owners, this uncertainty in the short term could severely affect how this team retools for the 2011 season.
I use my home town Detroit Pistons as a perfect example. This basketball team is rudderless, the longtime owner died, the team is for sale, and the President quit to work for the main completion and piece together an ownership group to buy the team. The net effect of that is the Pistons have done virtually nothing to improve themselves for the coming NBA season. The unclear future of this team has made general Manager Joe Dumars and players themselves afraid to make any big moves.
For the Rangers the short term cost is coming on their international scouting staffs. Their out of the country scouts are being poached by other teams since the team cannot make any big financial commitments to anyone at the moment. If a bankruptcy battle erupts, ala the Phoenix Coyotes, a lengthy legal battles could allow star slugger Josh Hamilton to slip from their control.
While the Judge has promised Ryan that the legal battle will not affect the on the field product of this team, or the on the field management, both Ryan and Greenberg testified in court today and manger Ron Washington has been called to testify tomorrow. So this fight will certainly be a distraction. That is too bad as the Rangers are 5 million dollars ahead of 2010 revenue projections, and stand to earn 10 million or so if they can make a deep playoff run.