MLB Threatens To ‘terminate’ Rangers ‘franchise’

The most undercovered story of the summer, and maybe the year, is the outrageous circumstances of the sale of the Texas Rangers.

Bud Selig

(Protip: Do not lend this man money)

Before your eyes glaze over, understand that this story is very important as it pertains to the financial future of individual major league clubs. It also could dictate if the Texas Rangers exist this time next year - if MLB’s rhetoric is to be believed.

If you’ve read this site over the years, you know by now that MLB has done all it could to turn over franchises to owners who either lack the financial resources, as in the McCourts, or the willingness, as in the late Carl Pohlad, to invest Yankee-esque sums into player payroll.

Most recently, MLB handed over one of the crown jewels of its league, the Chicago Cubs, to a highly-leveraged buyer in Tom Ricketts. Ricketts was chosen to take over the team despite his lack of liquidity and inability to field the highest bid for the franchise.

Why? Because MLB doesn’t want the Cubs to end up with a $200 million payroll, which would drive up costs for other owners, contribute to further competitive imbalance and possibly lead to additional labor strife.

Of course, if MLB had a revenue sharing agreement like the NFL, Cubs fans wouldn’t have to worry about having an underfunded owner running their beloved team. (In the third-largest market!) Because of the petty greed of the league’s individual owners, no such revenue sharing plan exists - forcing league commissioner Bud Selig to jury-rig MLB ownership ranks to prevent another Steinbrenner-type owner. (See shooting down Mark Cuban in his bid for the Cubs.)

That brings us to Selig’s latest payroll-chopping opportunity: The Texas Rangers. Read more…

Speed Read: Another Violent Day in LA’s Paradise

The baseball day in Los Angeles started on a solemn note Monday when the Dodgers held two moments of silence for fallen comrades in arms during Chavez Ravine’s opening day Monday (before a third passed later in the day).

Dodger Stadium tributes to Nick Adenhart and Harry Kalas

(Pictures from 710 AM ESPN’s Beto Duran)

By the end of the game (an 11-1 pounderation of the San Francisco Giants, who could not devise a hacky time travel solution with the USS Enterprise despite the cross-promotional gold), the area around Dodger Stadium hosted numerous instances of disrespect to human life through stabbings, gun-waving, fights involving dozens of people, and the stray auto accident.

Of course, we would never draw a correlation between the drop in beer prices at Dodger Stadium and violence around the ballpark. After all, fan-on-fan violence is still seemingly less likely than vendor-on-vendor violence or security-on-fan violence. The relative safety of MLB.com’s At Bat iPhone app is looking better all the time, especially now that it works occasionally.

Another object d’mocktastery best safely seen from a distance that works only occasionally: Isiah Thomas. He’s apparently found a reason to leave the house as Florida International University has shown interest in hiring him as their basketball head coach.

Isiah Thomas suit

(”Look! Look up at that paragraph! It says that someone wants me!  Do you see that?”)

FIU has found a certain comfort level with losing (five straight seasons) and could certainly use the limelight brought by a famous coach. Perhaps Isiah’s excited because he thinks he can ply his trade in a different country unfamiliar with his sordid past. (That’s what the “International” stands for, right?)

Another gentleman of leisure being paid by an NBA team to go away but still looking for a new home will also have to find a new place of leisure as well. At least two of Detroit’s casinos (current count: 439280410) have reportedly tossed Allen Iverson out on his ear for “boorish behavior”, including bodyguard-related scuffling, pouting after a loss, and being generally churlish.

Allen Iverson golfs

(There’s always golf to ruin one’s forced retirement)

So kudos to the MGM Casino and the Greektown Casino for standing up to Allen Iverson’s shenanigans after he’s left town and will likely never return unless absolutely forced to by contract. Also, way to leak the information once the coast is clear.

We once spotted AI in the Omni Hotel in Atlanta, taking over a section of  the open-air lounge and bar to play cards in the late afternoon with his buddies. He did not order from the bar; instead, he had the bellboy bring his crew a beat-up old cooler filled with their own special reserve.

We did not get a chance to see his favorite drink, but we bet he could get it for 25% less this season at Dodger Stadium. Better bring the bodyguards to carry the overflow.

And now our riot police-approved hail of rubber bullets reinforced by the near-certainty there are relatively few industries interested in “boy whisperers”

Which team is the best in all baseball after one week?

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Rangers & Stars Owner Can’t Pay $525M In Loans

It was reported Friday by a website called FINALTERNATIVES that Tom Hicks‘  holding company that owns the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars defaulted on $525 million in loans, but there was no independent confirmation.

Tom Hicks

Well, there’s confirmation now, and Hicks says that not only has his company defaulted on the loans, but he did it on purpose in order to renegotiate the terms of the loans. Somehow, Hicks maintains that none of this will affect any of his teams in any way, even as word has leaked out that he’s attempting to sell minority stakes in his team.

Hicks of course is well-known for signing Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million contract that resulted in the Rangers still sucking and Hicks having to ship A-Rod out of town three years into the deal.

Read more…

Speed Read: Pacers Make Kobe’s Milestone Moot

Congratulations to Kobe Bryant for scoring his 22,000th career point against the Indiana Pacers last night. Your reward? A total fourth-quarter collapse by your team’s defense and a head-scratching 118-117 loss. Personally, as I gift I’d rather receive a pair of socks, or even a gift certificate to Arby’s than that.

Lakers bench after loss to Pacers

(Sasha - wha’ happened?)

The reason the Lakers blew a 15-point fourth quarter lead was simple: they stopped playing defense. They gave up 32 points in the quarter and six offensive rebounds, the last being Troy Murphy’s tip-in that gave the Pacers the victory. It’s the first Lakers loss to a bad team this season, but knowing the team’s recent history of falling victim to seemingly overlooking bad teams. (Between them and the USC football team, there must be something in the LA water.)

Meanwhile, Dallas Stars winger Sean Avery’s mouth has gotten him in trouble yet again. He’s been suspended indefinitely for “inappropriate public comments” after running his mouth before a game against the Calgary, specifically targeting Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf, who happens to be dating Avery’s ex, hottie actress Elisha Cuthbert.

Elisha Cuthbert

Here’s Avery’s comments. If you look closely, you can see his teammates praying for an errant piece of Sputnik to come crashing down on him:

A class act, that Sean Avery. USA TODAY breaks down some of his recent “greatest hits“, including his swipe a few years ago at French-Canadians. This is Avery’s first season with the Stars, but he’s already managed to alienate his team. Dallas owner Tom Hicks said that the team would have suspended Avery if the league didn’t, and teammates like Marty Turco are already sick of his act. And we know how opponents feel about him.

Which loudmouth would you most like to see get a case of permanent laryngitis?

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Torii Hunter Leaning Toward Joining White Sox

TORII TORN BETWEEN SOUTH SIDE & SOUTHFORK RANCH: After parting ways with the Minnesota Twins, Torii Hunter could soon be dialing up home runs at U.S. Cellular Field:

Torii Hunter whiffleball

The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES reports that although 5 different teams have made offers, the free-agent outfielder has narrowed down his choice between the White Sox and Texas Rangers.Hunter recently feasted on a steak dinner at the 30-acre ranch of Rangers owner Tom Hicks, who then offered a six-year deal to the slugger for dessert. Torii also happens to have a home in the Dallas area.

But the All-Star also likes what he hears from White Sox GM Ken Williams. After meeting with Sox officials, Hunter said about Williams, “He wants to win. You’ve got to like that….He’s impressive.”

Torii Hunter bellhop ride

Although Torii has claimed that he’s “not leaning one way or another” toward any team at the moment, sources close to him say the South Side would be his first choice.Hunter is expected to make his decision by early next week.