Rangers’ auction will go forward
Judge declines delay to allow some to develop their bids
FORT WORTH — The Texas Rangers’ auction is on.
A federal bankruptcy judge decided Thursday to keep the Aug. 4 date to auction off the team, rejecting requests to delay it nearly two months so bidders could line up financing. And Mark Cuban, the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks and a billionaire businessman, may be among those bidding on the Rangers.
“It’s real simple: We’re going to get it done Aug. 4 and 5,” U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn said after a three-day hearing.
The court-appointed restruc- turing officer and angry creditors had argued that potential buyers would not have enough time to secure the millions needed to buy the Rangers and suggested a Sept. 30 auction. But the team countered that at least two potential bidders, Houston businessman Jim Crane and Dallas investor Jeff Beck, had time to review the deal and line up financing since they were part of the original bidding process last year.
Cuban’s attorney, Clifton Jessup, said he was “under the gun” to review terms of the sale in less than two weeks. Cuban, recently qualified by Major League Baseball to participate in the auction, has not decided whether to bid but hopes to make an offer on his own rather than join an existing group, Jessup said.
Cuban, one of the most vis- ible and colorful owners in pro sports, expressed an interest last year in buying the Chicago Cubs. The team was purchased instead by the Ricketts family from Tribune Co. following a bankruptcy filing.
Major League Baseball has long endorsed a group led by Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers president Nolan Ryan and attorney Chuck Greenberg as its preferred buyer.
Rangers’ manager Ron Washington, called by the judge to testify Thursday, said players’ morale was “unbelievably good” but would turn to worry if the sale was delayed. Ryan told the judge this week that to ensure the team’s financial resources to keep star players and acquire new talent, the auction should proceed so the Rangers can get out of bankruptcy.