Ryan, Cuban contend for Texas Rangers franchise

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by BYRON HARRIS

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WFAA

Posted on August 3, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 4 at 11:43 AM

FORT WORTH — Two groups trying to buy the Texas Rangers baseball team placed their bids by the 8 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

The players in the final showdown are:

  • Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg, with the only proposal already approved by Major League Baseball.
     
  • Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, now reported allied with Houston executive Jim Crane.

Earlier, Rupert Murdoch's Fox Sports network walked away from the Rangers auction, so what's in store for those still trying to seal the deal?

The bidding took place on the second floor of the Federal Courthouse in Fort Worth. To get into the game, the players bid at least $15 million more than is currently on the table.

"There's going to be caucus rooms for the separate bidders. It's almost going to be like an NFL draft as I understand it," said Talmage Boston, an attorney and baseball historian.

While the Rangers are flourishing on the field, a pile of problems have arisen from the bankruptcy which apply to the team and Major League Baseball as well.

Regarding the lease on Rangers Ballpark itself, JP Morgan is suing, claiming that it has the ownership rights to the 16-year-old facility  — not the new owner of the team.

As for the salaries of star players like Alex Rodriguez, his and other salaries were supposed to be set aside in an escrow fund by former owner Tom Hicks. That wasn't done, leading to questions about how other teams have set aside their escrow salaries.

And last, there is the question of the timeframe for the Rangers to take back their own finances. The team's operating costs are now being funded by the other teams in the league.

"All banks who have loaned money to major league teams are watching this very closely to see how creditors are treated in the contest when there's a default," Boston said.

Wednesday is likely to be an interesting day in the bankruptcy court.

E-mail bharris@wfaa.com

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