BOB:  Rangers sale is finalized

Tom Hicks agrees to sell Rangers

There are still a few formalities but Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks agreed to sell the team to the ownership group led by Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg. One of the 12 members of the ownership group will be none other then Hall of Fame pitcher and current team president Nolan Ryan. Things got a little dicey the past couple of weeks because Greenberg’s exclusive negotiating window ended on Jan. 15 but with the urging of Bud Selig, the deal finally got settled.

The owners still have to agree to the deal as do Hicks’ creditors which poses an interesting dilemma because a predator hedge fund has been buying up some of the debt. Hicks will retain a small piece of the team but his hope of keeping some kind of control never materialized. He’ll have a token spot on the board and he’ll retain ownership of some of the land surrounding Rangers Ballpark. Greenberg will take over as the team’s managing partner and CEO while Ryan will continue to handle the operations of the team.

The sale amount wasn’t released but it looks like it’s going to be somewhere between $500-$570 million. That’s a pretty hefty sum and it puts it within the top five with regards to sales proceeds for a baseball team.

Mesa in driver’s seat to keep Cubs

With all of the moves from Florida to Arizona, the spring training wars have started to settle down. After the Cincinnati Reds move to Arizona this coming year, it’ll mean that the Cactus League will have just as many teams as the Grapefruit League. Still, the Chicago Cubs were making some noise about potentially moving from Arizona to Florida when Naples, Fla. began courting them. The current spring training home of the Cubs, Mesa, Ariz., struck back though and the city released a proposal that would free up $84 million to pay for a new spring training facility for the Cubs.

It’s an interesting play by Mesa because under the agreement, they’re basically handing over the facility, along with most of its revenue generators, to the Cubs. Still, the price tag will be that the Cubs remain in Mesa for the next 25 years. One sticking point will be that the residents of Mesa will get to vote on the deal so nothing definitive will happen until November.

Dodger to play in Taiwan

The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to make a little side trip as they’ll play two March games in Taiwan. They’ll play two different teams in the Chinese Professional Baseball League and it’ll be the second time the Dodgers have played in Taiwan. They were the first team to do so back in 1993 and it marks the third time since 2008 that teams have played in Asia.

Bobby Bragan passes away at age 92

It’s hard to find a place to start with regard to Bobby Bragan’s career because he really did it all. The former player/manager/executive passed away last week after fruitful career in baseball that included stints as the Texas League president and the president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. Bragan worked for Branch Rickey in a few different capacities, mostly as a minor league manager.

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