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The Texas Rangers are for sale

For Sale by Owner

Rangers' owner Tom Hicks is hurting for cash, and now it looks as though he's going to put his first-place team up for sale:

In a surprise, Tom Hicks didn't rule out that his nearly 11-year ownership tenure might soon be reduced to something less than having the final say. For the first time since it was announced in late March that he was seeking minority investors, the ante has now been substantially upped to Hicks "being open" to selling a majority share of the Rangers . . . "I am selling part of the Rangers. I don't know how big of a part. Yes, I'd be open to selling more than a minority share, but it depends on who the partners are."

This is an about-face from a couple of months ago, when Hicks was adamant that he would only sell a minority stake to raise some desperately needed money to make a giant debt payment. Given that his team is essentially in foreclosure, however, he probably has no choice.

The linked article mentions team President Nolan Ryan as the potential face of an ownership group. He doesn't have that kind of money himself, but he's involved in parterships that go out and buy banks and stuff, so he could probably pull it off with a little help from his friends.

And help from baseball too, as Bud Selig and company have shown that they'll do just about anything to keep a team from going to a fire sale, including approving an extremely unconventional ownership transaction that prevented the San Diego Padres from having to go out on the open market when the team owner found himself in divorce court. There's nothing more important to baseball owners than ensuring -- or at least trying to ensure -- the constant appreciation of team value. That, far more than annual cashflow was the business justification for these guys getting into the ownership business in the first place, and if teams start being sold as distressed goods, it hurts everyone in that exclusive little club.

And there's added incentive for baseball to help out with this deal however it can: if they don't, some other Dallas-based billionaire who likes to own sports teams might decide to come in and make Hicks an offer he couldn't refuse. And baseball absolutely hates that guy.