Texas Rangers prospective owner Chuck Greenberg talked to a few media members Wednesday night. Here are the highlights:
Greenberg said the Dallas-Fort Worth area is a great one for baseball and he's convinced it will strongly back a winner. It's a big reason why he is working toward finalizing his purchase of the club. "I think it's clear there's a tremendous amount of pent-up enthusiasm for the Rangers that I think is waiting to explode," Greenberg said. "While there may not be a history of World Series championships, there's a great deal of hope, a great deal of passion and with all of the great things the Rangers have done the last few years on the baseball side, the club is poised to have a very bright future. It needs some tender-loving care to push it over the top. Hopefully, our group can come in and build on the foundation that's been put in place. I think this is going to be one of the great success stories in Major League Baseball and all of sports."
When it comes to putting more money into the club this offseason, there isn't much Greenberg and his group can do until the purchase of the team becomes final. He expects that to go right up to opening day, if not later. But he said the group isn't afraid to spend if needed. They did it to win the bidding process, and they say they'll do it on the field. "We are going to have additional money in the budget for player payroll so that if the opportunity comes up to make a decision that to improve the club, money won't get in the way." As if for emphasis moments later, Greenberg reiterated his point: "If we have a chance to improve the ballclub, money will not stop us from doing that."
That's certainly nice to hear if you're a Rangers fan. Greenberg stressed that they want to spend smartly. But they are willing to spend money. He wouldn't say how much, so it will be interesting to see how they approach it.
Greenberg will be involved in the day-to-day operations, but Ryan runs the team on the field. "Nolan is going to have complete authority on the baseball side," Greenberg said. "I have the utmost confidence in him." That's pretty clear. Greenberg later said that Ryan would be the first guy on a Rangers Mount Rushmore and that he knows all the nice things fans are saying about him are because Ryan is in his group and fans are saying "if Nolan thinks he's a good guy, maybe he's a good guy."
Greenberg was asked if he would share his opinion at a baseball operations meeting. He said that wasn't his role. "My role is to have great people in positions of authority and create an environment that encourages them to be their best and let them do their job," Greenberg said. "Fortunately, when it comes to the baseball side, the Rangers are in a tremendous position. To have the judgment, wisdom and personal touch of Nolan Ryan and the tremendous group JD [Jon Daniels] has assembled, the Rangers on the baseball side are the envy of every franchise in baseball in terms of talent. It's not broke, so I won't try to fix it. I'm not going to inject myself in a way that it interferes with outstanding people doing their job."
Again, a great sign for the operation of the club. Greenberg knows he isn't a talent evaluator. He will let Ryan, Daniels and the front office deal with that. He said repeatedly that he likes the direction of the club and doesn't want to change it.
Don't expect major changes at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 2010. But you should see different elements in 2011. Greenberg said the park needs a "giant, central video board." He said his group would listen to fans and take a bunch of notes in 2010 so that as soon as the season was over, they could make any changes needed at the park. It's a park, by the way, that Greenberg likes. "We don't think we have any monopoly on wisdom," Greenberg said. "We welcome getting ideas from fans, ideas from members of the media. (Sidebar: He may want to re-think that. But since he's opening the door, I've got some I'll share.)
" Some of the best things we've done were somebody else's idea. We want no wall of separation with our fans and encourage strong two-way communication. If anyone has good ideas, we'd love to hear them."
Count me among those who feel the park really needs that video board. I hope it happens soon. By the way, Greenberg said he isn't trying to compete with nearby Jerry World. "Baseball is a different game and a different experience."
Greenberg said there will be a board of directors consisting of nine people. He will be the managing general partner and CEO. "On a day-to-day basis, the final decision rests with me," Greenberg said. He said the board would make major policy decisions, such as the annual budget.
Greenberg said he saw about 16 games in Arlington this summer and talked to fans. He also recognizes that it's hot but isn't prepared to use that as an excuse. He noted that parents will watch their kids practice in the heat of two-a-days for football in August. Why not a baseball game? "If it's compelling, you don't mind the heat," Greenberg said. "Our job is to make being a Rangers fan a compelling, memorable experience. It starts with having a great team on the field that relates to the community off the field. We want an organization that is connected to the fans and that is completely obsessed to do everything possible to service our fans' needs and do everything they want."
Greenberg doesn't plan on cleaning house. He said he'll come in and observe and see "how we can supplement the skills of the front office" before any decisions are made there.
Greenberg plans on living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. "For the franchise to operate at the level Nolan and I envision, it takes a group of people passionately and totally immersed. It's not a part time job that can be done from a distance. It has to be done on the ground in the Metroplex, and that's where I'm going to be."