Chuck Greenberg, driving home early Thursday from a long day at the courthouse in Fort Worth after he and partner Nolan Ryan (and their group of investors) won the auction for the Rangers, talked to ESPNDallas.com about the day and his plans for the Rangers going forward (he wants Cliff Lee to sign a long-term deal).
ESPNDallas.com: When you woke up this [Wednesday] morning, did you think you would own the team?
Greenberg: I did. With no disrespect to any of the other groups who looked at the team, we thought we were the strongest group with the best fit. I was confident at the decisive moment that we would demonstrate that one last time. I was wary because of the ups and downs and disappointments, but I genuinely felt we’d prevail.
Some speculated that we were undercapitalized and that we didn’t have sufficient resources. Those were rumors that were circulated for whatever reason, but they were never accurate. We were always a group that was well-capitalized and had very strong resources, and when push came to shove and we had to put them to use to buy the ballclub, we stepped up and did it.
ESPNDallas.com: Did you ever think you’d end up having to buy the club at auction?
Greenberg: For the last five weeks, it was inevitable. It was really a question of the ground rules. On the other hand, the reality and the naked feeling of stepping into a shootout was something that hit me hard for the first time Tuesday night.
The day moved very slowly and we decided well into the evening to make a really dramatic move upwards in our bid. At the exact moment we announced that bid, Michael Young hit a grand slam. How about that? It was a good omen.
ESPNDallas.com: Did you talk to Jim Crane and Mark Cuban, the other bidders, after the result?
Greenberg: I did. They could not have been more gracious. Jim Crane shook my hand and congratulated me and Nolan, and I had a nice conversation with Mark Cuban as well. I respect the fact that they bid aggressively. Clearly, they were sincere in their efforts. I respect what they tried to do.
ESPNDallas.com: Now that you’re about to become the owner officially, how hard will you work to re-sign Cliff Lee?
Greenberg: We’re going to work really, really hard. Cliff is not only a great pitcher; he’s an exemplary professional, teammate and role model. We are going to do everything we can to keep him. We’ve got a period of time where we’ve got a chance to demonstrate to him how special it’s going to be to be a part of the Rangers family, and that’s what we’re going to be, a family. We’ve got a great group of guys on the team, a committed ownership and a great front office. We’re going to do the best we can to show him he’s found a home and that this is a place where he wants to be.
ESPNDallas.com: When might you take over? What are your plans out of the gate?
Greenberg: It should be Friday the 13th. If all goes well, we close on the 12th and the 13th would be our first game. We had a pretty wide set of plans in March that we were going to activate on Opening Day or as soon as we closed, but it’s been over four months since I had the luxury of going over those. Since then we’ve been grinding away at this process. I think I’ll take a day or two to kind of detox from this saga and clear my head and get my operator’s hat back on. This has been such a magical season so far. I’ve been fortunate to enjoy it up close , but to be free of all the uncertainty and start to implement things will be exciting.
ESPNDallas.com: Will fans see a new video board soon?
Greenberg: There’s a long lead time in ordering and installing a video board. We’re going to have to really hustle to place an order in time for 2011, but we’re going to do everything we possibly can.
ESPNDallas.com: Are you going to close on your house in Westlake now?
A: Oh yes. We are already working on setting up the closing date.
ESPNDallas.com: Is there anything else you want to say to Rangers fans?
Greenberg: I want to say thank you. I can’t even begin to estimate how many e-mails and text messages and Facebook messages I’ve received from fans. This has been an extraordinary process. I’ve been at this 15 months. If you go back to November, December, there have been so many ups and downs, and the encouragement Ranger fans have given me and Nolan has been more than I can say. It’s been sustaining and given me hope through tough times. Ranger fans have been great to us and we’re going to return the favor.