Author’s Note: This is a baseball blog. The subject is baseball and, more specifically, the Texas Rangers. I am not, however, incognizant of other events in the world. My thoughts and prayers this morning are for the people of Japan with hopes that those in the path of the resulting tsunami remain safe…
This is definitely baseball, because the Rangers News of the Day totally came out of left field…
Upon arising this morning, the first sports headline I see is that Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is expected to resign today, less than a year after the ownership group he put together prevailed in their quest to buy the team from Tom Hicks.
As CEO, Greenberg has been the de facto face of the Rangers to the public since the RBE ownership group took over the reins. Greenberg was NOT the majority owner of the club, however. Most estimates put his ownership stake at only 2-3%. He WAS the guy who brought together the big money people that became the RBE Ownership Group.
There will be intense speculation as to what went wrong and when with Greenberg. I’m just one little blogger in the Rio Grande Valley, so I have no first-hand knowledge. What I can say with some certainty is that something really bad had to have happened behind the scenes for something like this to happen. It could be as simple as personality clashes with the likes of Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan or it could be as complicated as financial malfeasance. Maybe he didn’t kick in all the money he was supposed to for his ownership stake. WHO KNOWS???
What I do know is this: In his brief time with the Rangers, Greenberg was a tireless worker on behalf of the franchise. I appreciated the fact his most public face had to do with making sure Rangers fans knew he was looking out for them. Greenberg is a walking marketing machine and he recognized it’s not just the product the Rangers put on the field that matters, it’s also the experience you give to the fans. To that end, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is unveiling a new state of the art scoreboard in 2011. As soon as the ownership group took charge, Greenberg was sitting in the stands with fans from the best seats to the worst, asking questions and getting suggestions for making the fan experience better.
Greenberg immediately lowered the price of beer and other concession items, started up 7th inning specials and set up a suggestion box on the Rangers web site. At January’s FanFest event at the Arlington Convention Center, Greenberg was a constant presence. He was on stage for a question and answer session. Later he could be seen at one of the concession areas making sure things were running smoothly there. Then you’d spot him on the floor, heading off to check on other things. In that time, I also saw him patiently sign autographs for people, even though you could tell he really needed to be getting someplace else.
Like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Greenberg did have the ability to ruffle some feathers. His comments about how the Rangers may have opened the door that allowed the Phillies to grab Cliff Lee away from the Yankees caused a little media rift with Yankees management. Many in the media viewed him as maybe a little too brash for his own good. I, for one, got his sense of humor. Like Cuban, he made sure people knew he wasn’t just an owner, he was a fan of the club as well. As a result, some of his public statements seemed to have a tinge of smack talk to them. I found it kind of refreshing.
Chuck Greenberg will still be involved with the Rangers. He remains the owner of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Rangers High-A farm club, replacing the previous Bakersfield franchise. It’s unknown as I write this whether he will retain his minority stake in the parent club after leaving as CEO, so he’ll be gone but not forgotten.
Whatever happened behind the scenes to bring this about could be the “other side” of Chuck Greenberg that most of us don’t know, one that could make us think less of the man. The public face of Chuck Greenberg, though, is one the Rangers organization has been sorely missing over the years- someone who knows the fans make the team as much as the team itself, and I hope his departure doesn’t veer RBE from that course.