ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Chuck Greenberg would have withdrawn his bid to buy the Texas Rangers had Nolan Ryan aligned himself with another group.
"There's only one Texas Rangers, only one Nolan Ryan. They need to be together," Greenberg said on a conference call Wednesday night.
A day after the investor group that is headed by the Pittsburgh sports attorney and includes Ryan gained exclusive negotiating rights to purchase the Rangers from Tom Hicks, Greenberg said Ryan's involvement was paramount to his pursuit of the team.
Hicks, whose family will maintain a minority stake as one of about a dozen investors in Greenberg's group, selected the bid over two others Tuesday. That was the deadline set by baseball commissioner Bud Selig for Hicks to submit a prospective buyer for the team.
Now the sides will work to negotiate a final deal. At least 75 percent of baseball's owners will then have to approve the sale, which likely won't be completed until opening day in April, or later.
Greenberg, who would be the managing general partner and CEO, said about 80 percent of his investors are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who has been the team's president for the past two seasons, would remain in that role.
"He would have complete authority on the baseball side," Greenberg said. "I have complete confidence in him."
While Greenberg would have the final say on decisions, especially daily operations, there would also be a board of directors to help oversee items such as the annual budget and major projects. Hicks, who said throughout the process of selling that he'd like to maintain an involvement with the team, would likely be one of up to nine board members.
Greenberg owns minor league baseball teams in Myrtle Beach, S.C., and State College, Pa., and recently sold a third team. He previously represented buyers for two NHL teams, Pittsburgh in 1999 and Florida in 2001, and plans to relocate and live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Ryan said the pending change of ownership should relieve some of the franchise's financial stress.
"We'll be able to focus more on what goes on the field and try to be competitive, and not be distracted at times by other problems," Ryan said Wednesday on a separate conference call.
Still, that doesn't mean the Rangers will see an immediate infusion of cash for player moves or changes in Ryan's approach.
"I don't foresee us going against what we have done over the last three years from developing our own talent and bringing it up through our system," Ryan said.
Hicks Sports Group this year defaulted on $525 million in loans tied to the Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars, which Hicks has owned since 1996. Hicks has said that was a deliberate move to force lenders to renegotiate terms of the deals.
While the pending sale likely will have no impact on what the Rangers can do this offseason, Greenberg said there will be additional money in the budget for payroll if an opportunity arises to help improve the team once the sale is completed. Such as potential midseason moves.
"Finances will not get in the way of making that decision," Greenberg said.
The Rangers haven't been to the playoffs since 1999, after winning all three of their AL West titles in a four-year span. They have never won a playoff series.
But Texas is coming off only its second winning season (87-75) since its last playoff appearance. The Rangers, with a roster filled with young players, finished second in the AL West behind the Los Angeles Angels and in the AL wild-card race behind Boston. They won one more game than Detroit or Minnesota, who shared the AL Central lead after 162 games.
"It's clear there is a tremendous amount of pent-up enthusiasm for the Rangers that is just waiting to explode," Greenberg said. "With all the things the Rangers have done the last few years on the baseball side, the club is poised to have a great future. … Hopefully our group can build off that foundation that is already in place."