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06/25/10 1:00 AM ET
Rangers ask judge to reconsider delay
Ownership group requests hearing be held on July 9
By T.R. Sullivan and Chris Cox / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers Baseball Express has filed a motion asking Judge Michael Lynn to reconsider his order to delay a hearing on the sale of the franchise until July 22, requesting instead that the hearing be held on the originally scheduled date of July 9.
"The reason we're seeking this action is because the delay of the confirmation hearing from July 9 to July 22 would make it impossible for the sale to be completed before the Trade Deadline. And that is a great concern to us," Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg said after the Rangers' game Thursday night.
Lynn pushed the hearing back earlier on Thursday in the hope that the matter can be settled by mediation.
"The Court understands that additional time for mediation could possibly lead to the proposal of a consensual plan in this case," Lynn wrote in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas on Thursday.
But Greenberg, who is attempting to purchase the team in a group that includes club president Nolan Ryan, believes that the extension will prove detrimental to the team's intentions at the Trade Deadline, which is July 31.
"Since we signed the agreement of sale in January, it's been our intention to be aggressive at the Trade Deadline to give the club every opportunity to make it to the postseason and succeed," Greenberg said. "If that opportunity were to be lost, that's a tremendous competitive disadvantage as relative to other franchises. This club and these players have worked too hard and they deserve every opportunity."
The Rangers, who have won 11 straight games and lead the AL West by 3 1/2 games, have reportedly expressed interest in adding a starting pitcher to their rotation. If the sale of the team is not completed by the deadline, the Rangers may be unable to be active during the trade period.
"We feel that a delay in the closing is bad for the franchise, the fans, the players, the community and the businesses that rely on the franchise," Greenberg said.
A mediation hearing has been scheduled for July 16. Lynn ruled earlier this week that the sale of the Rangers from current owner Tom Hicks to Greenberg and Ryan can be blocked by creditors unless modifications are made in the sale agreement. The club is expected to submit a modified plan before the mediation hearing.
The Greenberg-Ryan group reached an agreement on Jan. 23 to buy the franchise from Hicks for $575 million. The creditors who hold the debt on Hicks Sports Group have been blocking the sale by refusing to lift the liens on the team. The Rangers voluntarily entered into bankruptcy court with a plan last month to expedite the process in hopes of getting the sale completed by the Trade Deadline.
The Rangers are being financially assisted by Major League Baseball until the sale is completed. By moving the bankruptcy hearing back to July 22, it leaves nine days to get the sale completed before the Trade Deadline.
"If the hearing begins on the 22nd, even if it ended in one day, which is unlikely, we still wouldn't be able to close until well into the first week in August," Greenberg said. "And by that time, 29 other teams in baseball will have had an opportunity that this franchise will not have had."