03 July 2009

Overextended Rangers get $15 mil bailout from MLB

Bud Selig probably has a combination of Cerberus and sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads guarding MLB's Central Fund. Still, that hasn't stopped him from giving to someone in need. This time, it's Rangers owner Tom Hicks, whose team has been rumored to have trouble keeping up with payroll. A $15 million cash infusion from the fund should keep the team afloat, at least until a new owner/partner is found.

Before Hicks Holdings' current troubles, the company went on an acquisition tear, buying the Rangers, Dallas Stars, and the Liverpool FC premiership soccer club. This is despite rumblings of Hicks not having enough cake to be a big time player in MLB. In April, the sports subdivision had to sell a local rodeo at a probable loss. It was reported that Hicks stopped making interest payments on both the Rangers and Stars while trying to restructure the debt. Hicks and the Rangers are leveraged to the hilt even though they have zero stadium debt. While the Rangers have an excellent TV contract, slumping attendance has caused the team to sit in the lower half of the revenue pool. According to Forbes, Texas pulled in $176 million net of revenue sharing. Compare that to the A's, who pulled in $160 million.

Dallas media speculates that the team's fiscal malaise will keep them from pursuing any midseason rentals, it may even hamper their ability to sign high draftees. Without some kind of angel investor group, it's hard to see how they pull out of it.

Deadspin takes on the Coli + ESPN team rankings

Tommy Craggs revisits the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in yesterday's installment of his weekly series, "Why Your Stadium Sucks." While his observations are at its pithy peak, even he can't surpass the reader-submitted testimonials to the old joint.

ESPN's, which is always looking for filler during the summer months, put together its seventh annual Ultimate Standings survey, which compares every team in all four major North American sports. The A's finished #101 out of 122 teams, plummeting from #85 last year. This year's review was done by Brian Kamenetsky, one half of the solid blogging duo covering the Lakers for the L.A. Times. More rankings:
  • Title Track: 55
  • Ownership: 119
  • Coaching: 110
  • Players: 73
  • Fan Relations: 89
  • Affordability: 17
  • Stadium Experience: 121
  • Bang for the Buck: 84
Team performance seems to have some bearing on the overall ranking. The Marlins went from #99 to #77 by virtue of the fish sitting at the top of the NL East. The Giants also jumped 20 places, from #104 to #84.