Just a week ago, it looked like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was on the verge of owning a Major League Baseball team. He has even said there were times where he thought he was about to win the bidding war for the Texas Rangers.
But when Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and Chuck Greenberg raised their bid higher than Cuban and Jim Crane could match, the oft-animated Cuban was left to bow out of the race somewhat quickly and unceremoniously.
And now, in the aftermath, he has had to address accusations that he was merely trying to run up the bid, a fact that he steadfastly continues to deny.
Mark Cuban joined Ben and Skin on ESPN Radio Dallas to discuss the bidding process for the Rangers, his reasoning for being a part of it and why he and his investors walked away.
On how Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan were able to achieve the winning bid:
“First of all, Chuck and Nolan are the brains behind the organization, they’re not the money. It wasn’t about those guys writing the check. They know it and we know it and that’s not a knock, it’s just reality. It happens with a lot of professional sports teams. You get a couple guys with exceptional value and there’s other guys with money who are willing to write checks to be a part of it.”
On whether he was truly passionate about baseball and the Rangers:
“I don’t have as much time to go to games as I used to and if you saw me at games at the old Arlington Stadium or going to games even at the ballpark, you probably weren’t paying attention to me if you saw me. Do I go to a ton of Rangers games? No. Do I watch them on TV? Yeah. Am a fan? Yeah. Am I as passionate about the Rangers and baseball as I am about basketball? No. Basketball is my favorite, No. 1 sport. But that doesn’t mean I’m not a Rangers fan or a baseball fan. There’s a reason I wanted to go after the Cubs.”
On why they bowed out of the bidding when they did:
“It had more to do with having all the pieces in line. You can’t just say, ‘Ah, you know what? I’ll add another $100 million on the price tag and I’ll figure it out later,’ because we were going to be under a whole lot of scrutiny. … Their lawyers were going to sit us down and say, ‘OK, we need to know specifically where every nickel’s coming from. And on top of that they were going to go through this whole pitch of, ‘Well, we don’t think Major League Baseball is going to approve you, so we’re going to discount all the money you put in anyways.’ … But the bigger part was, we’d only been at this for three weeks, basically, and we didn’t have the ability to go to all the banks. We basically had the cash we were able to put together between us and from other folks that we had gotten involved and some debt that existing lenders were willing to provide us and even that was being challenged by the other side’s lawyer.”
On whether the Rangers could be successful with a top-five payroll:
“I don’t know if you can go top five just because the Rangers are always at a disadvantage just because of the heat factor out in Arlington. You’re never going to be able to quite charge the same as Boston is just because of the comfort factor going out there. A big part of what we wanted to be able to do is try to find leverage points with the city of Arlington to try to come up with some solutions for sitting out in the bleachers. It can be brutal out there. Part of the plan was, literally, and this was a big part of what my plan was in terms of marketing … was we were giving up any owners’ seats, any owners’ boxes and just selling those to fans and then any time I was at a game I was sitting out in left field just because we had to send the message that going to a Rangers game is survivable if you’re sitting out in the bleachers.”
On rift with Randy Galloway, another host on ESPN Dallas in the past week:
“My take is always the same, Randy is full of crap. … But his job isn’t to tell the truth, his job is to do good radio. So every now and then you have to slap him down. To his credit, to Randy’s everlasting credit, he’ll allow you to challenge him and allow you to check his hole cards. But when you’re looking up and it’s raining you know what, you can only take so much. You’ve got to fight back every now and then.”