Tuesday, September 14, 2010

About 6 weeks later and we still don't know what the hell was going on at the Rangers auction

Even an explanation from the court-pappointed restructuring officer can't clear up Mark Cuban's role in the Texas Rangers bankruptcy auction: "Snyder said sports commentators got it wrong by asserting that Cuban connived with the banks to pump up the value of Rangers debt, which he had admitted buying some in late 2009."

Well then, what was it? Because Cuban -- rebuffed when he sought to buy the Chicago Cubs -- and his partner Jim Crane -- who had already alienated baseball owners when he backed out of a previous deal to buy the Astros -- were an odd and unlikely ownership duo. Was Cuban doing the banks a solid, not for his own immediate profit, but some future considerations? Is the man going through a rough patch? Also? What is Crane's deal?

By far, though, the most interesting aspect of the August 4th auction was guessing which media members were being played by Cuban. At various times throughout the day, bold claims were made that Cuban was going to blow up baseball's anti-trust standing, that Cuban was buying the team in order to build a new media empire and, about 3 hours before he folded in court, that people close to Cuban insisted he was very, very serious about buying. I now assume this is what Cuban was telling everyone off the record. It must have made them all feel very smart and cool. Until about 12:45am August 5. So it was funny when, after it was all over, Cuban called the media "the dumbest people in the room;" funnier still when he got beaten down while trying to defend himself in a venue less friendly than his own blog.

But does this make you feel a little less bitter about Tom Hicks: "The restructuring officer figured that Hicks took home $60 million of the $525 million when he refinanced in 2006, but had put all of that back into the Rangers plus plowed in another $40 million more by the time he defaulted on the debt in March 2009." No? I understand.

ADDED 9/22: The SEC -- who now enjoys exemption from FOIA requests and is therefore always suspicious -- successfully resuscitates their case against Cuban.

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