Mentally Handicapping the Rangers Auction

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Hooray! The big day is finally here! It's like Christmas morning, Armistice Day, and Purim all mixed into one! It's the day Nolan Ryan's, Mark Cuban's, and Jeff Beck's (never mind, Jeff Beck is out) bids for Tom Hicks' bankrupt Texas Rangers finally come to light! Alex Rodriguez may never hit his 600th home run but if he plays his cards right, he'll get his $20 million and his pound of flesh from that coward Hicks once this dang team finally gets dang sold.

By the time you read these words, two important things will have happened. First, Mark Cuban's bid amount for the team will have been revealed in federal bankruptcy court, and second, Nolan Ryan will have swallowed enough Advil to tranquilize a bucking bronco. But don't expect the third, most desired result to come out of today's auction: naming a new owner for the first place Texas freakin' Rangers. Because even if Cuban's group has the highest bid, they still might lose:

Should Greenberg-Ryan win, MLB has promised the court it will approve, or reject, the deal before the group's financing expires Aug. 12. The league process entails passage by its ownership committee and then its executive council, and finally by team owners voting 75 percent in favor, said MLB president Bob DuPuy.

If Greenberg-Ryan loses, it is awarded a "break-up" fee covering expenses, capped at $13 million.

If Cuban-Crane snares the franchise, the league has promised to expedite the approval process but wouldn't be tied down to a particular date. A $15 million deposit holds the successful bid.

A league official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that MLB intends to work with the winning bidder, although it has the option of choosing the second-highest bid.

The MLB ownership cabal headed by Herr Selig can do as it pleases and no fancy federal bankruptcy court auctioneer can say otherwise. And as a fan, I'm not sure whether to despise their snooty, clubby ways or to cheer them for maintaining the status quo on the most successful sport in American history. After all, it's the ownership cabal that has kept the bankrupt Rangers afloat with their deep, deep coffers during these trying times.

Still, as fans of upending the status quo, we must root for Mark Cuban to get his dirty hands all over a big league baseball team. The Rangers might never win a playoff series under Cuban but be assured that he will make the team and the ballpark more fan-friendly. And even better, he'll ruin the day for at least one former soap opera star.

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If Greenberg-Ryan don't get the team, I hope someone puts a Robin Ventura mask on Bud. Then shoves him in the broom closet with Nolan.

The auction has been put off until 11 CDT because Greenberg and Ryan's group challenged the validity of Cuban's bid. This is about as thrilling as watching slugs screw.

Rob is the Pedro Gomez of WoW

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