Commissioner wants Rangers sale to move along

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Baseball commissioner Bud Selig called Tuesday a "hard and fast deadline" for Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks to submit a prospective buyer for the team to the commissioner's office.

"This is Tom Hicks' day to choose a prospective buyer and move this process along. I think we all would agree it needs to be moved along," Selig said during a conference call. "So we'll hopefully, we'll have some news today that will really begin to move this process along."

But the commissioner acknowledged, without elaborating, that the deadline could pass if there are factors that arise that "frankly need another day or so."

Hicks has been considering at least three proposals for the Rangers.

Groups headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and former sports agent Dennis Gilbert were considered to be the early finalists to buy the AL team. Rangers president Nolan Ryan said Houston businessman Jim Crane submitted an updated proposal last week.

Hicks had also worked previously to put together a group of mainly local investors in an effort to maintain ownership of the team.

Ryan, who has partnered with Greenberg and a group of mainly local investors in a bid to buy the team, said he spoke to Hicks early Tuesday but had no idea about the owner's decision.

"I really have no indication one way or the other which way it's favoring," Ryan said. "He said that he'd be getting back to me later (Tuesday). What that means, I don't know as far as timeframe."

Ryan said he had also spoken Tuesday with Greenberg, who was meeting with his investment people to see how they could enhance their offer.

"You always are trying to improve your position," Ryan said.

Ryan, who just finished his second season as the team's president, said he would remain with the team if Greenberg's bid is selected.

If Gilbert buys the club, he likely would be involved in daily operations. Ryan has said that he wouldn't stay and work with Gilbert under such a scenario though Gilbert had indicated he would like Ryan to remain.

When Selig was asked if he would like Ryan involved in the Rangers, the commissioner said he didn't want to get into that but did commend the Hall of Fame pitcher.

"Look, Nolan's done a terrific job down there. You know, the Rangers have a terrific farm system. They've done their work properly," Selig said. "So let's just hope it can all work out and we move on and settle all this thing so the franchise really, really can move forward."

Once the prospective buyer is chosen, that group will negotiate exclusively with Hicks. An agreement would be submitted to the commissioner and have to be approved by 75 percent or more or all owners.

Crane, who once bid to purchase the Houston Astros, has indicated that he would like Ryan to remain if his bid is accepted.


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