What’s needed in Arlington to turn the Rangers around most is a change in ownership. This month brings the 9th anniversary of Hicks’ purchase of the team, which is well on its way to its 5th last-place finish in the 4-team AL West during his tenure. In the non-last place years, the Rangers have finished 3rd three times. Arriving as owner mid-season 1998, Hicks earns no credit for the Rangers’ first place finishes in ’98 and ’99. So quite simply, he’s taken a contending team that made the playoffs 3 out of 4 seasons, completed depleted it and its farm system of almost all of its talent and turned it into a team on pace to lose more than 100 games this year. If he was serious about winning, he’d man up and admit that “the buck stops here” with him, and sell the team.
But he’s more interested in making money than winning. The current payroll, the number and quality of free agents he’s let walk rather than poney up smart money, his inability (or unwillingness) to sign big free agents and his penchant for making riskier trades for less-expensive talent than making trades for proven players who cost more in the long-term all stand as damning evidence proving that he’s more interested in fleecing fans out of their money than winning.
But, by building what looks to be an incredible new mega-stadium nearly next door to the Ballpark, Jerry Jones has inadvertently stuck us with Tom Hicks for at least another 3-5 years. There’s no way – unless we fans literally ride him out of baseball and Arlington and back to Hockey and Dallas or Soccer and Liverpool – that Hicks will sell the Rangers now. The Cowboys new stadium will bring more attention and economic opportunity to the Rangers. The value of the Rangers, the Ballpark and the surrounding Hicks-owned land are about to skyrocket thanks to Jones.
Just look at the B.S.-named “Glory Park” for proof. Development around the Ballpark was promised in the 1991 election when Arlington agreed to finance the Ballpark. The ownership at the time, and Hicks since, painted exciting pictures of a mini-San Antonio Riverwalk scene around the Ballpark that would be a year-round entertainment attraction and jewel of the city. It was all B.S. to help sell the citizens of Arlington on the tax hike proposal. I lived in Arlington then, I remember. The only non-Ballpark promises the Rangers have kept since was to build the Junior Ballpark and an amphitheater on the site. Oh, you haven’t seen the amphitheater? It was just a 10′ slab of concrete and hill of dirt and grass – but was leveled last year to clear a path for extending Baird Farm road to begin to prepare for the increased traffic. That’s the concert venue that was supposed to attract performers year-round. But now that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are doing a first-class job with their stadium and surrounding development, Hicks and partners are finally pushing ahead with plans for “Glory Park.” How inglorious!
So although Hicks and cohorts have done more to make the Padres and Brewers contenders than they have the Rangers, Jerry Jones, an owner who cares more about winning than economics (because he knows that especially in this area, a winner is the best money maker), has us Rangers fans stuck with the worst owner in baseball for longer than we care to withstand.
Thus, if you agree that Hicks is the biggest problem with the Rangers, it’s time to speak out and take action – keep blogging about how he needs to go, write the papers, call the talk shows, and most importantly, go to fewer games and stop putting money in his coffers.