Has Tom Hicks lost touch with reality? Based on his comments to the European press during Liverpool FC’s run to the UEFA Champions League final, recent interview with Babe Laufenberg, and contract extension to Jon Daniels, there’s reason to wonder. Many reasons. Breaking down the interview shows Hicks may be having a break down.
The entire Laufenberg interview is laden with comments from Hicks that should further infuriate every Texas Rangers fan. I for one was so infuriated that I put off writing about it. And I’m going to have to write about one piece at a time.
Let’s start with Hicks’ comment about Juan Gonzalez since that’s the one that’s making all the news right now.
Babe: “Of all the decisions you’ve made as owner of the Rangers… firing of Doug Melvin, signing of ARod, Chan Ho Park… which is the one you’d like a mulligan on in golf terms?”
Hicks: “… (signing) Juan González for $24 million after he came off steroids – probably – uh, we just gave that money away…”.
Well, that became the focus of an Associated Press article yesterday, headlined “Hicks Suspects Gonzalez Used Steroids.”
Where to start?
First, who didn’t suspect that already? Did you see the difference in Igor between 1989 and 1991? You can’t add that much mass without some chemistry assistance.
So, Hicks’ “mulligan” wasn’t that he might have signed a player who used steroids, it was that Juan was off them when Hicks signed him in 2002. If Juan had still been on them, apparently Hicks believes he would have gotten his money’s worth. So Hicks wishes Juan had stayed on the juice.
Tempted to write off the comment as an errant slip of the tongue – a mistake anyone could make during a TV interview?
Hold that thought.
The interview was on June 10th. According to the AP story, Hicks made the following statement to the AP via e-mail yesterday, June 20:
“I have no knowledge that Juan used steroids. His number of injuries and early retirement just makes me suspicious,” Hicks wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press on Wednesday. “In any event, we paid him $24 million for very few games.”
So with 10 days to consider what to say, Hicks just adds the covering-my-butt statements about “no knowledge” and being “suspicious” and then basically reiterates – as much by what he doesn’t say and how he phrases his answer which I assure you was reviewed time and again by his lawyers and PR staff – that his regret is signing a steroid-free Juan whose body fell apart when he stopped juicing.
Notice Hicks doesn’t say: “I regret signing a player who any reasonable person could suspect was or had been using performance-enhancing drugs.” Nor does he say, “Juan’s age was a risk that didn’t work out.” He clearly believes that Juan quitting steroids was the problem: “(signing) Juan González … after he came off steroids” is one of three “mulligans” or mistakes Hicks admits to in the interview.
I – and any Rangers fan, really – could list a whole bunch of other mistakes that Hicks could use a “mulligan” on. How about starting with one of the biggest: letting 3 league MVPs leave and not getting squat for talent in return? Or, merging the front offices of a hockey team with that of baseball team? Or, knowing the Rangers have always needed quality starting pitching, but never going after and getting it the way you went after and got, then wasted, Alex Rodriguez’s big bat? Or, how about the one Babe mentioned – firing Doug Melvin? Or… oh you get the point…
Gotta go barf again…