Well, we now have some news on the ownership front...
Jon Heyman is reporting that Dennis Gilbert is considered the favorite to end up as the winner in the ongoing buy-the-Rangers derby. Heyman quotes Bud Selig as saying that it is down to "two or three" groups, and has this to say about the possibility of Hicks retaining the team:
As for what Gilbert would do if he comes on board:
Gilbert . . . will be expected to be a hands-on owner. Assuming the deal goes through, Gilbert is expected to retain the current baseball operations department, led by bright young GM Jon Daniels. Gilbert has said that he hopes current club president Ryan will stay on and that he has no intention to change leadership.
My preference is for the new owner to keep Ryan, Daniels et al on board. However, as I have said before, the possibility that a whole new front office would be brought in is not something that would make me prefer keeping Hicks as the owner to getting new ownership in place. Given a choice between Hicks staying as owner and the current front office staying, or a new owner and the possibility that the new owner would want to bring in his own people, I'd go with the latter.
Meanwhile, the S-T has a story up about how playoff refunds have finally been issued, and the attendant complaining from fans who have been unhappy with the delays.
This seems to have struck a chord with some folks, which, given the circumstances, isn't surprising. Things that can otherwise be innocuous oftentimes get more traction because they seem to illustrate a greater concern. If John McCain or Joe Biden had referred to "57 states," it would have been an amusing gaffe for a day or two, then people would have forgotten about it. But because of certain fears or beliefs among some folks about Barack Obama being somewhat alien, different from your "traditional" American, the "57 states" meme had legs because it was suggested he was unfamiliar with a basic bit of information about our country that every schoolchild knows, allowing it to be used as shorthand to show that he's not "one of us."
Similarly, in another situation, the kerfluffle over the delay in refunding folks' money from paying for playoff tickets would probably not be as great. But this is a team that hasn't even been this close to the playoffs in years, with an ownership that has zero goodwill left with the fan base. And in the midst of the ongoing public drama of the team's financial situation, and reports that MLB is basically funding and running the team and that the Rangers couldn't even afford to water the grass this summer, the playoff ticket refund issue encapsulates fears that the team has no money, and the sense that ownership really could care less about how it treats the fans.
Jeff Wilson has a quote from Jon Daniels on offering arbitration to Marlon Byrd and Pudge Rodriguez, saying it is a win-win because the team will either get a compensatory pick or a solid player for 2010.
T.R. Sullivan writes that the Rangers are planning on basically doing nothing at the Winter Meetings, and instead are going to wait to see who is left out there, desperate and in need of a job, on the eve of spring training.