He sat, watching what was once, literally, “his team,” make another run to the World Series. And his emotions, to say the least, were all over the place.
“For it to be any other way would go against human nature,” said Chuck Greenberg, the one-time (briefly) owner of the Texas Rangers. “I have such affection for so many people in the organization. I was happy for all their success during the year. I was rooting them on and I was disappointed they weren’t able to get that last strike.
“At the same time, it was difficult not to be a part of it,” he continued. “I was proud to play some role, but as much as anything, I was proud to have foreseen the opportunity before the current success was apparent. All the people told me why the Rangers wouldn’t draw and I just wouldn’t believe it. To get involved early, see it to a conclusion, go through that long process, then see the success, was a very rewarding feeling.”
Of course, the plan was for Greenberg to still be sitting in the owner’s box or alongside Nolan Ryan in the stands. Greenberg, the Pittsburgh area attorney who owns a pair of Minor League teams — the State College Spikes and the
Myrtle Beach Pelicans — had put together a group to purchase the Rangers from Tom Hicks. In August 2010, the sale was finalized and Greenberg was on hand to watch the Rangers go to the World Series for the first time that fall.
It seemed like a wonderful start to a long, harmonious relationship. Greenberg’s group came in to solidify the stewardship of the team which had floundered under Hicks and the team seemed poised to be competitive for a long time.
It didn’t turn out that way. No one knows for sure why the relationship turned sour so quickly; most of what has been written is conjecture. But by March 2011, Greenberg was out, forcing him to watch this second straight run to the Fall Classic from afar.
“When I left, I agreed not to talk about the circumstances,” said Greenberg, who still maintains a house in Pittsburgh but now calls Westlake, Texas, home. “It was an unfortunate situation that was very disappointing because it was
something I had really put my heart and soul into for 22 months. As I look back, I have no significant regrets or instances where I would have done anything of any significance differently. Everything I did was about doing the right thing and treating people the right way. I’m proud of the platform for long-term success the Rangers are now operating from.
“I think everything about the experience with Texas was a success, other than the disappointment that I’m not involved with it on a daily basis,” he added. “I couldn’t have been more pleased with everything with the experience other than that it ended.”
Greenberg didn’t take too much time to lick his wounds. He still has the two Minor League teams and his consulting company. He came close to being part of a group to buy the Dallas Stars. But when he couldn’t get a TV deal in place — something he did accomplish with the Rangers — he decided it wasn’t quite right.
“We came very close,” Greenberg said, who would have been buying the team from the same ownership group (Hicks) had he gone through with it. “We realized we couldn’t put [a deal] in place to give the franchise the security it needed. Sometimes you have to know when to walk.
“I’m enjoying myself,” he added. “I’m open to new opportunities, but I’m going to take it slow and see what presents itself.”
(Jonathan Mayo, the Chronicle’s sports columnist and a staff writer for MLB.com, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)