Sports

Cuban, Ryan square off in Rangers bidding war

The bidding war over the Texas Rangers heated up Wednesday as Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan's group offered $2 million more than Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's group, which then upped the ante by $15 million - to about $335 million in cash.

When the auction in bankruptcy court started Wednesday afternoon, a Texas Rangers attorney said Cuban’s group – which includes Houston businessman Jim Crane – had the highest starting bid. The Cuban-Crane bid was about $25 million more than the $520 million bid — including $307 million in cash — submitted by a group led by Ryan and sports attorney Chuck Greenberg.

About two hours later, the Greenberg-Ryan group’s attorney, Thomas Lauria, said his group was bidding $2 million more than the cash portion, about $318 million, of the Cuban-Crane group’s offer.

Then Clifton Jessup, a Cuban-Crane attorney, immediately stood up and said his group was bidding another $15 million for a total of about $335 million in cash – also raising that total bid to about $560 million.

Lauria said the Greenberg-Ryan group needed time to review the new high bid and get clarification on some issues.

The rare and unusual auction had been delayed about six hours because team attorneys said they were trying to determine the values of each proposal.

During an earlier break, Greenberg told The Associated Press that the Cuban-Crane bid did not meet certain qualifications when it was submitted before Tuesday night’s deadline. He said attorneys for the team and a court-appointed restructuring officer had been working with the Cuban-Crane team to revise the bid all morning, which he said was improper.

The auction is the most dramatic development yet in one of the most contentious sales of an American professional sports team. The last Major League Baseball team to be auctioned off in such a way was the Baltimore Orioles in 1993.

SHORT HOPS

The Boston Red Sox activated outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury from the 15-day disabled list. Ellsbury had been on the disabled list since May 28 with broken ribs. … The Chicago White Sox purchased the contract of reliever Chris Sale from Triple-A Charlotte before Wednesday’s game against the Detroit Tigers. Sale was the 13th pick in June’s amateur draft, and is the first 2010 draftee to make the major leagues. He has pitched 11 times between Single-A Winston Salem and Charlotte, going 0-0 with a 2.61 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 10 innings. … John Buck, the Toronto Blue Jays’ All-Star catcher, will go on the 15-day disabled list today after leaving a 5-1 loss to the New York Yankees with a cut right thumb, an injury sustained when hit by an Alex Rodriguez foul tip. … The Detroit Tigers activated third baseman Brandon Inge, who was expected to miss up to six weeks after having his left hand broken by a pitch from the Texas Rangers’ Scott Feldman on July 19, but ended up being sidelined for 15 days.

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