The Morning After: Chuck Greenberg
And soon now we shall go out of the house and go into the convulsion of the world, out of history into history and the awful responsibility of Time.”
Robert Earl Warren…All the King’s Men
Wondering if Chuck Greenberg’s resignation ranks up there with Eddie Stanky’s one-day reign as Rangers manager in 1977.
Here in the desert, Spring Training moves on. There are spots in the rotation to claim and Matt Harrison pitches against the White Sox at Camelback Ranch. He has been a big story in camp, right up there with the decision to keep Neftali Feliz in the bullpen as the closer.
Still waiting for Josh Hamilton to get hot. Michael Young goes about his business, preparing to play multiple positions as well as getting used to the idea of being a designated hitter. Occasional rumblings of trades but nothing of consequence and that story appears to have calmed down since everybody reported to Spring Training.
Greenberg was here for a couple of days but now he is gone. Couple of times this off-season he was asked what was taking so long to get general manager Jon Daniels’ contract extension done and he kept saying it was going to happen.
He also kept saying that it was not a big deal, that the front office was running smoothly, everybody was getting along fine and it was business as usual with the Rangers.
Or maybe so. We are Marshall after all.
So now what?
Ryan is in complete charge without constraint, possibly for the first time since he was hired in 2008. Presumably others will slip back into the background. The front office is full again, with vice-presidents in place in all areas and Rick George in place as chief operating officer.
Greenberg slips into franchise oblivion, joining Eddie Stanky as a footnote to history. He should be more than that.
Not many remember Mike Stone, who was Rangers president under Eddie Chiles in the 1980’s. He too has slipped into oblivion but he was the one that stepped into a disorganized organization sometime around 1984 and brought a badly-needed infusion of respectability and professionalism where it was badly needed.
Stone also led the charge when the Rangers signed Ryan as a free agent in 1988. Apparently that was a good thing. Twenty years later, Greenberg essentially did the same thing.
We know now that the Rangers had slipped into financial chaos in the waning years of Tom Hicks ownership. They were shackled with severe financial constraints, good people were walking out the door and the Ballpark was being battered by unending construction swirling around it.
Hicks had to sell. New owners were needed. Candidates emerged and many weren’t Nolan Ryan-friendly. It is pretty obvious that Ryan wasn’t going to work with Dennis Gilbert, Jim Crane or Mark Cuban. It was pretty obvious that if others had prevailed, Ryan most likely would have last been seen heading south.
He would only work with Greenberg. That was clear. That was also Greenberg’s strongest selling point as he put together the heavyweight financial group that now makes up Rangers Baseball Express.
Ryan was the marquee name, both in Texas and – more importantly – in New York. Major League Baseball clearly wanted Ryan involved and Greenberg was shrewd enough to hitch his fate to the brightest star. Otherwise he doesn’t get through the front door in Texas or New York.
Greenberg, through it all, still did all the heavy lifting. He was the one who made it all happen, navigating and carrying the deal all the way through the mind-boggling ordeal to an ultimately successful conclusion.
Did he save the franchise? No. The Rangers weren’t going anywhere. Did he get the Rangers to the World Series? No. That goes on others resumes.
Greenberg though was instrumental in cleaning up one huge mess and keeping Ryan firmly in place at the head of the organization. As Commissioner Selig said, it didn’t happen by accident.
In end, they all couldn’t play together nicely. The reasons are somewhat vague and speculative. Everybody has an opinion or a source. The outcome is not. Ryan is in Arlington and Greenberg is in Pittsburgh.
What did Robert Duvall say to Robert Redford in The Natural? Oh yeah, “They come and they go Hobbs, they come and they go…”
Greenberg is gone but it should be remembered it was fortuitous that he did come, even if it was unfortunately for just a short time.
- “Must not all things at the last be swallowed up in death?”
- Plato’s Republic
“And one should bear in mind that there is nothing more difficult to execute, nor more dubious of success, nor more dangerous to administer than to introduce a new order to things; for he who introduces it has all those who profit from the old order as his enemies; and he has only lukewarm allies in all those who might profit from the new. This lukewarmness partly stems from fear of their adversaries, who have the law on their side, and partly from the skepticism of men, who do not truly believe in new things unless they have personal experience in them.”