Chuck Greenberg visited the Texas Rangers spring training complex for the first time Wednesday, and expressed confidence that the complex deal for his investment group's purchase of the team will be completed before the season opens next month.
"Everything is going smoothly," said Greenberg, who will become the CEO and managing general partner when the deal is completed. "There are always complexities and matters that have to be solved right up to the moment of being done. So far, nothing remarkable has happened or failed to happen. Everything is right on course and I feel great about it."
Greenberg's one-day visit was a brief reprieve from his work back in Texas trying to complete the transfer of the team from owner Tom Hicks and his financially strapped Hicks Sports Group.
"It's a question of when and not if," said Greenberg, sporting a red Rangers jacket over his blue Rangers shirt. "We think the when will be April 1."
Texas opens April 5 at home against Toronto.
"We continue to work to getting the deal closed and would like to have it done by opening day, as well," Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, said in New York. "We're making some progress."
The deal is complicated by debt owed by Hicks Sports Group, which early last year defaulted on $525 million in loans tied to the Rangers and the NHL's Dallas Stars. Hicks said that was a deliberate move to force lenders to renegotiate terms of the deals. Hicks also is exploring a sale of the Stars, which he has owned since 1996. He bought the Rangers in 1998.
The SportsBusiness Journal reported, citing unnamed sources, the sale of the Rangers stalled after Major League Baseball last week informed the team's creditors that there would be delays in responding to the lenders' concerns about the deal.
"What's interesting is it said that the sale is delayed again which suggests that it has already been delayed once and that just hasn't happened," Greenberg said. "There are some folks out there that have a little bit of self-interest in portraying gloom and doom, none of whom are principals in the deal."
Greenberg's group includes Rangers president and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan among a group of about a dozen mostly local investors. An agreement in principle to buy the team from Hicks was announced Jan. 23.
As owner of two minor league teams, including the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Greenberg has been a regular visitor to spring training the past 10 years in Florida. He had never been to spring training in Arizona before Wednesday.