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Myrtle Beach Pelicans owner gets rough intro to big leagues

Chuck Greenberg was never publicly called delusional by an executive of the Kinston Indians, or any other Carolina League team.

Of course, he wasn't in a bidding war with any of those clubs for a pitcher who signed a five-year, $120 million deal this offseason.

That scenario is indicative of the change the principal owner of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans has experienced since becoming part owner and chief executive of the Texas Rangers barely six months ago.

Greenberg's initiation into major league baseball ownership has been swift and public, from an auction bidding war for the Rangers in early August with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, to a run to the World Series, to attempts to retain ace pitcher Cliff Lee, to a recent verbal spat with New York Yankees president Randy Levine.

"There were a number of instances where people took shots at our organization this year, and if that's part of what comes with the territory of becoming a serious contender at the highest levels then we'll take it," Greenberg said Tuesday while in Myrtle Beach for a Pelicans meet-and-greet function that attracted roughly 100 fans. "It wasn't something I went looking for."

After Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies, Greenberg said he thought his trip late in negotiations to visit Lee in Arkansas likely extended talks and allowed the Phillies to step in.

In response, Levine told ESPNewYork.com Greenberg "is delusional. He's been running the Rangers for a few minutes and seems to believe he's mastered what everyone else is thinking. ... I'll be impressed when he demonstrates he can keep the Rangers off welfare."

The welfare comment made reference to the Rangers receiving revenue sharing money for the past three years from a luxury tax assessed to high-spending clubs.

"I thought it was much ado about nothing," Greenberg said. "I like Randy. He's a character. There certainly is a budding rivalry developingbetween the Rangers and the Yankees and we're looking forward to renewing that rivalry on the field where it belongs."

Greenberg said the Rangers, the parent club of the advanced Class A Pelicans as of September, now have the funding and the will to compete with the league's perennial powers.

"We have a very well-capitalized ownership group, led by our co-chairmen of the board Bob Simpson and Ray Davis, who are very competitive and have committed their lives to north Texas not only in business but in philanthropy as well," Greenberg said. "Everybody was thrilled by the success we had on the field and we're doing everything we can to sustain that and compete at the highest level year-in and year-out."

The Rangers weren't able to retain Lee, but they inked reigning American League MVP Josh Hamilton to a two-year, $24-million extension through 2012 last week just four days before his scheduled arbitration hearing, and added third baseman Adrian Beltre, catcher Mike Napoli and pitchers Brandon Webb and Arthur Rhodes.

"We're very pleased with the offseason we've had," Greenberg said. "We had a plan and we've followed that plan."

The Rangers have also recently hired key front office personnel from other teams and the PGA Tour. Rangers all-star shortstop Elvis Andrus, who flew from Venezuela on Tuesday to join Greenberg and new Pelicans manager Jason Wood at the Broadway Louie's sports bar gathering, said the new ownership group has breathed life and excitement into the Rangers.

"They're really focused on trying to better the team and everything around," said Andrus, a Pelican in 2007. "... When you see they signed Beltre for that much money, you don't really see that a couple years ago. It really seems like they're looking forward, they're looking to get better as a team and looking to put every piece together to try to get back again to the World Series."

Greenberg enjoys his continued involvement in the hometown aspects of the minor leagues - he's also principal owner of the Class A short-season State College Spikes - as well as the big stage and attention that comes with owning a prominent major league club.

"I think it's like different flavors of ice cream, and I like ice cream," Greenberg said. "They're both great and different, and it's fun to get to enjoy them together."

The Rangers are expected to provide the Pelicans with a lot of young talent in 2011, and Tuesday's gathering was an example of the developing synergy between the Rangers and Pelicans that includes a Rangers-Coastal Carolina exhibition at BB&T Coastal Field on March 29.

"To have a major league all-star shortstop to come in for a Hot Stove event is a new experience," Greenberg said, "and to have it lead into playing a major league exhibition game here at the end of March is another first that could only have happened with an affiliation like this."

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