This morning in the Sports Business Journal, Daniel Kaplan recounts the wild doings in the Fort Worth courtroom where, at the end of last week, the Texas Rangers, their creditors and Major League Baseball squared off in Round One of the Chapter 11 Showdown. Unless you were in the courtroom, it was hard to follow what went down -- something about MLB and the creditors getting into a bidding war over paying the Rangers' payroll till this mess was settled; something about credit card debt in need of settling; something about getting the judge to reopen the bidding process just in case there's someone willing to fork over more than Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan's Rangers Baseball Express.
Kaplan, like the U.S. Trustee before him, summarizes nicely for those in need of a week-that-was before beginning your week-that-is. He also outlines the long-term ramifications:
The league is viewed in some circles as helping to throw the team into bankruptcy in an effort to prevent creditors from foreclosing. Financial sources, who declined to be identified because of their ties either to baseball or to this deal, said that lending would become more difficult, if not at least more costly.
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He also points our direction toward what's to come in coming days as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judge D. Michael Lynn mulls over the myriad options at his disposal:
The parties will return to court in two weeks to offer more evidence, with Lynn at that point expected to either open the process to other bidders or allow the sale to Greenberg and Ryan to continue. If it is the latter, Greenberg and Ryan could own the team free and clear by mid-July.
The prospect of a non-judicial settlement appeared highly unlikely last week. When the creditors objected to MLB lending the team money, suggesting it was the league's way of controlling the team, a bidding war broke out between the league and the creditors. Lynn constantly had to intercede, and it took the better part of two days for him to choose MLB as the lender -- and that was just to see who would lend the team more money.
On the other side I've included that very decision, posted to PACER on Saturday. It's 84 pages and perfect for Your Memorial Day poolside reading (or barbecue-lighting needs), because it includes, among myriad other details, a look at how the so-called debtor-in-possession order works; a breakdown of the team's budget; and a glossary of terms that'll be bandied about in coming weeks.