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Another Texas Rangers Loss

Gregg Eklin was one of the only guys on the Rangers' payroll who did his job well. So of course Tom Hicks had him canned.

Terrell Owens’ humility coach. Marion Jones’ image consultant. Lindsay Lohan’s liver. And at the top of the list of the world’s most difficult jobs: Senior Director of Baseball Media Relations for Your Texas Rangers.

Last Tuesday Gregg Elkin organized a season-ending press conference. Wednesday morning he was fired. By Jim Sundberg, who was made just last week the team's executive vice-president of communications and public relations.

“He just walked in and said, ‘See ya later,’’’ Elkin tells Unfair Park. “He told me that Mr. Hicks was giving him a great opportunity and that I no longer fit the team’s vision, whatever that means.” Elkin said owner Tom Hicks later sent him an e-mail, but basically he was abruptly shown the door without warning -- or a good reason.

It was Elkin’s job, remember, to positively promote through the media a Rangers team that has finished third or worse in a four-team division for seven consecutive seasons.

Elkin, who spent four years in the same capacity for Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks, remained helpful and hopeful despite the cascading losses. For example, he cheerfully aided me in sit-down interviews with Sammy Sosa and general manager Jon Daniels this past season. Despite spending today looking for employment, he said he has no hard feeling about his four years in Arlington.

“I enjoyed my time there, and I wish them nothing but the best,” he says. “I think JD has them on the right track. It’s going to take some time, but they’re headed in the right direction.”

Not sure exactly how Sundberg is going to fill Elkin’s shoes. Of course, we worried about how Elkin was going to replace legendary media director John Blake, and that turned out OK. Sundberg is a great guy and all, but making him the team’s chief spokesman says all you need to know about the perpetually mediocre Rangers. Nolan Ryan maybe. But Sundberg? --Richie Whitt

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