The Texas Rangers held a presser a presser at the Ballpark in Arlington Friday afternoon to announce the club's "Stretch Drive Pricing" initiative, which includes lowering prices on beer, soda, hot dogs, hats and parking -- or "five of the basic staples in life," according to Chuck Greenberg. The newly minted Rangers CEO and managing partner would then spend a sweaty but -- thanks to Nelson Cruz's first-pitch homer in the 11th inning and The Josh Hamilton Show -- glorious Friday night meeting and greeting friends and well-wishers who dropped by the owner's box at the stadium.
While general manager Jon Daniels, assistant general manager Thad Levine and manager Ron Washington stood near a back wall and watched, Greenberg praised the fans for their patience and enthusiasm throughout the lengthy ownership transfer and stressed that the franchise belongs to them. He repeated as much during a message broadcast on the Ballpark big-screen Friday night, which he stopped watching long enough to take pictures with a few young fans sitting behind him. Greenberg said this initiative is the beginning of an extensive program that aims to break down barriers that either have arisen between ownership and the fans.
There were many moments of frustration where it would have been human nature to lash out during the difficult path to ownership, Greenberg said, but it paid off to stay focused on the goal to own the team.
"The strategy to get there seemed to change," he said. "Certainly there were a lot of surprises, and there were a lot of expectations that I had about what would happen next that turned out to be incorrect. But, at the end of the day, it came down to will. It came down to resolve and commitment and passion. And we just weren't gonna be denied."
And while Greenberg didn't specifically address Radical Pitch -- the Mark Cuban-Jim Crane ownership group that bid against Greenberg's Rangers Baseball Express for the team -- he admitted to his frustration of potentially losing the team to someone who had jumped in seemingly at the last minute to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
"It just didn't sit well with me or with my partners that someone would come in during the ninth inning and enjoy the benefits of something that we fought long and hard for," he said. "We didn't resent it, but we just weren't going to be denied."
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Greenberg described the ballpark as "breathtaking" and said other immediate changes include airing the radio broadcast in the concourse, which had been shut off "for reasons I can't understand." He also hopes to diversify the food options and said Chuck Morgan, the team's vice president for in-park entertainment, has ideas that he plans to implement during games.
Once again, he was asked about the weather, and after repeating Nolan Ryan's comments from Thursday's conference call, Greenberg added that attendance has been above 40,000 during some of the hottest days of the year.
"If [the fans] weren't here, they'd be watching their son or their grandson play football," Greenberg said.
A question about whether the Rangers could compete with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in terms of payroll was addressed vaguely, with Greenberg saying, "Our payroll is going to rise on its own." He also said he intends to keep the current roster intact.