New York Times Gets Its Hands on Closed-Door Meeting in Rangers Bankruptcy Case. So ...?

On September 17, we noted: The New York Times, for whatever reason, really wanted to get its hands on a tape made in Fort Worth bankruptcy Judge Michael Lynn's chambers on July 9, when the judge ordered a closed-door sitdown with those involved in the bankruptcy and subsequent auction of Your Texas Rangers. Maybe something to do with Cliff Lee, who was acquired from the Mariners (and snatched from the Yankees) on July 9? Or perhaps not. Hard to tell.

All anyone knew was: The Times wanted those tapes and would file myriad motions to get its hands on 'em. And after some legal back-and-forthing in recent weeks, including a hearing last week and a doc that revealed "that those audio tapes do not appear to contain any Debtor Confidential Information," the paper got its wish yesterday, when, per this doc on file in Fort Worth, Lynn ordered the court reporter to turn over to The Times a written transcript of all the day's doings. The paper, which had to pay for the paperwork, was also allowed to listen to the tapes. OK. Fine. But what was on 'em?

Not much, turns out, except a cranky judge who, with one month to go before the August 4 auction, just wanted to be done with the case. According to the story in the paper this morning, Lynn's backstage meet-and-greet with the attorneys involved a lot of veiled threats aimed at Chuck Greenberg and Major League Baseball's attorneys. Lynn talked mostly about would-be bidders ("If the buyer is Barack Obama, however, I would not want you to say, 'No, we don't accept Democrats or black people.' Do you understand me?") and baseball:

"I don't like what's been done to it, with the designated hitter and interleague play and an interminable playoff," he said. "But I used to love baseball, and I can talk baseball with -- at least in terms of people like Whitey Ford and Bob Turley and their ilk -- until hell freezes over."
Anticlimactic. That's the word you're looking for.

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky