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The World Series 2010, Bankruptcy and Election Results

By (view all posts by Dealman)
at 11:58AM Monday October 25, 2010
under Newsworthy

When viewed through a certain prism, this is a particularly weird year for the Texas Rangers to finally make it to the World Series.  Not only have the Texas Rangers faced bankruptcy this year, but most everyone knows that former President George Bush once owned the Texas Rangers, so his name's coming up again during a pretty contentious election season.

First, what's up with the Texas Rangers' bankruptcy problems?
You can't really blame the bankruptcy on any financial misdeeds of George Bush.  This was caused by a successor.  This story also adds some poetic justice to the fact that the last out of the 2010 ALCS was made by Alex Rodriguez--as his contract was primarily the one that led to the Rangers' bankruptcy problems. 

About the Texas Rangers bankruptcy according to a Wall Street Journal article:

The Rangers have become the ultimate cautionary tale for an era profligacy in sports that was personified by Rangers owner Thomas O. Hicks, who busted the salary structure and overspent wildly before busting his Hicks Sports Group and losing nearly $300 million of his own money in the process.

It is also the first true test of sports' leagues ability to choose their owners, as Major League Baseball had been forced to cede control of the future of one of its franchises to a bankruptcy court.
Eventually the team was sold to Nolan Ryan (among others), which helps make the Rangers appearance in the fall classic all the more storybook (the Giants are a good story too, but not quite as dramatic).

So what's George Bush's involvement with the Texas Rangers? According to an article in the NY Times:
Bush's tenure leading the Rangers was his first sustained role as a prominent public figure. He presided over the franchise's improvement--although the Rangers did not reach the postseason until he was no longer actively involved with the team--and persuaded taxpayers to finance a new stadium. He was so at home in the sport that he eventually pined to become its commissioner.
However, there is some controversy there as well.  Bush was accused of insider trading (but never charged) regarding the sale of the Texas Rangers:
In April 1989, Bush assembled a group of investors from his father's close friends, including fellow fraternity brother Roland W. Betts; the group bought an 86% share of the Rangers for $75 million. Bush received a 2% share by investing $606,302, of which $500,000 was a bank loan. Against the advice of his counsel, Bush repaid the loan by selling $848,000 worth of stock in Harken Energy. Harken reported significant financial losses within a year of this sale, triggering allegations of insider trading. On March 27, 1992, the Securities and Exchange Commission concluded that Bush had a "preexisting plan" to sell, that Bush had a "relatively limited role in Harken management", and that it had not seen evidence of insider trading.
It's important to emphasize that there was no evidence proven of insider trading, just accusations.  That said, upon the sale of the Texas Rangers, George Bush made out handsomely making $14.9 million on a $600,000 investment."

This isn't suggesting that George Bush's role in the Texas Rangers over a decade ago is going to have an overwhelming effect on the election on November 2nd.  It's just interesting timing--especially given the fact that Bush has been pretty much incognito since Obama came into office. He wasn't exactly popular in the last election cycle, so Republicans are probably pretty eager to keep him out of the picture.

Politics and finances aside--who are you rooting for in this year's World Series?  Me, I'm a Mets fan, so I'm glad the Yankees got beat.  The Giants are sort of like the San Francisco Mets, as the Mets have the colors of the original New York Giants.  I have to say, though, the Rangers are more fun to watch--they pitch, steal, and hit home runs. The Giants basically pitch.  But I'm also a National League guy.  In short, I'm not sure who I'm rooting for.  How about you?