Liverpool FC fans just getting used to being owned by the Boston Red Sox can take some comfort from the fortunes of another Major League Baseball team with which they are now forever linked; the Texas Rangers.
Like Liverpool the Rangers have recently seen the end of the reign of one Thomas Ollis Hicks, Sr. The billionaire who caused so much consternation amongst rabid Reds fans was similarly reviled by Rangers faithful. Now the Rangers are tasting unparalleled success, after reaching their first ever World Series.
Hicks acquired the Rangers franchise in 1998 and in contrast to his spending policy at Liverpool he quickly made a splash signing then shortstop Alex Rodriguez to the biggest contract in MLB history. The deal would pay Rodriguez (now with the New York Yankees) $250 million dollars over a 10 year period. A salary that no doubt fuelled a lifestyle as a consort to the likes of Madonna, Cameron Diaz and Kate Hudson.
After finishing last in their division over four successive seasons HIcks agreed to trade Rodriguez to the Yankees, but continued to pay part of his salary through 2007.
In eleven years of Hicks stewardship the Rangers saw only 3 winning seasons. Finally beset by financial woes Hicks agreed to sell the Rangers. That was in January 2010 – ten months later the club, stocked with young talent and led by ace pitcher, Cliff Lee, are poised to challenge the San Francisco Giants for the title of World Champions.
That they swept aside the Yankees in the American League Championship Series (effectively the semi-finals) to reach the World Series, Alex Rodriguez and all, must make this a doubly satisfying achievement for the Dallas based club. That they face similar underdog opponents in the Giants must give them a real chance of victory. The Giants haven’t won a world series since they moved from New York in in 1957.
Liverpool should maybe take note that the consortium that eventually bought the Rangers was led by a former Rangers’ legend, Nolan Ryan, for an equivalent, think maybe Kenny Dalglish taking the reigns as GM at the Reds.
For the record it’s twenty years since the Reds last won an English league title, and whilst shrugging aside the Hicks shackles cannot alone guarantee championship status, Liverpool fans can at least hope …