Rangers' power shift could have Nolan Ryan looking for exit

Posted Sunday, Mar. 03, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

lebreton He picked out the uniforms. He chose the hot dogs. He appointed the pitching coach. He hired the guy who runs the Ballpark.

He gave the Texas Rangers credibility at a time when they needed it most.

Nolan Ryan did all that and much more.

Maybe, like all good fairy tales, this story will have a happy ending, and the Rangers, all of them — Nolan, Jon Daniels, the owners, Rick George, the manager and players — will live happily ever after, with a World Series trophy to remind them of it.

But that, in part, is up to Ryan, whose job powers were quietly amended Friday afternoon.

Do I think Nolan Ryan, Hall of Fame pitcher and living legend, is thinking about leaving the Rangers? I do, but that’s nothing more than an educated hunch.

The announcement Friday was as respectful as it was frank. General manager Daniels was adding the title of president of baseball operations, and chief operating officer George, hired in October 2010, was named president of business operations.

As the release from the club immediately noted, “In their respective roles, Daniels and George will continue to oversee the day-to-day baseball and business operations of the Rangers organization under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Nolan Ryan.”

A long quote, attributed to co-owners Bob Simpson and Ray Davis, followed, lauding Nolan and the way he’s teamed with Daniels and George to make the Rangers a success.

The owners’ point was made. But the business of smoothing ruffled feathers was never louder.

The timing itself of the announcement was conspicuous. Club ownership had gathered in Scottsdale, Ariz., for its annual spring meetings.

Somebody put Daniels’ and George’s promotions — and the altering of Ryan’s powers — on the agenda, in other words. This didn’t come up just because Elvis Andrus got a big tattoo.

There was a cordial quote from Nolan as well in the club’s announcement. But it seemed more conspicuous that when colleague Randy Galloway — who’s known Ryan for, oh, 70, 80 years — asked him, Nolan declined to comment.

He’s upset. Yet, does Ryan have a right to be?

The knee-jerk, knee-slapping Texas answer, of course, is of course he does. He’s Nolan Ryan. Daniels has an office in center field. Nolan has a statue.

But something prompted putting this on the meeting agenda. Daniels told reporters at spring training Friday that ownership stressed the importance of keeping the current operating staffs in place.

Daniels’ staff, in particular, has earned the right to be rewarded with promotions from within. Assistant GM Thad Levine and player personnel director A.J. Preller are both highly deserving.

No one has ever complained to me about this, publicly or privately, but it had to be somewhat of a blow when, in the flush of back-to-back World Series appearances, longtime Astros executive Tim Purpura was thrust into the middle of the organization chart as senior director of player development.

As of Friday’s announcement, Daniels will decide on those hirings and promotions.

A power play? No, Simpson and Davis made the decision that led to Friday’s announcement, not Daniels. The principal co-owners didn’t become mega-millionaires by hiring leadership groups who couldn’t work together.

Read the news release. Nolan is the CEO. Clearly, they want Ryan to stay and for this to work.

If he decides to retire from the Rangers in two months, four months or whatever, however, Ryan’s departure will produce a seismic tremor throughout baseball and, particularly, throughout Texas.

There are Rangers fans, alas, who think that Nolan Ryan solely owns and runs the ballclub. They think Nolan got them to the two World Series, traded for Cliff Lee, signed Adrian Beltre and invented the Boomstick hot dog. And a lot of that is right.

But there was much to do. And there remains more.

Nolan Ryan can remain a part of that. The owners said Friday that they want him to.

The educated hunch here, however, is that he won’t.

Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @gilebreton

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Tuesday, November 25Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, November 25Full Scoreboard
Atlanta «106Final | Box
Washington102
Golden State «114Final | Box
Miami97
Detroit86Final | Box
Milwaukee «98
Sacramento «99Final | Box
New Orleans89
Chicago974th Qtr 1:59 | Box
Denver108TV: CSN-CHI, Altitude
Full Scoreboard
Week 13Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Chicago 12:30 PM ET
Detroit TV: CBS
Philadelphia 4:30 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Seattle 8:30 PM ET
San Francisco TV: NBC
Sunday
San Diego 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Buffalo TV: CBS
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: CBS
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis TV: FOX
NY Giants 1:00 PM ET
Jacksonville TV: FOX
Carolina 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota TV: FOX
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: FOX
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CBS
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: CBS
Arizona 4:05 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
New England 4:25 PM ET
Green Bay TV: CBS
Denver 8:30 PM ET
Kansas City TV: NBC
Monday
Miami 8:30 PM ET
NY Jets TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Tuesday, November 25Full Scoreboard
Winnipeg «4Final | Box
Columbus2
Ottawa «3Final(SO) | Box
St. Louis2
Los Angeles3Final(SO) | Box
Nashville «4
Edmonton2Final | Box
Dallas «3
Colorado33rd Prd 7:28 | Box
Arizona3TV: TVA, Altitude2, FSN-AZ
New Jersey02nd Prd 11:46 | Box
Vancouver1TV: MSG+, SN-PAC
Calgary02nd Prd 11:11 | Box
Anaheim2TV: SN-W, Flames, FSN-PT
Full Scoreboard