March 10, 2013

Positive spin on Ryan staying takes another negative turn

Nothing has changed in the ongoing saga, which leaves other owners with a debt of gratitude.

I’ll go ahead and say it for Jerry Jones:

Thanks, Nolan.

I’ll go ahead and say it for Mark Cuban:

Thanks, Nolan.

While the Texas Rangers’ version of “The Young (Jon Daniels) and the Restless (Nolan Ryan)” continues to crawl along, and dominate local news, it’s a good thing for the owner of the Cowboys.

Jones is currently involved in a salary cap rodeo with his roster, which is a fact of NFL life this time of year, except Jerry does it every spring after a season of mediocrity on the field.

How can a club continue to have all these cap issues when the record continues to be so blah? Oh, maybe it’s about the talent being overrated and overpaid. Just a guess.

But Jerry’s problems are now buried on the sports pages as the answer from Nolan goes unanswered.

And Cuban?

Nearly two years ago, his world champion Mavericks were parading in downtown Dallas in early summer.

At the moment, all we see from Cuban’s team is facial hair. The growing of “.500 beards” signifies the team’s rather pathetic goal of attempting to get back to break-even in the W-L column.

But no one is reminding Cuban these days of Tyson Chandler. Instead, the local sports news centers on what Nolan will do.

Local ownership decisions have come under repeated fire, especially when it’s Jerry. And now it’s the same with Cuban and his “financial flexibility” plan for the Mavs.

But until the past week and a half, Rangers ownership had been blessed. The positive feedback for these local guys flowed freely, and rightfully so.

Almost out of nowhere, however, a Jerry-type mushroom cloud gathered over the Arlington ballpark. And with the team operating out of Arizona for spring training, the mushroom club also hangs in Surprise.

A week ago, the headline in this paper read, “Nolan may depart Rangers at end of month.”

After a frenzy of activity over the weekend, activity that many of us thought signaled a positive turnaround, the bottom line Sunday was:

Nothing has changed.

Ryan appears more likely to leave the Rangers than stay, but that’s again based on speculation and nothing anyone in the media has heard directly from him.

And due to personal commitments made months ago for Ryan representing the Rangers for an end-of-March exhibition game in San Antonio and then the regular-season opener in Houston, well, that calendar time remains the most likely departure date, if he does leave.

The Rangers put out a statement from Nolan on Sunday in Surprise, but it broke no new ground, except for maybe confirming that the activity of this weekend, which centered in the DFW area, actually changed nothing.

It certainly was deemed a positive move when Ryan jumped on a private jet in Glendale, Ariz., on Friday, returned to Texas, and then met personally with Ray Davis and Bob Simpson, the co-chairs of the team’s ownership group.

After that Friday afternoon meeting, Ryan and Simpson had dinner at Del Frisco’s in downtown Fort Worth, touching off a flurry of interest from other diners.

Simpson was encouraged about the Friday meeting, but still guarded as Ryan returned to Arizona on Saturday morning. There’s no doubt both owners are making an intensified effort to assure Ryan — a minority investor in the team — he has not been moved down a notch in the team’s chain of command, both on the baseball and business side.

General manager Jon Daniels, the benefactor of a power shift in baseball decisions, has repeatedly said publicly he doesn’t see himself now as Nolan’s boss, which makes the baseball waters even more choppy and murky in this strange case.

Obviously, Nolan still has his doubts on the power shift, and it’s those doubts fueling his thoughts on leaving the Rangers. It’s pretty simple:

If the owners don’t want him under the team’s previous chain of command, then he doesn’t want to be here. It’s just business, man.

By Sunday, even after Ryan’s trip to Texas and his meeting with Simpson and Davis, those of us looking for a positive spin on this story were left holding our Dells.

Right now, Nolan is gone at some point soon. But that’s right now. Things can still change. Who knows, it may even change by today. It’s that crazy.

It’s just that nothing changed this weekend.

Say thanks, Mr. Jones.

Say thanks, Mr. Cuban.

Randy Galloway can be heard 3-6 p.m. weekdays on Galloway & Co. on ESPN/103.3 FM.

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