Is everybody happy?
Well, hold it. Let’s rephrase the question.
In this particular case, everybody doesn’t matter.
Is Nolan Ryan happy?
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That’s what the past seven confusing weeks have been about, right?
For whatever reason, Nolan wasn’t happy with the you-know-what situation swirling around the Texas Rangers’ organization.
Should I stay or should I go? That’s the famous Clash (random reference but a great song) question we wanted to know.
As of last week, Nolan announced he was staying. In high baseball places in Arlington, that certainly makes Bob and Ray and Jon very happy. They won’t have to deal with the repercussions of a Ryan departure.
But is Nolan happy?
Bottom line: Nolan darn sure better be happy. If not, then don’t stay.
So what about it, Nolan? You say what?
“Under the new structure, I’m looking forward to getting out and doing more things,” Ryan answered Friday. “I’m not going to be involved in the day-to-day operation with the Rangers, so if I want to go see the kids in Hickory [the Crawdads being a Class A farm club], I will pick up and go.
“Same way with our clubs in Frisco and Round Rock. There will still be decisions to be made in Arlington, but I won’t have the day-to-day stuff as much.”
Is that happy?
Well, it certainly sounded like this was appealing to Ryan. Somewhat anyway.
But in the Friday conversation, the coconut-cutting-time question was also asked.
Retaining the title of CEO, it would indicate Ryan is in charge, at least in the corporate-world definition of CEO.
But say there’s a major disagreement between Ryan and the Rangers new president of baseball operations, Jon Daniels. Or there’s a major disagreement between Ryan and the new president of business operations, Rick George. (I can’t imagine Rick George flexing muscle on Nolan Ryan, but these are interesting new times in Arlington.)
It will happen, of course. There will be major disagreements.
“In that case, should it happen, then the final say on major decisions will come down to Ray and Bob,” Ryan answered.
Hello, Bob Simpson of Fort Worth and Ray Davis of Dallas. They are the co-powers and top investors in team ownership.
“My attitude is they have the substantial investment and involvement in the ballclub, so eventually they are going to be the ones involved in the final decisions,” Nolan added.
Of course, that’s also where all this confusion started, going back to late November. Bob and Ray decided on a new front-office structure, with Mr. Simpson saying the only intent was to take the day-to-day load off Ryan.
Without question, however, others involved with the ballclub, certainly those in the Daniels camp and those in the Ryan camp, viewed it as a loss of power for Ryan.
Ryan didn’t say so Friday, but obviously he viewed it the same way, or the issues of the past seven weeks wouldn’t have happened.
I’ve had many conversations since late February with Simpson, a few of them rather unpleasant, but he has been consistently adamant there was no intent by ownership to demote Nolan.
Again, the problem is those within the organization — on both sides — who thought Nolan had been demoted.
But I can say this about my conversations with Simpson. More than once, even in our disagreements, he has proved to be a man of his word. In this business, you’ve got to respect that.
Simpson obviously was blindsided by the situation of the past seven weeks. Should he have been blindsided? I don’t know.
But this is the way Simpson explained how the new power structure will work:
“Nolan is to be the boss of J.D. and Rick, and he will have normal powers of a CEO. He will hold them accountable for the day-to-day decisions and have the right to sign off on anything major.”
Sign off? Does that mean say yes or no?
“On a major decision, Nolan does say yes or no,” was the answer. “Nolan has to approve all major decisions, and you can quote me on that.”
Mr. Simpson has hereby been quoted.
But at the same time, it does appear that major disagreements will have to be settled eventually by Bob and Ray.
Otherwise, Nolan stays with the Rangers for, it appears, as long he wants to stay.
That makes everybody happy.
Well, I think so, anyway.