Nolan Ryan held his customary news conference prior to the Rangers’ first game at Minute Maid Park. He did it almost every season as the Rangers CEO from 2008 until he resigned last October and kept it going in his new role as an executive adviser with the Astros.
The 67-year-old Ryan touched on several subjects from his messy ending with the Rangers to Yu Darvish’s chances of finishing off a no-hitter to his seemingly unbreakable records of seven no-hitters and 5,714 strikeouts.
Among the highlights:
On his time with the Rangers: “I have nothing but good thoughts about my years with the Rangers. I still follow the ballclub and have friends over there. I don’t think anything negative at all about that organization, and I’m very proud of the time I spent there and what was accomplished when I was there.”
On Yu Darvish’s near no-hitters: “It’s magnified with Yu because it’s happening in the ninth inning. Everybody thinks, ‘What does he have to do to get over the hump?’ That’s just the way it’s worked out. And, two, when you use pitch limits as baseball is doing nowadays, it increases the challenge to maintain your stuff later in the game to pass the number of pitches you normally throw.”
On if Darvish will accomplish the feat: “I think it’s a matter of time before he puts it together and gets one. It’s pretty interesting how many times he’s been in that position in a short period of time.”
On the Rangers-Astros rivalry: “This is the kind of thing that you hope sometime down the road when they’re both competing for the division, it’ll be a lot more interesting. … It hasn’t been very competitive, so I think the teams don’t view it as a real rivalry, but I think it’s just a matter of time.”
On his responsibilities with the Astros: “They’re developing. That’s the best way to put it.”
On if he wants similar role with Astros as he had with the Rangers: “I am at a different point in my life. I see my role different now than with the Rangers, so I think that part of my career is behind me.”
On his records: “The record to fall first is probably the no-hitters because you can have somebody come into the league who has that kind of stuff and put it together and have some really outstanding games. The strikeout record … you’re going to have to accumulate a lot of innings, and the way we use pitchers now, there’s probably a lesser chance.”
Speaking of Ryan’s strikeouts, the Rangers are celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 5,000th strikeout on Aug. 22 with a Ryan replica jersey giveaway. Ryan struck out Rickey Henderson on Aug. 22, 1989 for No. 5,000. Ryan said he doesn’t know yet if he’ll make an appearance that day at Rangers Ballpark or not.