Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels never played the game, but he knows how to play the game as well as anyone ever has in our deep fried state.
Among our locals, JD ranks slightly ahead of Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle and Jason Garrett in the crucial skill set of "Managing Up."
JD recognized from an early age that winning games is sometimes not quite as important as winning over your boss.
JD has managed up so well that he not only convinced the co-owners of the Texas Rangers that they were better off under his guidance on all personnel matters, which effectively ended Nolan Ryan's presence with the franchise, but to also continually give him more money to do it.
And more money. And then a little bit more.
That Cornell education is really paying off for Mr. Daniels.
JD may never win a World Series, but he has mastered the art of one inescapable and crucial truism of the workplace: Make sure those with the windowed, corner offices like you. The rest may not matter.
Ray Davis and Bob Simpson don't just like Jon Daniels, they are in love with Jon Daniels.
Must be nice to know you can drive a team right into dead last and not only have the support of your bosses, but get more of their money in the process. That is winning.
The mystery surrounding JD's tenure with the Rangers ended on Thursday when the club announced a multi-year extension with their GM/President. Despite the pathetic but predictable state of the Rangers, this contract has been a foregone conclusion for months.
He is on the payroll through 2020, the first year of Arlington Tax Hike Friendly Ballpark.
JD had zero leverage, and the ownership could have done whatever it wanted in this "negotiating" process. Ray Bob tripled down on their adopted son.
The pair released a joint statement: "Coming into this season, extending Jon Daniels’ contract was a priority for us. His track record demonstrates clearly that he is the right person to lead the Rangers back to contending for championships once again. Over the last decade, the Rangers have the fifth best winning percentage in the major leagues and have gone to the playoffs five times in a period of success unsurpassed in franchise history."
"Unsurpassed in franchise history" is an important distinction; we're talking about the Texas Rangers, not exactly the New York Yankees.
While JD deserves credit for much of the team's run at the World Series, he also benefited by following one of the most disliked GM's in team history, John Hart, and an organization that would celebrate a .500 finish.
Since Daniels took over as GM for the 2006 season, the club will post six losing records in his 13 years. The Yankees, Dodgers or Red Sox GM might be fired for this; the Rangers? More cash.
And there is the forever specter of Nolan Ryan hanging over JD's tenure. His supporters believe the club's success was largely influenced behind the steady, sure hand of The Express. JD's detractors are fairly certain he did not have the authority to tie his own shoe laces without Nolan's approval.
The truth, as always, resides some place in the boring middle.
Here is the truth: JD was the GM of the Texas Rangers when they nearly won it all. However you want to dress that up, or down, it's his name and he gets the credit.
And if Nelson Cruz catches that ball in Game bleeping 6, this contract extension feels different.
Also the truth, including this year, is that the Rangers will have losing records in three of the five seasons since he left after the '14 season.
JD's name is on this franchise's greatest achievements as well as this pale o' hot garbage playing before more than three dozen fans at the Global Meltdown Park every night.
He gets the "credit" for the pitching staff. The bullpen. The infield. The outfield.
The Rangers are banking that JD and his "team" have players in the system that will make them competitive in a short period; that last season and this one are aberrations.
Anyone with any sense of Texas Rangers' history knows that losing seasons are anything but aberrations.
Nonetheless, Ray Bob just tripled down on their boy, because no one has ever been better at managing up than Jon Daniels.