The latest twist in the most mismanaged hierarchy in baseball was announced around 1 p.m. Thursday, an unexpected and clear demotion of team president Reid Ryan.
Some 30 minutes later, Nolan Ryan had said adios to the Astros, and in so doing essentially said that his eldest son has been stabbed in the back.
Reid Ryan was pushed aside and given a lesser role with the club in favor of owner Jim Crane’s son, Jared, so that he can learn the business and possibly take over the team once his 65-year-old father chooses to retire.
Ryan is now executive adviser of business relations. The Houston Chronicle reported that Ryan met Monday with the two Cranes to discuss the changes, and the Astros said Ryan will remain a voice on business decisions.
But they also said the change in roles will give him “more opportunities to focus on his other business ventures while remaining an important part of the Astros organization.”
Ryan, a TCU graduate and former baseball player there, took the high road after getting booted off the top of the mountain.
“Jim Crane has been a great owner for the city of Houston, and I thank him for the opportunity to lead the Houston Astros organization,” Ryan said in a statement. “Thank you to the many employees, fans, and partners that have supported this team during my tenure as president.
“Baseball is about bringing joy to people’s lives and I take pride in knowing that we have made so many memories for our fans. While my role has changed, I will remain with the Astros and look forward to another great season in 2020.”
Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher who finished his career with the Texas Rangers, wasn’t quite as discreet in a text message to Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston.
“I will not be back with the club and will leave it at that,” Ryan said.
Messages for both Ryans were not returned.
Reid Ryan became Astros president in May 2013 after running the Ryan-owned Triple A team in Round Rock while Nolan was on his way out of the Rangers’ front office after he was stripped of the title of president in spring training but remained the CEO.
He left the Rangers after the 2013 season and became an adviser with the Astros the next spring.
The Astros are still recovering from a World Series loss last month that was plagued off the field by the ugly way they handled the inappropriate comments directed toward female reporters made by assistant general manager Brandon Taubman after the Astros clinched a trip to the World Series.
Their PR staff issued a strong denial of a Sports Illustrated story by one of the reporters in Taubman’s line of fire, then continued to make things worse. They even bungled the firing of Taubman by waiting days to issue a retraction to the writer, but only in a private letter from Crane.
The PR team is back in crisis mode after messing with the Ryan family.