For the first time since Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway broke the story that Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan was seriously considering leaving the Texas Rangers, the man has spoken. Well, kind of.
Ryan released this statement today through the Rangers:
“Over the last week, Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, and I have been in discussion and met in-person. The conversations have been productive, and we have discussed my role as CEO of the organization. We agreed these discussions will continue as we go forward.
"I am very proud of what the Rangers have accomplished over the last several years, and I believe our preparations for upcoming season are what is important."
What does this say? Technically, nothing. It does, however, leave the door wide open to Nolan staying, and leaving.
Clearly the Rangers are in full crisis, red alert, oh-crap spin control mode after the poop hit the fan when it was announced that all baseball decisions were all going to go through GM Jon Daniels, and the business part was left to Rick George.
No one much cared about the business part anyway. People wanted to know if Ryan was going to have a final say about the team on the field.
The power structure left Nolan Ryan as the final say on nothing.
My first take on that announcement was that Nolan, 66, was tired of the day to day stuff and wanted to step back. Because no one other than Jerry Jones would be stupid enough to slap a Texas sports icon in the face like this. Turns out I was wrong - the Rangers were indeed that stupid, and Nolan wants to work.
Rangers ownership clearly was not aware of the backlash and criticism they were about to face when they outlined a power structure that did not include the one man who has brought more credibility to this franchise than any other, either as a player or an executive (sorry, Doug Melvin).
The reaction was - You don't do this to Nolan Ryan.
The other reaction was - We can find another Jon Daniels. There never will be another Nolan Ryan.
For fans of Nolan, this statement is encouraging because it's not a giant middle finger to the franchise and a declaration of departure.
For fans of Nolan, this statement is not totally encouraging because it does not say he is going to remain with the team.
What the ownership has to do is figure out a way to save face while ensuring Ryan has say in baseball decisions.
The Rangers can't be expected to be quite as competitive in '13 as they were in previous seasons, so this is not the right time to alienate and run off the proudest face of this franchise.
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