Former Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan has deliberately stayed away from anything remotely controversial about his time/departure from the professional baseball team in North Texas. He is now a part-time helper to his son, Houston Astros' exec Reid, as they try to make that minor league team into into a big-league product.
In an interview with ESPN.com, Nolan briefly referenced his time with the Rangers, and in a way he does offer a bit of an out to the man thought to be the reason behind The Express' departure, GM Jon Daniels. Nolan told ESPN's Jerry Crasnick:
"When I came into that situation, I was dropped in J.D.’s sandbox. He had his organization and his group of people, and all of a sudden — boom! — Nolan Ryan was there. It was a dimension they didn’t anticipate. It probably wasn’t handled properly with my coming in."
When Nolan Ryan was hired by then-owner Tom Hicks in February, Jon Daniels had been on the job since replacing John Hart as GM on Oct. 4, 2005. Assistant GM Thad Levine was hired around the same time, in '05. A.J. Preller, who was recently promoted to assistant GM, was hired in November of '04. Senior special assistant Don Welke, Mike Daly (sr. dir, minor league operations) and a few other executives were all with the Rangers before Nolan.
Hicks promoted a small group of individuals to run his baseball front office that, for multiple seasons, grew accustomed to running decisions by just one man. Then Nolan came in, was given tremendous power and authority, and suddenly JD's sandbox buddies had to deal with a new "friend".
Nolan could have fired them all and replaced JD, Thad, AJ with fishing buddies. A man with that much new power would have been well within his rights to do just that.
Instead, he chose to work with the cast handed to him and the results were self-evident: 90 win seasons, consecutive World Series, etc.
With these comments, Nolan is not excusing, or blaming, anyone for his exit. He merely states the obvious - the whole thing from the beginning was messy.
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