Ask any Texas Rangers fan who they consider to be the one person that played the largest role in the ball club’s turnaround over the last several seasons, and most of them will tell you that it was Texas baseball legend Nolan Ryan.
There is no doubt that the Hall of Famer, along with help from general manager Jon Daniels and others, played a key role in making the Rangers one of the best teams in Major League Baseball.
Along with being a member of the team’s ownership group, Ryan is currently the president and CEO of the ball club, but many around Dallas have been wondering if his time with the team may soon end.
Over the weekend, the Rangers held their spring training meetings in Arizona. Late Friday, it was announced that Daniels, in addition to his role as the team’s general manager, would also be assuming responsibilities as the team’s president of baseball operations. Additionally, Rick George, the ball club’s chief operations officer, would become the president of business operations.
So, to people such as myself who don’t really understand all the titles associated with running sports franchise, how does all of this affect Ryan and his future position with the Rangers?
At first glance, it doesn’t seem to have much of an impact whatsoever. In fact, it was made clear that both Daniels and George would still theoretically report to Ryan, who remains the CEO, and co-owners Bob Simpson and Ray Davis were very complimentary of the work Ryan has down thus far for the ball club.
But when you stop to think about it, why are these changes being made, and why now?
After the news of these changes and possible shifts in power was released to the press, Dallas-area media skeptics quickly began to voice their opinions on the move, some wondering if this could be an indication of Ryan’s departure in the near (or possibly not-so-near) future. Adding fuel to the fire of suspicion, when Ryan was asked about these changes, he politely declined to comment. Could Simpon and Davis be eliminating Ryan’s position with the team? Could there be truth to the rumors of Ryan’s retirement that began to surface at the close of last season? Is this all much ado about nothing or could there be something to these recent changes?
Only time will tell, but when Ryan does decide to leave, it should be on his terms.
The powers-that-be must understand how much Nolan Ryan means to the Rangers’ fan base; he’s the one they trust. He is a living legend, a Texas icon, and the man many consider to be the one who gave the Rangers new life. However, there is still work to be done, and it wouldn’t be the same if Nolan Ryan wasn’t a key part of the team’s quest for their first World Series crown.