Earlier today it was announced that Nolan Ryan was retiring (or resigning, however you want to look at it) as CEO of the Texas Rangers effective at the end of the month. Now this is a move that actually should not have come as a surprise considering the tensions in the front office this season. It began in the offseason when Ryan was relieved of his duties as team president which were handed to G.M. Jon Daniels. Then, after failing to reach the postseason for the first time since 2010, it was announced that first base coach Dave Anderson and bench coach Jackie Moore (both Nolan hires) were not coming back next season. This actually showed that Daniels was the one with more power as he attempted to clean house in order to bring in more of “his” people. I saw this move coming from a mile away and was not shocked at all.
Now this is not a piece where I am going to bad mouth Ryan. I love the guy. He’s one of my all-time favorite players and he did a lot for the Rangers both as a player and part owner. But there was obviously a split and tension in the front office between him, the majority owners and Daniels. Fans were equally divided as well with people picking which team they believed more in. While I’ll always be a Ryan fanboy I know that it was Jon Daniels who built this team into the perennial contender that it has become these past few years. It was Daniels’ wheeling and dealing that brought players such as Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Mike Napoli, Cliff Lee, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton and countless others to the team. And, yes, he also made some regrettable moves including trading for Ryan Dempster and, to a little extent, Matt Garza but when you’re contending those moves make sense at the time. Roy Oswalt? That was a Nolan move and everyone knows that.
And some fans still hold a grudge against Daniels for trading away Michael Young but it was a move that made sense. There was no way that he could be an everyday player this season and it was in the best interest of both parties.
Keep in mind though that it was Ryan who forced out partner Chuck Greenberg (who was very fan friendly and did a lot to bring more fans to the ballpark) and he also fired television broadcaster Josh Lewin because he wanted someone more old school whom he could control more in the booth.
And for all those people who believed that having Nolan Ryan in the front office was key to signing free agent pitchers in the offseason: where are they? No matter who is running the team there will always be problems landing big name pitchers when they have to play in Texas summers in a hitter-friendly ballpark.
While it is sad to see Ryan leave I believe that Jon Daniels will make the right moves in the offseason to return Texas to October play in 2014. This team is in no way finished without Ryan behind the reins. I’m willing to bet on it.
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!
James Holland is a lifelong fan of baseball and his hometown Texas Rangers. He is also a contributing writer for shutdowninning.com and can be found on Twitter @SDIJamesHolland