SBD/April 11, 2013/Franchises

Nolan Ryan Decides To Remain MLB Rangers CEO; No Word On Length Of Committment

Ryan (l) chose not to speak to reporters about the decision after yesterday's game
The MLB Rangers yesterday announced Nolan Ryan will remain CEO, ending “six weeks of internal drama and intense speculation after Ryan lost the president’s title but leaves open how long he will stay,” according to Evan Grant of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Though Ryan was at yesterday’s Rays-Rangers game, “he did not comment to reporters about his decision.” Grant: “Now comes the next question: How long will this arrangement last?” Ryan “has two more seasons beyond 2013” on his contract, but his statements in the team's release yesterday “made no reference to serving out the length of the contract.” It is more likely Ryan "will give an honest chance to the unique working arrangement” in which Rangers President of Baseball Operations & GM Jon Daniels and President of Business Operations Rick George “operate their departments on a fairly autonomous basis, but Ryan has input in the decision-making process.” Ryan “rarely overruled the duo on decisions.” Grant: “It is, in theory, the same arrangement that was in place ... The decision to stay will give the deliberate Ryan time to examine whether the situation is actually unchanged.” It could “certainly be re-evaluated after the season.” Daniels said, “I’m glad he’s decided to stay on. We’ve got a good thing going -- a good plan with good people” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/11). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson noted Rangers co-Chair Bob Simpson and Daniels “maintained that the Rangers’ power structure had not changed and that all decisions had to be run past Ryan.” Sources said that Ryan “wanted to ensure that his voice mattered in baseball decision-making, and also didn’t want to be seen as a figurehead” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/11). ESPN DALLAS' Todd Wills noted Ryan “attended all six home games over the weekend and into this week.” Ryan's decision “saves the Rangers from what could have been a public relations issue” (ESPNDALLAS.com, 4/10).

KEEPING THE BAND TOGETHER: ESPN DALLAS' Richard Durrett wrote Ryan’s decision to stay is “terrific news and a huge relief for … Daniels, the entire Rangers front office and fans.” Ryan has been the “face of this club” and an “important asset in helping vault this organization into that elite group of clubs that are annual contenders.” The idea of Ryan “not being a part of the Rangers … just wasn't something anyone, including Major League Baseball, wanted to contemplate.” Simpson and co-Chair Ray Davis “had to find a way to keep Ryan in the fold and they’ve managed to do it.” Both Ryan and Daniels, “despite their differences, made critical decisions that led to success.” It is “nice to have that combination around a little longer” (ESPNDALLAS.com, 4/10). In Ft. Worth, Gil LeBreton writes Rangers fans “likely will cheer Wednesday’s announcement and heave a heavy sigh of relief.” Ryan’s name “on the Rangers’ company masthead has been a reassuring one since he first donned the team uniform in 1989.” When he was hired by then-owner Tom Hicks and became the club’s president in February ‘08, he “appeared to inherit a task -- getting the Rangers to a World Series -- for which there was no real job description.” Ryan “started doing almost everything -- choosing the new uniforms, remodeling the ballpark, reordering the concessions, etc.” Ryan's name “quickly became synonymous with the franchise.” LeBreton: “I think Ryan felt compelled to be the final authority on all decisions. That became an increasingly difficult task, which the co-chairmen hoped to alleviate by promoting Daniels and George.” LeBreton writes, “Maybe I’m being naïve, but I don’t sense that at any time were the co-chairmen trying to force Ryan into leaving the Rangers” (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 4/11).

QUESTIONS REMAIN: In Dallas, Kevin Sherrington notes, “Nowhere in the statement does it say Ryan is in it for the long haul.” The fact that Ryan “left without talking to the media should tell you something.” Questions “would be asked that he’s not ready to answer: Where the restructuring of the organization went wrong, how much it hurt, whether he’s over it. Clearly, he’s not.” However, “it’s not his style to detract from the good that’s going on with a club he just as obviously wants to remain a part of” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/11).
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