In the movie "Knocked Up," Alison (Katherine Heigl) asks Ben (Seth Rogen) why he thinks Alison's brother-in-law, Pete, is cheating on Alison's sister, Debbie.
Ben says, "Because Debbie's a pain in the ass and Pete's awesome!"
It seems to me that that is the justification for a lot of the excitement about Nolan Ryan coming on board...if you ask why someone thinks this is so great, the answer seems to be a variation of "Because Tom Hicks is a pain in the ass and Nolan Ryan's awesome!"
Yeah, Tom Hicks has been a crappy owner, and there's no need to re-hash all the reasons why.
But does Nolan Ryan coming on board really do anything, you know, good for the franchise?
Yeah, yeah, there's the whole credibility thing, the restoring the faith of the fans and all that...but that's begging the question.
Is there any reason to believe that the franchise is better off with Nolan Ryan as team president than before?
On the business side, there's reason to be optimistic...Ryan has seemed to have done a very solid job overseeing the Round Rock Express and Corpus Christi Hooks, although there would seem to be a pretty big jump from overseeing the business side of a couple of minor league franchises and running a major league team worth several hundred million dollars.
But a lot of folks also seem convinced that having Ryan involved on the baseball side of the Rangers is going to be a positive, as well. And for the life of me, I can't understand why.
Yes, he was a major league player for twenty five years or whatever. You could say the same thing about Julio Franco. Should he be team president? If not, what's the difference?
A common theme seems to be, well, he's a good sounding board for Jon Daniels, and if he'd been here a couple of years ago maybe Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez wouldn't have been traded. But that ignores the fact that it was the veteran baseball men (particularly Buck Showalter) who pushed for that deal. And that also ignores the fact that there's zero evidence to lead one to believe that Ryan is going to be better than any other random former major leaguer at evaluating talent and making personnel decisions. Ryan wasn't, after all, really involved in the baseball side of things with the Astros.
My biggest concern about this has been that it is a sign that the Rangers were shifting directions yet again, that after 6 months or so of being committed to rebuilding and the plan Daniels has put in place, someone else is being brought in to implement his own plan and remake the team according to his own vision. The contract extension for Daniels alleviates some of that concern, along with reading that Ryan is 61 years old...maybe I'm wrong, but it seems unlikely someone of that age is going to want to come in, tear everything down, and completely start over.
But if that's the case, then what is Ryan's role on the baseball side going to be? If a miracle occurs and the Rangers are a game out of first place in late July, while the Indians are sitting at .500, and Mark Shapiro calls to talk about dealing C.C. Sabathia, who is he going to deal with...Daniels, or Ryan? Are Ryan and Hicks going to have to sign off on every deal now? Is Ryan going to want to be involved in negotiations? Is this going to turn into a situation like the ones in Baltimore and New York the past few years, where deals can't be done because it isn't clear who has authority to do a deal?
We're going to have to see how this plays out, and how everything fits into place. Hopefully, Ryan is basically a Tom Scheiffer type, someone who runs the business side while having just a light touch on the baseball end, someone who lets the people in place do their job.