|Ryan gets presidential term with Rangers that could go longer|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 29 February 2008 12:40|
The Hall of Fame pitcher agreed Friday to a four-year contract in his new role with the Texas Rangers, a job he accepted 3 1/2 weeks ago to revitalize a franchise that's had only one winning season since its last division title in 1999.
``That's the same length of time the president of the United States has his job,'' Rangers owner Tom Hicks said. ``If he does a good job he gets re-elected. I think there's a good chance Nolan will have a chance to get re-elected.''
Hicks also Friday extended general manager Jon Daniels' contract by two years through the 2011 season, coinciding with the length of Ryan's deal.
Ryan, the 61-year-old career strikeout leader who played the last five of his record 27 major league seasons with the Rangers, said he plans an evaluation period before deciding on any changes for the franchise.
``I don't want to come in and make wholesale changes without knowing where we are in this organization and this operation,'' said Ryan, who arrived Thursday in Arizona for the team's spring training.
``I wasn't here when decisions were made and directions were taken, so I don't know in my heart who's responsible for what. I feel like it's important for me to give people an opportunity to do their job.''
Asked how long his evaluation would take, Ryan said he couldn't give a timeframe yet.
But Ryan made it clear that he's not planning to be a figurehead president or a ``Rangers mascot'' as he heard one radio commentator suggest.
``The reason I took this job, it was a window of opportunity that would probably never present itself again,'' Ryan said. ``At this point in my life, it was really from a timing standpoint, a good opportunity for me, and I've always wanted to do something of this nature in baseball.''
``Will it be a much bigger challenge than I anticipated? Probably,'' he said.
Since retiring as a player in 1994, after winning 324 games and throwing seven no-hitters, Ryan has been a successful businessman. He owns two minor league baseball franchises in Texas, is the majority owner and chairman of a bank, and is an investor in a beef company.
He fulfilled a 10-year personal services agreement with the Rangers after he retired, and had a year remaining on a similar five-year agreement with the Houston Astros when he was picked as the Texas president on Feb. 6.
``It shows something about the organization that somebody of that stature wants to come back,'' said pitcher Kameron Loe, who has a tattoo of Ryan's image on his back. ``He must see that we're on the up-and-up and we're doing good things and making the right decisions.''
Ryan wants to spend as much time as he can at training camp in Arizona to get to know the players and coaches. But he also has to return to Arlington to tend to some of the business aspects of his new job such as ticket sales.
Over the last couple of weeks, Ryan said he has gotten ``a pretty steady diet of what's going on with the Rangers,'' including numerous conversations with Daniels.
When Ryan was hired, Hicks said he expected Ryan and Daniels to work together. That doesn't seem like it will be a problem.
``Our relationship has been very good to this point. I think that it will stay that way because I'm not a micromanager,'' Ryan said of the GM who is half his age.
The 30-year-old Daniels was the youngest GM in major league history when he replaced John Hart after the 2005 season. Hicks gave him a one-year extension last season through 2009, then added two more years once Ryan's deal was finalized.
``Obviously, Nolan and I have dramatically different backgrounds, but I think the biggest connection is the passion for the game and philosophically how we believe in building,'' Daniels said. ``Knowing philosophically we're on the same page, that's probably even more reassuring.''
Daniels, who grew up in New York, said the only bitterness he has toward Ryan is that the pitcher didn't spend his whole career with the Mets.
The completion of Ryan's contract had been expected earlier this week, but his arrival in Arizona was delayed after he got an invitation for lunch Wednesday at the White House with President Bush, the former owner of the Rangers.
``He's like the rest of us fans, disappointed,'' Ryan said. ``He also asked me the same question you asked, why I'd take this job.''