For a couple of years now, Astros fans have felt the brunt of countless jokes from sports fans everywhere. With the hiring of Nolan Ryan as an executive advisor, that should be about to change. Nolan Ryan commands respect. Just ask Robin Ventura.
Nolan Ryan is a living legend. When a power struggle with Rangers’ G.M. Jon Daniels forced Ryan out of Arlington last October, rumors of a return to Houston began to swirl. But would the rebuilding Astros have a spot that made sense for the all-time strikeout king? Ryan isn’t exactly the kind of man who’s going to take a job that serves as nothing more than window dressing.
After almost 50 years in the game as a player, team owner, and executive, Ryan’s wealth of knowledge and experience is invaluable. Getting Ryan back home where he belongs is perhaps the biggest coup of the decade. In this case, Arlington’s loss is Houston’s gain.
When Ryan left the Astros back in 2004 there was a certain degree of animosity. So much in fact, that when Ryan was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame he chose to be enshrined as a member of the Texas Rangers. I think mending those fences and getting Ryan back in the fold was important to the Astros current ownership group. Now it appears as though Ryan will finish out his baseball career with the team that made him the first player to earn more than a million dollars in a single season.
Along with the new found level of respect, Ryan also brings his own unique viewpoint to the Astros front office. Ryan’s primary function will be to act as a sounding board for Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, and Reid Ryan (Nolan’s son and the team’s president). As the rebuild continues, Ryan will be there to share his input on a broad range of topics ranging from player personnel to business strategies.
I can’t say enough about what Nolan Ryan brings to the table for this Astros team and how great it is that he’s been put into this particular position. Score another victory for Jeff Luhnow and company for making it work. Now, if only we can start celebrating more victories ON the field, things would be great.
Nolan Ryan (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)