The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Express called into action, good ticket for Texas team

By John Garces/sports editor

One of the best pitchers of all time, who finished his career as a Texas Ranger, is riding back into town.

Recently, the team announced Nolan Ryan would return to the club, this time as team president.

The 61-year-old former pitcher, dubbed “The Ryan Express” because of his blazing fastballs, is being brought in with the hope he can turn around a franchise that has grown accustomed to languishing in the depths of baseball’s basement.

Ryan, who threw his last pitch as a Ranger in 1993, has most recently worked as a special assistant to the Houston Astros.

Long known as an owner who tries to run his teams more like businesses than sports franchises, Tom Hicks appears to have finally gotten one right.

Whether Hicks actually sticks to his word and lets Ryan handle the baseball and business side of the organization remains to be seen.

But the biggest victory for the beleaguered owner is the public relations boost that Ryan’s signing has given the team as it begins spring training this week in Arizona.

For a team that becomes little more than an afterthought once football season arrives and the Rangers drop out of contention, public perception is something it must improve quickly.

No one will question Ryan’s baseball abilities, and the thought of his working with some of the team’s promising pitchers (and, yes, some actually DO exist), ought to make even the most cynical Rangers fan smile.

But, can the Express work his charm in the off-season and convince some of baseball’s pitching studs to ply their trade in Arlington once they become free agents?

Despite having the shooting gallery known as Rangers Ballpark in Arlington working against the team, the club and its fans can now hope that Ryan can change the way free-agent arms look at the franchise.

Ryan has also shown the business sense to run that end of the club, with years of experience in various ventures behind him, and has been told by Hicks he will have “complete and total” control over both of those areas.

A wise man once said, “It’s baseball time in Texas.”

This year, thanks to Ryan, Ranger fans hope “baseball time” lasts a little bit longer than we’re used to.
It will be a tough job, no doubt.

But, if the Texas legend could stand tall on the mound at 45 and pummel someone half his age with noogies, assembling a championship-quality baseball team in Arlington probably doesn’t seem that hard at all.

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