ARLINGTON, Texas -- It’s been a little more than a year since Nolan Ryan was involved in the decision making process for the Texas Rangers.
There were some ties to Ryan around the ballpark until Sept. 5, when manager Ron Washington stepped away for personal reasons.
With Jeff Banister taking over as Rangers manager Friday, it signaled a new beginning for the organization.
“Nolan has been gone a year and we have to go forward,” Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis said Friday. “None of us wanted Nolan to leave, but he did. OK, he’s working for the Astros. They’re our enemy now. Now we have to put together an organization that can work together.”
Others affiliated with Ryan are also gone from the coaching staff. Outfield/third base coach Gary Pettis appears headed to Houston.
Pitching coach Mike Maddux's status with the club wasn’t solidified during Banister’s talk with reporters Friday. It would be a surprise if Maddux didn’t return, but the pitching coach is his own man, much like Banister.
GM Jon Daniels stressed during the nearly 40-minute news conference at the ballpark that Banister is his own man.
But this is Daniels’ organization to run. Yes, he’s got Thad Levine and others helping him make decisions, but nobody can point to rifts between Daniels and Ryan anymore.
“We don’t have two camps now,” Davis said.
When asked if there was friction with Ryan around, Davis was honest by saying, “At times, but you know all organizations have some of it.”
“Debate is good,” he said. “It’s good to challenge each other if it’s done in the right respect.”
Banister admitted he doesn’t chase jobs and that he did almost as much homework on the Rangers as they did on him.
Banister wanted to make sure this was the right home for him.
Daniels could have gone the easy route and hired interim manager Tim Bogar, but instead he allowed the process to play itself out and Banister won the job.
Daniels didn’t make the decision alone. He had nearly 20 people help in the vetting process and the finalist was presented to the ownership group.
Partnerships are what the Rangers want right now.
You can have a difference of opinion, as was the case last season with Washington disagreeing over the handling of Yu Darvish.
Washington wanted Darvish to pitch through mild inflammation, but Daniels couldn’t let it happen, especially with how valuable the ace is to the franchise.
Banister seems similar to Washington, direct and to the point. You might not like the answers you’re getting, but at least you're getting something. The difference with Banister is that he will remain within the proper guidelines of the organization.
If he disagrees with something, he’ll express it behind closed doors.
“We established a thought process and an idea and a direction for our young players to learn how to win,” Banister said. “The process is more important than the actual end result. Stay true to the process, continue to work toward the process every night, collectively and individually.”
Yep, things are different around here now. No more "that’s the way baseball go."
It’s all about the process, developing young talent and making sure the veterans get better.