Nolan Ryan thinks of Ventura fight

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan heard that Robin Ventura had been named manager of the White Sox, one of the first things he thought about was the replay of his famous headlock on the big screen at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Chuck Morgan, the club's guru of in-park entertainment, shows the replay of the Ryan-Ventura brawl before some of the Rangers game and it gets loud cheers.

"I thought that Chuck was going to have to quit showing that before White Sox games," Ryan said.

Ventura and the White Sox come to Arlington for Opening Day in 2012.

"I'm sure we'll show it Opening Day," Morgan said. "But it's not something we do every game and we probably won't do it every game of that series, either."

In 1993, then 46-year-old Ryan hit then 26-year-old Ventura with a pitch. The White Sox third baseman charged the mound but Ryan put the younger player in a headlock and got in a number of shots to his head. It still makes highlight reels of all-time baseball brawls.

Morgan has also incorporated Ventura into the Texas Legends race, where some folks in costumes race around the park in place of the usual "dot race." One of those Legends, of course, is Ryan.

"That was just a one-time thing," Morgan said.

Ryan admitted that he was surprised that Ventura was hired in that he hasn't had much experience in the game outside of playing.

"But he certainly knows the game," Ryan said. "He'll be 180 degrees from Ozzie Guillen in terms of personality and approach."

Ryan said he was expecting the Rangers to head to New York to face the Yankees once the ALDS got back to a Game 5.

"I've had to shift gears," Ryan said. "I thought with Game 5 in Yankee Stadium they'd win. But it's a reflection of Detroit's pitching and what they are capable of doing."

Ryan said he expects a close series between the Rangers and Tigers and didn't even want to try to predict a winner.

"It's a team that is strong and led by their pitching," Ryan said. "I think it will come down to who is pitching the best."

Ryan is impressed by Tigers ace Justin Verlander, who is slated to start Game 1 and Game 5 of the ALCS.

"He's obviously the most dominating pitcher in the game right now," Ryan said. "His breaking ball mixed with his velocity makes him tough."

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.