Chat with Nolan Ryan
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, president and co-owner Nolan Ryan joins ESPNDallas.com to field your questions about the AL West champion Texas Rangers.
Ryan played in a major-league record 27 seasons for the New York Mets, California Angels, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers from 1966 to 1993. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999.
Ryan became the president of the Texas Rangers in 2008, and this season became involved in a group that successfully purchased the team.
Send your questions now and join Ryan on Tuesday at 11 a.m. CT/noon ET!
Nolan Ryan (12:06 PM)
Hello, everybody. Let's answer some questions.
Bill (Arlington, Texas)
Nolan, First congratulations on the teams success this year. My question is was there ever any talk of foregoing alcohol in the teams locker room celebration Saturday in support of Josh Hamiltion?
Nolan Ryan (12:08 PM)
There were some discussions early on about the situation. But we felt like in the tradition of the game and the way the players anticipate celebrating, we felt like it was appropriate to leave it as it's been. The players, I know, tried to dump water on Josh and he was able to celebrate on the field with his teammates.
Tyler Carman (Jupiter, Fl)
How is the rotation going to be set up during the playoffs? Will Cliff Lee go a 3 or 4 days rest if needed?
Nolan Ryan (12:09 PM)
It's too early to speculate on what might happen and we have to see how the series plays out and what our best chance is of winning. It will be Lee, C.J. Wilson, Colby Lewis.
Texas Heat (Irving)
Mr. Ryan, what's your thoughts are the new TV extension. Is it really $3 billion ($150 million per year)? If so, will that translate into pumping up the payroll so the Rangers can keep established stars (Josh, Elvis, Ian, Neftali) and also be players on the free agent market?
Nolan Ryan (12:12 PM)
We're very happy with the arrangement we were able to structure with Fox. That and what we're doing with our attendance and sponsorships should allow us to increase our payroll as needed.
Congrats on the AL West Championship. First base is a big question, with Moreland and Cantu both playing well. Who will Wash go with the veteran or rookie?
Nolan Ryan (12:13 PM)
Depending on which pitchers we're facing will dictate how Ron answers that question as far as who plays first base. Clearly he has some options.
Yes! We get to talk playoffs and baseball in the same sentence here in the Metroplex. With a target of three games for Josh is that enough to get him back to his MVP form prior to the start of the playoffs?
Nolan Ryan (12:13 PM)
Obviously, I would like to see Josh get more at-bats and more playing time than three games, but we'll have to deal with whatever time we have. It's hard to speculate, after him being off a month, what type of conditioning and timing he'll have going into the postseason.
Who do you want to see the Rangers play in the Divisional matchup, the Yankees' bats or Tampa Bay's pitching?
Nolan Ryan (12:18 PM)
We have the attitude that whoever it is, we're prepared to play them. I can't honestly say that we have a preference.
Who were the three toughest hittersi for you to get out?
Nolan Ryan (12:19 PM)
It varied because of the length of my career and because I played in both leagues. But the type of hitter that gave me the most trouble was a left-handed contact hitter that hit the ball where it was thrown and didn't chase bad pitches. That would be George Brett, Pete Rose, Tony Gwynn and Rod Carew.
congratulations! how would a game 4 ALDS at the ballpark be coordinatted with upcoming cowboys/titans game on same day?
Nolan Ryan (12:20 PM)
It all depends on what the start time is for our game and the Cowboys game as far as direct conflict as far as parking and traffic.
Are you a proponent for more instant replay? Technology is great but it can also drag games down in a hurry...
Nolan Ryan (12:22 PM)
No, I'm content with how they are using it at this point in time. I don't want to see it expanded and delay the games and take the human element out of it.
Brett Davis (Hot Springs, AR)
Nolan, how will the Rangers address the free agent and trade markets this offseason, and how hard will you push for Cliff Lee to return? And congratulations on a great season. I hope to see you guys in the World Series.
Nolan Ryan (12:23 PM)
We definitely have an interest in retaining Cliff Lee. We will have to see who is available on the free agent market and what we feel our needs are, so it's preamature to make any predictions on that.
I know you've been outspoken agains pitch counts and innings counts for younger pitchers, but do you think CJ Wilson has maybe reached the upper-limits this season? He seems to have hit a wall lately and isn't nearly as productive as earlier in the season.
Nolan Ryan (12:27 PM)
I think that C.J. obviously has pitched more innings this year than he's ever pitched and that it probably has taken somewhat of a toll on him. But I think with the condition his in and with his delivery, I really think he'll continue to be effective in the postseason.
Hey Nolan, how do you feel about your young guys and what roles will they play in the playoffs and on into next season?
Nolan Ryan (12:28 PM)
Our young guys are a big part of the reason we're here. They will continue to play the role they played during the season in the postseason. I would like to think next year they'll be that much more mature and experienced and better players.
We love the changes around the ballpark since your group took over (with the exception of the girls running with flags on Greene's hill after a homerun). Are there any big changes to the ballpark that we can expect for next year?
Nolan Ryan (12:30 PM)
The flag girls were my idea because I want to brand this as Texas and that we're proud of being Texas and this is the Texas Rangers. We're in discussions about future changes either for 2011 or 2012. We have limited time to make some changes, so some may be not be ready for 2012. We're still in discussions on the videoboard and we don't have a firm date yet.
Scott (Boston, MA)
Whats your take on the AL CY Young race? Should it go to the guy with the best pitching stats (Felix Hernandez) or the guy with the most wins (CC) or the guy with the closest combination of both (Jon Lester)?
Nolan Ryan (12:32 PM)
That's a good question. I would also like to consider the impact that pitcher had on his team being competitive in a pennant race. I don't know who I'd pick.
Bill (Lubbock, Tx)
With Elvis struggling this last month is there any indication that Wash will make a change in the line up in the post season?
Nolan Ryan (12:34 PM)
No. Elvis is our starting shortstop and he'll be in the lineup. Where Wash chooses to put him in the lineup will be his decision on what he thinks will be best for the ballclub.
Have there been any more discussions to address the heat experienced by players and fans during the summer?
Nolan Ryan (12:34 PM)
We have discussed it, but there has not been any resolution to it.
I think you predicted before the season that he Rangers would win 92 games. Honestly, are you suprised they've won this much? Or are you just psychic?
Nolan Ryan (12:36 PM)
I'm not surprised we've won the division. I felt like we had a legitimate shot at it coming out of spring training. I felt like it would take 92 wins to do it, so I'm somewhat surprised that didn't take that many.
What is your main concern for this team entering the playoffs?
Nolan Ryan (12:38 PM)
That everyone is healthy and that offensively we score enough runs to give us an opportunity to win.
There have been times when our offense has been shut down by good pitching. What will be the key to success in the playoffs, our pitching staff being effective against other batters or our batters getting hits off of other pitching staffs?
Nolan Ryan (12:39 PM)
I think it's a combination of both. Our pitching has to hold our opponents down to low-scoring games and our offense has to produce enough runs to give us an opportunity to win.
What advice do you have to the players who have never been in a playoff game. Like many of these Rangers
Nolan Ryan (12:43 PM)
My advice to them is to enjoy the moment, but play the game that got you there. Don't try to do more than you're capable of doing and I think that's the biggest thing as players is getting wrapped up in the moment and be something they're not.
first congrats on winning the division. do you think missing the past month will hurt josh hamilton's chance of winning the AL MVP?
Nolan Ryan (12:45 PM)
Yes, I do. Because he's been out a month and I think that whoever votes on that will take that into consideration. I think he's definitely had an MVP season and we wouldn't be where we are without him. So if he's voted the MVP, he certainly deserves it.
Why do you think the pitching in the MLB has been so dominant this year compared to previous seasons? There ahve been so many outstanding pitching performances!
Nolan Ryan (12:47 PM)
I think one of the issues is that we have an expanded strike zone overall, is my observation from watching games this year. I think we're past the steroid era. And I think the game is starting to put emphasis on pitching again (from the minors on up).
Nolan Ryan (12:48 PM)
Thanks for the questions. I do appreciate all the support the fans have given us this year. It's been a good season for the Rangers and we're excited about our postseason play and hope it's as productive as our season has been.