Nolan Ryan: Friend or Foe?

I grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan.

Nolan Ryan

SI salutes Nolan

I came home and pitched against the garage door every day, keeping the count in my head, pretending be Ryan, well a left-handed version of the fireballer. This guy meant everything. Gritty but far from perfect. He had massive amounts of strikeouts – and walks! He was no-nonsense, and he meant business. He would pitch well and lose 3-2 or 2-1 or 1-0. You had to feel for the guy. He had great ERAs but his record never reflected how good he was.
This morning I reached out to my friends (and enemies) on to ask a question. Were they feeling what I was feeling? That I guy I cherished for more than half my life, has now become almost a sworn enemy. Personally, I have nothing against the man. But I’m not a fan of Texas. I don’t like the Rangers, and I don’t like that he owns the team.

Most would call it sour grapes. The Angels screwed him up and low-balled him after the 1979, so he left. He gave the team the finger, and signed a million dollar deal with Houston. Were the Autrys cheap, did Buvasi just blow it, was Ryan really committed to being back in Texas full-time? Who knows. What I do know, is Ryan abandoned the Angels even after leaving via free agency. He has attended to only a handful of events saluting past Angels greats.
He did come back for an off-season celebration of no-hitters. I was lucky enough to interview him that day for the TV station I was working for. I think I might have been more nervous than when I got married. But I cannot help feeling this gleefulness in my soul, after watching the Giants dismantle Texas in the first two games. A 2-0 lead is nice. I have nothing against them. In 2002, I hated them, but that’s because they had Barry, and they were up against the halos in the World Series.
I admire his stance of throwing out pitching counts, and letting pitchers pitch. He does have an impressive group of players like Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler, Vlad Guerrero, and especially Cliff Lee. It will be interesting if Lee leaves and was just the rent-a-player that he was. Texas may look a lot different down the stretch next year, and/or if they make the playoffs. As for Ryan and his Rangers this post-season, I’m hoping for one more strike-out, sotospeak.


~ by sotospeaks on October 29, 2010.

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