Texas Rangers president Nolan Ryan joined Galloway & Company on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, Josh Hamilton and the disappointing end of the Rangers' 2012 season. Some highlights:
Did Josh Hamilton "quit" on the team down the stretch?
"You know, that’s really a tough term to say somebody quit. He had an issue, he was under a magnifying glass and things didn’t go well. If he would have gotten a couple of hits in those key situations or if he hadn’t dropped that ball in Oakland, would people be saying that? No, they wouldn’t be saying that. It didn’t look good. But do I think he quit? I have no reason to think he quit. It didn’t go well. It didn’t look good and only Josh knows what was in his heart and what was in his mind.
"I think Josh was put in a tough situation that he probably hadn’t ever been in before and he was somewhat perplexed by it. When we’re put in situations that we haven’t dealt with before, we don’t know how we’re going to react to them. I think what we saw was Josh reacting to an awfully tough situation."
Did Hamilton and the drama associated with him have a negative impact on the Rangers' clubhouse?
"Well, there’s more expectations on Josh Hamilton than on anybody else in that clubhouse and it’s because he is so talented and so unique that he is watched under a different eye than most players. And then, with his personality, he enjoys the attention that he gets and the role that he’s played. And so there’s so many unique things there that his circumstances are totally different than a normal player’s circumstances.
"His timing on quitting smokeless tobacco couldn’t have been worse. You would’ve liked to have thought that if he was going to do that that he would’ve done it in the offseason or waited until this offseason to do it. So the drastic effect that it had on him and the year that he was having up to that point in time when he did quit, you’d have liked that he would’ve taken a different approach to that. So those issues that are created that caused unrest, and it’s unfortunate that it happened and the timing was such as it was."
Ryan also commented on manager Ron Washington, who took some of the blame on Tuesday and said he probably should have rested his regulars more earlier in the season so they'd be more fresh down the stretch.
Should Washington should have rested them more?
"There were times that you would have liked to see somebody get a couple of days off or maybe three or four days off and let them regroup," Ryan said. "But also you had to look at what Ron had to replace those folks with. It’s not just cut and dried. It's what the pitching matchups were that day and a lot of factors that come into play. The bottom line was at times Ron didn’t have much flexibility."
Who's to blame for the collapse?
"I think when you’re spreading blame, it goes throughout the organization. I think the players didn’t perform. We had players that had off years this year and because of that, they put us in the position we're in. It was not just one area of the ball club. You can look at the defense, offense, situational hitting, the way our catcher’s threw, pitchers held runners on, inability to throw strikes and make quality pitches. It was a breakdown of the whole system. We didn't get Ron the help that he needed. We didn’t have players in Triple-A that we could go down and bring up that would make a difference. All those things contributed to what happened to us."