Thursday, August 12, 2010
Nolan Ryan: Heat factor overblown
By Richard Durrett
As he discussed on his chat with ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday, club president Nolan Ryan was asked about the heat at the ballpark on a conference call on Thursday. The temperature takes on adding meaning these days after Cliff Lee talked about how hot it was on the mound last night. Lee, of course, is a free agent and both Ryan and new managing general partner Chuck Greenberg said the heat should not impact the club's ability to sign or keep key players. They did say it's more about what it does to fans than players.
Ryan said April and May make it "as enjoyable to play here as any place." He added that you're probably talking about 50 games in the Texas heat and a pitcher may play 20 of those games.
"And of those 20, maybe four or five are possibly in extreme heat," Ryan said. "When you start analyzing, this heat situation is blown way out of proportion. I'd much rather pitch last night and be climatized to it and not in the cold somewhere else in April or September."
Ryan said with no breeze last night that it was particularly hot to be pitching in those conditions, which Lee could certainly attest to after the game. But he doesn't believe that heat will determine whether Lee stays in Texas or goes somwhere else.
"The heat is what it is," Ryan said. "What your attitude is about the heat is a personal thing -- How you view it, how you use it, if it’s a distraction for you. It depends on the individual. As far as Cliff’s concerned, it was one of the hottest games because it was extremely hot and there wasn’t a breeze. I’m a believer that you use that to your advantage. He outlasted the other pitcher. What happened last night is our bullpen couldn’t hold them and our offense shut down. I look at it as the individual and what their priorities are. We have a lot of very attractive things here in the Metroplex versus going somewhere else to play. That’s going to come down to whether it's Cliff Lee or another free agent and what's important to them."
Greenberg was quick to point out that the weather is nice in October during postseason baseball, something he plans on seeing this season and in the future.
Ryan was also asked, as he was on our chat on Wednesday, about what the club is doing in terms of looking at modifications to the park to make it cooler.
"As I said in that interview, we’re looking at any new technology that comes along that we think can make economic sense to pursue," Ryan said. "Do I see us putting a retractable roof over the stadium? No I don’t. It doesn’t make economic sense to do that. Our players feel like the heat is an advantage for us because a lot of visiting teams are overwhelmed by the heat. I don’t look at that as a priority as much with the players as I do with fan experience and the impact it may have on the fans. When we’re into an extreme heat wave in a long homestand it does have an impact on fan participation because of the fact that people deal with it on a daily basis in their lives. They don’t want to experience that. They want to go home and get away from that."