Nolan Ryan, Robin Ventura speak
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers CEO and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan and new Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura chatted Friday for the first time since Ventura charged the mound after being hit by a Ryan pitch 19 years ago.
Ryan went over to the White Sox clubhouse before the game and wished Ventura good luck. Neither held any grudges over the Aug. 4, 1993, incident in Arlington, but they had never crossed paths since then.
Ryan, seated beside former President George W. Bush in the owners' box near the dugout for Opening Day, said Thursday he had hoped to see Ventura.
"He was a very good player and very successful player," Ryan said Thursday. "It was just a reaction or response to the moment. He and I had no personal interaction prior to that night. There was nothing that precipitated it from something previously."
Ryan, then 46, hit Ventura, who was a 26-year-old with the White Sox. After taking four short steps toward first, Ventura dropped his bat, took off his helmet and sprinted toward the mound. Ryan came off the mound toward him, grabbed Ventura in a headlock and started punching.
Whenever the video is shown at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it gets huge cheers. Ryan said Thursday the photo of him punching Ventura is one of the top three items he's asked to sign by fans.
Chuck Morgan, the Rangers' executive vice president of in-park entertainment, made the decision this offseason not to show the video of the fight while the White Sox are in town.
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The clip was a staple of the pregame video montage in 2011, but Morgan pointed out the club has plenty of highlights it can show. The film of that game will show up from time to time, but it won't be played as often as it has been in previous years, he said.
Ventura said Thursday he doesn't care if the Rangers show the video.
"It's not like I haven't seen it," Ventura said Thursday. "It's up to them. They can play it if they want. It's not going to change any decision I make or anything else I do."
Ventura was booed by the sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington as he was introduced. He said Thursday he was booed when he returned to Arlington in the seasons after the incident.
"I'm not playing, so to me they can get all hyped on it all they want," Ventura said. "It's happened before. I'm concerned more about what my guys are doing and how we play than I'm worried about if I get booed."