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Sunday, March 10, 2013
Updated: March 11, 4:11 PM ET
Ryan still searching for his role

By Jean-Jacques Taylor
ESPNDallas.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan released a statement about his role with the Rangers on Sunday.

It contained four sentences and 70 words of nothing. "Over the last week, Ray Davis, Bob Simpson, and I have been in discussion and met in-person," the statement read. "The conversations have been productive, and we have discussed my role as CEO of the organization. We agreed these discussions will continue as we go forward.

"I am very proud of what the Rangers have accomplished over the last several years, and I believe our preparations for the upcoming season are what is important."

This doesn't tell us a single thing we didn't already know, which is that Ryan doesn't like his new role with the Rangers, and he's trying to figure out whether he wants to remain with the franchise since some of his power has been usurped.

Ten days ago, the Rangers named Jon Daniels the club's president of baseball operations and Rick George the club's president in charge of business. The moves reportedly give Daniels final say on all baseball matters and George the final word on all business matters.

Thus, Ryan found himself in organizational limbo.

Hopefully, he'll stay with the Rangers for the last three years of his contract. Maybe, he'll stay even longer.

Nolan Ryan
The promotion of Jon Daniels, right, has left Ryan with a somewhat undefined role.

The Rangers can thrive without him, but they're a better organization with him -- and it has zero to do with him being a Texas icon.

Ryan makes the Rangers better because, as a former player, he makes JD, Thad Levine and A.J. Preller view decisions from a different perspective.

He's a patient boss, a man who understands hasty decisions aren't always the best. Heck, that's probably why he's taking his time to study his role with the Rangers.

JD and Nolan Ryan are intelligent men. So are Bob Simpson and Ray Davis, who lead the Rangers' ownership group.

Each has seen or heard about how the battle of egos between Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson took the Dallas Cowboys down the path of mediocrity, a place in which that franchise has resided for nearly 20 years.

We're talking about a franchise with one playoff win since the 1996 season. Worse, the Cowboys have given us no indication they're going to escape the abyss of mediocrity anytime soon.

The Rangers must learn from the mistakes Jimmy and Jerry made. The Cowboys won three Super Bowls in the 90s, but they should've won a couple more. Or at least played in a couple more.

Instead, three seasons after Jimmy left, the descent began in earnest. Jerry has been searching for the magic he and Jimmy created ever since Jimmy slid behind the wheel of his Corvette and returned to Florida.

The Rangers are in the midst of the most successful stretch in franchise history.

They've won 90 games each of the past three seasons for the first time in the franchise's 42 years in Texas. In the past three seasons, the Rangers have won 18 playoff games and four postseason series while advancing to the World Series in 2010 and 2011.

The farm system is stocked with prospects, revenue streams are flowing and the big league roster is talented. Only the Rangers can screw this up. When you win, the credit gets doled out. Some folks get more than others, but everybody is getting praised. And paid. Does it really matter if JD is getting a smidgen more credit than Ryan? Or vice versa? It shouldn't. More importantly, it can't. And if JD and Ryan truly don't care where the credit goes, then each needs to have conversations with their closest supporters and advisers and tell them to shut the hell up. Their message should contain no ambiguity. More times than you can count, JD has said his goal is to have a 15-year window during which the Rangers are a contender. It's a lofty goal, but the Atlanta Braves and the New York Yankees have shown us it's possible.

The Rangers are just three years into their run as one of baseball's best teams. They don't even have a title yet, having come one strike away -- twice -- in 2011 from beating St. Louis and winning the World Series.

So this franchise still has considerable work to do. The Los Angeles Angels have one of baseball's lineups and the Oakland Athletics have one of the best rotations. The Rangers? They're coming off one of the most embarrassing collapses in baseball history. Each member of this organization should be focused solely on winning. The petty jealousies and agendas must cease. Or we'll look back at these years as the time the Rangers wasted an opportunity to become one of baseball's signature franchises because too many individuals were consumed with getting credit for the organization's success.