Ownership battles can be a real drag. I feel (well, kinda) for Dodgers fans who have had to deal with the Guiding Light-esque storyline of the McCourt’s divorce and its’ effect on the team morale for the past few years. Alas, there was a happy Magic Johnson-related ending for Dodgers fans. But they’ve still got nothing on the fairy tale that is the Texas Rangers ownership falling into the punch-happy hands of Nolan Ryan.
The Tom Hicks days were grim. An owner doesn’t have to be likeable but it usually helps when he’s not the human amalgamation of Vicki from Small Wonder and Bernie Madoff. Nothing says “take me out to the ballgame” quite like this Tom Hicks quote:
“You don’t even have to win a championship every year to draw the fans. You just have to show you’re really trying.”
That was Tom Hicks motto: “We’re trying. Kinda.” Then he sank all his money into risky Subway franchises and scratch off lotto tickets and next thing you know, the Rangers are up for sale. And Nolan Ryan is the buyer.
Holy shit, you’re kidding right? Nolan Ryan of Robin Ventura headlock punching fame? Nolan Ryan, the guy who made Whataburger commercials in which he sounds despondent to borderline suicidal about the fact that some cities don’t have a Whataburger? Nolan Ryan, the Advil commercial guy who speaks in a South Texas drawl so thick you could repaint the ballpark with it?
Yeah, that Nolan Ryan. And while most Rangers fans were ecstatic to have Nolan guiding the ship, we all thought that there was no way they were going to let Nolan be Nolan. Surely. The primary charm of Nolan is that he seems to either have 0% or 100% self-awarness with no middle ground. In short, Nolan doesn’t give what the kids today call “a fuck.”
He sits in his owners seats at nearly every home game, even on the hottest August days. His facial expression is one that simultaneously conveys deep baseball contemplation and quite possibly a raging case of heartburn. Perhaps caused by a Boomstick, made with 100% Nolan Ryan beef franks, no less.
But you know when I really knew that Nolan “got it”, so to speak? When he had embraced his meme-ness fully? Year ago, Nolan was somehow roped into being the US ambassador for snow monkeys, a story you can hear Nolan himself tell in surreal detail.
Taking a look at the Rangers promotional giveaway schedule for this season, you’ve got your bat giveaway, your Josh Hamilton beach towel giveaway (no jokes, too soon) and your team yearbook giveaways. But on July 1st, the Rangers bring you the “Chicken Express Nolan Ryan Snow Monkey Night.”
And that is really all I can ask of my team’s ownership. Good offseason moves, fostering a sense of true team camaraderie and occasionally giving away stuffed Nolan Ryan snow monkeys. Thank you, Rangers.