Welcome to March baseball…scratch that, “early” March baseball.  When nothing happens, followed by a day of little happening, followed by a day of less happening.  By no means am I trying to downplay the importance of Spring Training.  It is vital, but not in the manner of following stats, debating how long a pitcher stayed in a game, or even making the slightest correlation between lineups each day.

Short answer: It all means slightly above nothing.  Long answer:  Going to help you out a little bit - STOP paying attention to stats, STOP breaking down lineups, STOP trying to find a story out of nothing.  It’s Spring Training.

Spring Training for veterans is all about getting back into the rhythm of the game, getting used to tying cleats and running bases every day, and allowing the body to re-remember last summer and early fall.

Spring Training for rookies, past-prime vets looking for a full-time gig, and late-stage prospects trying to make the club is all about maximizing your playing time.  Their stats should be looked at a little closer, but still “HOW” they look and “HOW” they play is more important.  Plus, these aren’t the players that will make or break the season.

Spring Training for prospects and minor leaguers is all about getting noticed.  These guys aren’t playing for this season, though is does happen (Robbie Ross last year’s Spring Training).  They are playing for future consideration.

Spring Training for coaches, instructors, and front office directors is all about seeing what cards they have.  Where their vets are at performance-wise, what role players can help the club win, and how their prospects are progressing or digressing.

Initially I wanted to only cover this “non-story wildfire” coming out about Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and ownership, but decided to set this up by making the point that Spring Training results have ZERO correlation with the regular season.  Seriously, look up Spring Training records for any team over any period of time and relate them to regular season success…no relation.  Look up specific players Spring Training stats over a few years and relate them to regular season success...no relation.

And thus, read one story from a week ago, one million Twitter responses and relate that to a move that actually occurred in November, JD’s quotes, and the fact that it’s early March…like a police officer at an accident, “Nothing to see here, move along.”

“[T]here were indications here Friday that Nolan Ryan could possibly be out the Rangers’ door, and if he does leave, it won’t be because he was forced out but because ownership has eroded his position within the team.” — Randy Galloway, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Source says it’s ‘not looking great’ Rangers/Nolan Ryan will work out differences.  Says Nolan ‘deserves to have his dignity through this.’”  — Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Define indications?  Is that like walking under a ladder or crossing a black cat indicate a bad day?  “Source says,” this has and always will be my favorite out for any journalist, and I’m guilty of it too from time-to-time.  I’m telling you right now, that the Rangers are planning on playing 20 games in 2014 at Cowboys Stadium.  There you go, now everyone reading can say that at work and quote a source.  And since you have a source, it MUST be true.

“Nolan Ryan remains chief executive officer, but he shed president as part of his title.  An icon does not need an elaborate title.” — Gerry Fraley, Dallas Morning News

“Regardless, the notion that he’s [Nolan Ryan] bound to leave because he’s no longer in charge of what he was hired to do is a flawed one.  He changed that the day he engineered [Chuck] Greenberg’s exit and grabbed the CEO title.” — Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News

“The thing that would serve everybody best here is to realize that Ryan is a huge asset to the club and that every role evolves and changes over time.  If all the parties involved can do that, this bit of drama can help re-center the organization and position it for even greater things to come.” — Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News

By far the three best things I have read during this entire “nothing story” and I PLEAD everyone to remember these three things going forward.

I love Nolan Ryan; don’t ever get me wrong there.  But I have been saying for over two years that he isn’t as involved as people think he is.  BUT, that is a good thing.  The longer it is perceived that the Hall of Fame, Texas-sized icon is making decisions on the players here in Texas the better.  That sucks (sorry, there really is no better word) for Daniels and his staff, but that is a great perception to have.  Ryan sets the theme of the organization and HAS and CONTINUES TO BE important to the organization. BUT…

“Daniels built a great baseball organization.  He’d done a lot of the heavy lifting before Ryan arrived, and that’s the point a lot of people miss.  The Rangers were well on their way to the postseason, and Nolan Ryan had almost nothing to do with the building of the baseball team.  Again, that’s a point a lot of people miss.” – Richard Justice, MLB.com

FACT!!!

“The Rangers have a management team that has been quite successful the past four years, but change has always been the one constant in this organization”. — T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com

FACT!!!

“Over more than 35 years in the business, I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed a pro sports official grow more in the job than Daniels has. . . . He’s a smart guy, as we already knew.  Smart enough to know that, despite the differences you’d expect between a Cornell man and one educated in clubhouses and bullpens, they mutually benefit one another.”  – Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

FACT!!!

“To put it simply: The reason the Texas Rangers gave Jon Daniels a new title the other day had more to do with assistant GM Thad Levine than it did with Nolan Ryan.” — Buster Olney, ESPN

FACT!!!  An entirely new article that I will address another day, but IS the driving force behind the moves that occurred in November.  YES, November…these moves occurred in November, not last Friday.

Will the day come when Nolan Ryan leaves this organization…Yes, possibly.  Could it happen as a retirement, rather than a new organization…More than likely.  He won’t be here forever, and that’s ok.  A quote from T.R. Sullivan up above nailed it perfectly, changes MUST occur to continue to be successful.  Ask Cowboy fans how not changing over the past ## years has worked out.

The best way I can wrap this up, is giving you the quote, straight from the horses’ mouth…well at least until Nolan Ryan comes out with a statement, which I hope happens sooner than later.

“…Saturday morning I wanted to address the elephant in the room.  So I went in and talked with Nolan and say, ‘Hey, I just want to address this.  I don’t want it to linger between the two of us.’  And we talked through it and Nolan indicated that he had no issue with myself or anything else.  I’ve got to take it at face value and move forward.”

“My job is to oversee baseball operations, and I report to Nolan.”

-Jon Daniels

Welcome to March baseball…scratch that, “early” March baseball.  When nothing happens, followed by a day of little happening, followed by a day of less happening.  By no means am I trying to downplay the importance of Spring Training.  It is vital, but not in the manner of following stats, debating how long a pitcher stayed in a game, or even making the slightest correlation between lineups each day.

Short answer: It all means slightly above nothing.  Long answer:  Going to help you out a little bit - STOP paying attention to stats, STOP breaking down lineups, STOP trying to find a story out of nothing.  It’s Spring Training.

Spring Training for veterans is all about getting back into the rhythm of the game, getting used to tying cleats and running bases every day, and allowing the body to re-remember last summer and early fall.

Spring Training for rookies, past-prime vets looking for a full-time gig, and late-stage prospects trying to make the club is all about maximizing your playing time.  Their stats should be looked at a little closer, but still “HOW” they look and “HOW” they play is more important.  Plus, these aren’t the players that will make or break the season.

Spring Training for prospects and minor leaguers is all about getting noticed.  These guys aren’t playing for this season, though is does happen (Robbie Ross last year’s Spring Training).  They are playing for future consideration.

Spring Training for coaches, instructors, and front office directors is all about seeing what cards they have.  Where their vets are at performance-wise, what role players can help the club win, and how their prospects are progressing or digressing.

Initially I wanted to only cover this “non-story wildfire” coming out about Nolan Ryan, Jon Daniels, and ownership, but decided to set this up by making the point that Spring Training results have ZERO correlation with the regular season.  Seriously, look up Spring Training records for any team over any period of time and relate them to regular season success…no relation.  Look up specific players Spring Training stats over a few years and relate them to regular season success...no relation.

And thus, read one story from a week ago, one million Twitter responses and relate that to a move that actually occurred in November, JD’s quotes, and the fact that it’s early March…like a police officer at an accident, “Nothing to see here, move along.”

“[T]here were indications here Friday that Nolan Ryan could possibly be out the Rangers’ door, and if he does leave, it won’t be because he was forced out but because ownership has eroded his position within the team.” — Randy Galloway, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Source says it’s ‘not looking great’ Rangers/Nolan Ryan will work out differences.  Says Nolan ‘deserves to have his dignity through this.’”  — Drew Davison, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Define indications?  Is that like walking under a ladder or crossing a black cat indicate a bad day?  “Source says,” this has and always will be my favorite out for any journalist, and I’m guilty of it too from time-to-time.  I’m telling you right now, that the Rangers are planning on playing 20 games in 2014 at Cowboys Stadium.  There you go, now everyone reading can say that at work and quote a source.  And since you have a source, it MUST be true.

“Nolan Ryan remains chief executive officer, but he shed president as part of his title.  An icon does not need an elaborate title.” — Gerry Fraley, Dallas Morning News

“Regardless, the notion that he’s [Nolan Ryan] bound to leave because he’s no longer in charge of what he was hired to do is a flawed one.  He changed that the day he engineered [Chuck] Greenberg’s exit and grabbed the CEO title.” — Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News

“The thing that would serve everybody best here is to realize that Ryan is a huge asset to the club and that every role evolves and changes over time.  If all the parties involved can do that, this bit of drama can help re-center the organization and position it for even greater things to come.” — Evan Grant, Dallas Morning News

By far the three best things I have read during this entire “nothing story” and I PLEAD everyone to remember these three things going forward.

I love Nolan Ryan; don’t ever get me wrong there.  But I have been saying for over two years that he isn’t as involved as people think he is.  BUT, that is a good thing.  The longer it is perceived that the Hall of Fame, Texas-sized icon is making decisions on the players here in Texas the better.  That sucks (sorry, there really is no better word) for Daniels and his staff, but that is a great perception to have.  Ryan sets the theme of the organization and HAS and CONTINUES TO BE important to the organization. BUT…

“Daniels built a great baseball organization.  He’d done a lot of the heavy lifting before Ryan arrived, and that’s the point a lot of people miss.  The Rangers were well on their way to the postseason, and Nolan Ryan had almost nothing to do with the building of the baseball team.  Again, that’s a point a lot of people miss.” – Richard Justice, MLB.com

FACT!!!

“The Rangers have a management team that has been quite successful the past four years, but change has always been the one constant in this organization”. — T.R. Sullivan, MLB.com

FACT!!!

“Over more than 35 years in the business, I don’t believe I’ve ever witnessed a pro sports official grow more in the job than Daniels has. . . . He’s a smart guy, as we already knew.  Smart enough to know that, despite the differences you’d expect between a Cornell man and one educated in clubhouses and bullpens, they mutually benefit one another.”  – Kevin Sherrington, Dallas Morning News

FACT!!!

“To put it simply: The reason the Texas Rangers gave Jon Daniels a new title the other day had more to do with assistant GM Thad Levine than it did with Nolan Ryan.” — Buster Olney, ESPN

FACT!!!  An entirely new article that I will address another day, but IS the driving force behind the moves that occurred in November.  YES, November…these moves occurred in November, not last Friday.

Will the day come when Nolan Ryan leaves this organization…Yes, possibly.  Could it happen as a retirement, rather than a new organization…More than likely.  He won’t be here forever, and that’s ok.  A quote from T.R. Sullivan up above nailed it perfectly, changes MUST occur to continue to be successful.  Ask Cowboy fans how not changing over the past ## years has worked out.

The best way I can wrap this up, is giving you the quote, straight from the horses’ mouth…well at least until Nolan Ryan comes out with a statement, which I hope happens sooner than later.

“…Saturday morning I wanted to address the elephant in the room.  So I went in and talked with Nolan and say, ‘Hey, I just want to address this.  I don’t want it to linger between the two of us.’  And we talked through it and Nolan indicated that he had no issue with myself or anything else.  I’ve got to take it at face value and move forward.”

“My job is to oversee baseball operations, and I report to Nolan.”

-Jon Daniels