ARLINGTON, Texas - The Mets haven't requested permission to speak with Rangers general manager Jon Daniels about their front-office opening, but even if they do, Nolan Ryan doesn't seem the least bit worried about losing him to the team Daniels grew up rooting for.
"I really would be shocked if he didn't stay with us," Ryan said Friday.
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Ryan, the Rangers' president since 2008, credited Daniels with turning around the Rangers in five years and building a championship contender, calling him "one of the key people in this organization."
The Hall of Famer also acknowledged that Daniels has an out in his contract after the season and likely will have options to explore elsewhere if he wants them, but Ryan made it clear he doesn't expect the Queens native to go anywhere. "Obviously, we want to retain him," Ryan said. "There's been speculation about him getting other opportunities, but I think we feel pretty comfortable that this is his organization and these are his people, and that it's an exciting time to be associated with the Texas Rangers."
Ryan certainly knows that feeling. And anyone who saw the highlights of him celebrating in his seat after the Rangers earned the franchise's first postseason series victory Tuesday certainly can attest to just how much he seems to be enjoying his role atop this organization.
In that role, Ryan is anything but a spectator, at least until game time. As team president, he oversees the entire organization and has taken an active role in everything from player development to the decision to stand by manager Ron Washington amid his positive cocaine test a year ago. He also became a part-owner of the club during the summer.
"He's an icon," Washington said. "He's put a lot of presence on our pitching staff as far as the mind-set of going out there and keeping the ball as long as you can, not going out there with looking over your shoulder, looking for help. Take care of business yourself."
Added Josh Hamilton, who hit a three-run homer off CC Sabathia in the first inning Friday night, "Obviously, you know him as a player and a huge competitor, somebody who expected to win. As team president, he's come in and carried that over. He knows what type of players it's going to take to win.''
A member of the 1969 Mets, Ryan may have raised a few eyebrows during his news conference by saying he sees a lot of similarities between that club and this Rangers team. Ryan said the Rangers, like those Mets, are a team of mostly young, inexperienced players who have gained confidence this season.
"Every time you think that the backs were against the wall and it looked like the wheels were going to come off of it, they did it themselves," Ryan said. "They found it within themselves to come back and turn things around, and I'm really proud of that, and the maturity that I've seen develop in this ballclub."