Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Nolan Ryan is an icon, especially in Texas. Nowadays, it seems like some people know him as the “Beef” guy or the “Olshan Home Repair Guy” rather than the All-Star, Hall of Fame pitcher he really is. After a career littered with no-hitters and strikeouts, Ryan joined the Rangers in 2008 to serve as the President of Baseball Operations. During his tenure, Texas enjoyed the most success in franchise history.
Unfortunately, a rift in management cut his career in Arlington short. Jon Daniels is known for being a bit power hungry, and there became an obvious division. You were either a “Nolan” guy or a “JD guy.” As we all know now, the “JD” guys won, and before the 2013 season, Ryan stepped down and went to join his son in Houston as an executive advisor. And ever since he has left, baseball time in Arlington has never felt quite the same.
Last season, it was Prince Fielder. And Derek Holland. And Shin-Soo Choo. And Mitch Moreland. And Jurickson Profar. And Geovany Soto. And Neftali Feliz. All of those players and many more were injured at some point last year and many were ultimately forced to miss the entire 2013-2014 campaign. In fact, the Rangers used the Disabled List more than any other team in baseball last year. The results on the field showed. The team was awful, using convoluted lineups night in and night out. What used to be a club coming off three consecutive 90 win seasons turned into a team that finished dead last in the American League West.
Things even got so bad last year that they hit the manager’s office. Ron Washington, the skipper that took the Rangers to back-to-back World Series, resigned in the middle of the season for an undisclosed reason. Later, we would learn he was “unfaithful” to his wife, but still, why would THAT cause someone to resign? Was he too getting fed up with the Rangers front office?
However, with everything in life, a new year brings a new beginning. Or so the Rangers thought. Prospects and star players were coming off injuries and everyone looked to be healthy for the start of this season. Until they weren’t.
First, Jurickson Profar reinjured the labrum in his right shoulder; a major setback that might cost what used to be the number one prospect in baseball his career. Then, the hammer. The news no one in the DFW area was ready for. Yu Darvish would be forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and would miss 16 months of action.
The doom and gloom that many sought to avoid from last year was slowly creeping its way back into the clubhouse, and there could only be one explanation—The Curse of Nolan Ryan.
Next: Nolan Ryan the New Bambino?