Playing in the Sandbox

It seems that not a week can go by without some sort of news or article surfacing on Nolan Ryan and his departure from the Rangers. Perhaps it's due to the fact that we're headed toward the tail end of Spring Training, we need something to sink our teeth into, and arguably the biggest organizational drama of the offseason is an easy target.

Whether that's the case or not, it will be interesting to see how often the narrative comes into play during the season. It's sure to be mentioned virtually each time the Rangers play the Astros, but other than that, I don't really have a feel for how that will all play out.

Having said that, earlier this week in an interview with ESPN's Jerry Crasnick, Nolan finally broke his silence on the dynamic between himself and Jon Daniels that many believe finally led to his departure from the Rangers.

I haven’t really commented on that. But when I came into that situation, I was dropped in J.D.’s sandbox. He had his organization and his group of people, and all of a sudden — boom! — Nolan Ryan was there. It was a dimension they didn’t anticipate. It probably wasn’t handled properly with my coming in.

Many people have perceived that as a slight to Daniels, but I'm not too sure what to make of it. However, Nolan's departure certainly left some both within and outside the organization divided on things. Of course, there was Jackie Moore lashing out with his belief that Daniels wanted "his guys" to be running the show. There was Ian Kinsler resorting to name-calling and offering up his belief that Nolan was forced out because Daniels is a sleazeball.

Then yesterday happened, and in my mind, opened up a whole new side to the story that I'd not really considered until now. According to reports, former Rangers CEO Chuck Greenberg is making a bid to purchase the Frisco RoughRiders, which is of course the AA affiliate of the Rangers.

Greenberg was a central figure in purchasing the Rangers from former owner Tom Hicks, and was also considered to be very publicly accessible. The latter was reportedly what rubbed Nolan Ryan the wrong way and eventually led to Greenberg vacating his post within the Rangers front office, leaving Nolan free to assume those duties.

At the time, the rift between Ryan and Greenberg was highly speculated within the media, and various incidents were cited. One was the way in which Greenberg involved himself in the Cliff Lee negotiations. Another was the criticism he drew from Randy Levine of the New York Yankees due to comments made that referenced the Rangers keeping Cliff Lee from the Yankees.

Then, there was one other aspect reported, that I had completely forgotten about, and reading it now, seems to hold a lot more weight. It was reported by Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram, a report in which Wilson talked about the final straw that led to Greenberg's departure.

More recently, Greenberg and team president Nolan Ryan were pitted against each other as an extension for general manager Jon Daniels was being pounded out. Greenberg had sold the suite at Rangers Ballpark that Daniels had used to host families of front-office personnel as well as conduct meetings. The suite was to be part of the Daniels extension, and it was sold despite objections from Ryan.

If you just read that and a light bulb went off in your head, then you had the same reaction that I did. For all of the things Greenberg did that drove Nolan Ryan crazy, it was Greenberg's dealings with Jon Daniels that ended up drawing the ire of Nolan the most.

In the end, while Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan apparently didn't get along, one of the first signs of trouble between Nolan and Jon Daniels was sparked by something Chuck Greenberg did.

No matter where you stand on the issue of Nolan Ryan, it becomes more apparent by the day that, no matter who was "at fault" (if anyone), Nolan realize that he was unable to effectively work with those in the organization any longer. He was unable to get along with those he needed to work with most closely. And with that, he realized it was time to step out before it began to negatively trickle down to the clubhouse level.