MLB owners approve Davis as control person
Co-chairman replaces former CEO Ryan in representing Rangers at Owners Meetings
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Major League owners approved Rangers co-chairman Ray Davis as the organization's control person on Thursday morning as the final quarterly Owners Meetings of the year ended.
"It was done, I think, in record time. It may have taken a minute and a half, maybe two," Commissioner Bud Selig said during his post-meeting media conference.
Davis replaces Nolan Ryan, who stepped down as Rangers chief executive at the end of October. The control person represents the Rangers at all Owners Meetings and casts the organization's vote on all issues.
"The only thing I want to say is that I want to thank the Commissioner and the rest of the owners for having confidence in me," said Davis, who was at the meetings with Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels and Neil Leibman, who is the chairman of the Rangers' ownership committee. "Also, I want to thank Nolan for being our control person for the last three years. We're excited to move forward with Jon and his baseball team and Rob Matwick on the business side. We have a lot of work to do between now and Opening Day, but we're going to work hard at it and we're excited."
Davis and co-chairman Bob Simpson are the team's majority owners. The group bought the Rangers at auction conducted by a bankruptcy court judge from Tom Hicks in August 2010 and, including Hicks, Chuck Greenberg and Ryan, is the fourth Rangers control person since then.
"I hope this [stabilizes things] a little bit for a long time," Davis said.
Davis follows Ryan, a Hall of Fame right-hander with an all-time record 5,614 strikeouts and seven no hitters, plus 324 wins in his 27-year career on the field. Ryan joined the Rangers as team president in 2008 and was a major component of the current ownership group after Hicks put the Rangers and Dallas Stars National Hockey League team into bankruptcy. So he's a tough act to follow.
"Listen, I love Nolan, and Nolan has been great for baseball," Selig said. "I have enormous respect for him. Look, Nolan resigned, and Ray Davis has taken over. He's certainly in position where he should take over. I don't have any problems with that at all. None."
Under Ryan and Daniels, the Rangers had uncommon success after a long drought. They lost to the Giants and Cardinals, respectively, in the 2010 and 2011 World Series and have come up short the last two seasons, losing the American League Wild Card Game to the Orioles in 2012 and a Wild Card tiebreaker to the Rays this past postseason.
Daniels reported to Ryan under the old structure and now will report directly to Simpson and Davis, who said he anticipated no real changes except for one element.
"Hopefully, we'll win the World Series," Davis said.
The Rangers also have an 11-person board of directors and three on the executive committee that meets four times a year. Davis said Daniels will have full autonomy to run baseball operations because "he's the expert" unless a deal has a major financial impact on the franchise.
"It shouldn't change much," said Daniels, who recently added president to his title. "It's the same kind of decision-making process. Obviously, major decisions we'll make as an organization. The goal is to communicate and get buy-in early on. It doesn't work from a pace of business standpoint to make deals and then get approval of ownership. Agents or other teams need to know that you have authority to make [deals] or it's just a hurdle that doesn't make sense for anybody to work with."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.