Last Saturday, August 24, 2013, 42 SABR members and friends of the Larry Dierker Chapter had the opportunity to visit with Houston Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan at Minute Maid Park and then enjoy an Astros victory as the home team defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 8-5.
Mr. Ryan is a thoroughly entertaining individual with impeccable credentials when it comes to running baseball clubs. His success as owner and CEO of the Round Rock Express and Corpus Christi Hooks is well known and he brings this expertise to the Astros, a team badly in need of positive leadership to win ballgames and enhance the fan experience.
Ryan told us of his baseball background starting at age 3 when he came to the Astrodome with his dad — Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan — to the day he was released as a player by the Texas Rangers at age 26. He had always had a lifetime goal to own a baseball team and so he set out to do just that. With the help and encouragement of friends, he was able not only to own one team but two, both of which have became extremely successful by winning consistantly and attracting record numbers of fans with promotions and fun activity like the “Owner’s Experience”.
Ryan’s challenge with the Astros is difficult. He patiently answered any and all questions from the audience, especially addressing the complexity of expanding the television and radio contracts. When asked about the teams chain of command, Reid said that he is responsible for the business side, Jeff Luhnow is responsible for player developement and Bo Porter handles game activity but he and Jeff speak daily. All of them work for owner Jim Crane. As they get ready to set the 40-man roster following the season, he stressed it is imperative that they decide who on the current roster should be protected. As he said they need to determine if “Carter, Wallace and Barnes can play at this level.”
For the record, our meeting with Ryan took place before the Forbes article was published.
The trivia contest written by Tom White was won by Herb Whalley.
We will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday, September 9 at the Inn at the Ballpark in downtown Houston. Both Joe Thompson and Chris Chestnut have prepared presentations. We will also discuss SABR 44 including what we, as host chapter, will be responsible for. See you then.
— Bob Dorrill