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| Sports |

Holy Contract Extensions! Or, Tom Hicks' New Dynamic Duo.

Nolan Ryan, left, and Jon Daniels, at right, are now signed through the 2011 season.
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SURPRISE, Arizona -- Just moments ago, Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks announced the finalizing of contracts for new president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels. The deals -- a four-year contract for Ryan and a two-year extension for Daniels -- are orchestrated to run concurrently, keeping the team’s braintrust in tact through 2011.

“It’s four years for Nolan, same as the President of the United States,” Hicks said. “If that guy does a good job he’s got a good chance of getting re-elected. I expect Nolan to have that same chance.”

While Ryan arrived here last night and is still getting familiar with the organization’s players, Daniels -- despite overseeing a losing outfit and obvious effups like trading away Chris Young -- is rewarded with a second extension in the last 10 months. Though the Rangers haven’t finished better than third in the four-team American League West since 1999, Hicks is obviously encouraged by the re-stocking of the farm system and a commitment to building from within.

“It’s a re-affirmation, from top to bottom, that we’re all on the same page and headed in the right direction,” said Daniels. “We have a clear vision, a clear identity.”

Nolan, who looks so out of place at a baseball park in khaki slacks and a golf shirt, spent Wednesday learning how to be president from The President. So what did George W. and Nolan chat about over their White House lunch?

“Like the rest of us Rangers fans, he was a little disappointed in his team,” said Ryan. “And he asked my why in the world I would take this job.”

Touché. --Richie Whitt

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