Team president Nolan Ryan predicted a World Series victory for the Texas Rangers during a rally held this afternoon at the home plate gate outside Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. After general manager Jon Daniels issued brief comments to the few hundred fans gathered for the "Rangers Red Rally," which celebrated the organization's first playoff appearance since 1999, he passed the microphone to Ryan and urged him to predict what lies ahead for the Rangers in October.
"I'll take the World Series in seven," Ryan said while blushing and grinning.
"That's what he said in '69! That's what he said in '69!" screamed Rangers' ballpark voice and event emcee Chuck Morgan. "No-lan! No-lan! No-lan!"
Of course, Morgan was referencing the improbable 1969 World Series win by the New York Mets over the Baltimore Orioles. However, the Mets, which had 22-year-old Nolan Ryan on its roster, beat the Orioles in five games, not seven.
Before putting Ryan on the spot, Daniels claimed that Ryan predicted 87 wins for the team after a meeting before the 2009 season, and the team finished the season with exactly 87 wins. Ryan's guess of 92 victories this year was much more public, and Daniels noted that the club can hit that on the nose with three victories this weekend to close out the season. (A feat that seems much more possible with Josh Hamilton returning tonight from his rib injury.)
Prior to the speakers taking the stage at noon, a DJ blasted tunes for a half hour, at one point playing Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" in honor of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, which seemed odd since they bit the dust a long time ago. In fact, both the Angels and Oakland A's can't even finish the season above .500 anymore, meaning the Rangers could have won the division with a mediocre 82-80 record.
The scene featured two performers -- one wearing a Uncle Sam costume and another wearing a cowboy costume -- walking around on stilts, and concessions were available inside the stadium at full price. A stand was also set up outside with clothing and memorabilia for those looking to get their hands on playoff T-shirts and whatnot.
Morgan jazzed up the crowd before introducing the speakers.
"Everybody show us your antlers!" he yelled into the mic. "Now let's see your claws!"
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Speakers included Arlington Mayor Dr. Robert Cluck, Ryan, Daniels, CEO Chuck Greenberg, manager Ron Washington and first baseman Mitch Moreland. Assistant general manager Thad Levine and reliever Darren Oliver were also on stage.
Cluck said it's the "perfect time" to be mayor and he's "speechless" about what the team has accomplished thus far. Daniels said the fans have delivered "big time" this year, and Washington said he's not one to predict, but he bought into Ryan's 92-win prediction in spring training.
"Maybe there's quite a few people out there [that] thought we was just blowin' smoke, but there's one thing about those guys in that clubhouse that maybe you guys on the outside don't know," he said. "They're a true family, and they stuck together."
Tickets to the American League Championship Series go on sale tomorrow at 9 a.m.