I've never seen a game at the Dell Diamond, home of the Round Rock Express, but friends who have rank it among the finest experiences in minor-league ball -- the very definition of fan-friendly. (I'm curious, though -- what was "Pajama Collection Night" on July 11, exactly?) So, then, no surprise Nolan Ryan's summoned back to the bigs Jay Miller, who, for the last six years, has been president and chief operating officer of the Express -- a gig for which he was hand-picked by Nolan and son Reid, who initially hired Miller in '98 to veep and GM the Astros' Triple-A club.
Miller's return to Arlington -- where, from '83 till '95, he was in charge of the Rangers' ticket operations and customer relations as Director of Stadium Administration -- is no big surprise; the club just sent over the release, but the Austin paper called it last Thursday, as Major League Baseball was OK'ing the Greenberg-Ryan team takeover. Miller will be the senior veep "involved in a number of areas in the Rangers business operation, including ticket and sponsorship sales and fan experience," according to the team.
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And while this seems like a very behind-the-scenes, inside-baseball hire, consider: Miller's a baseball guy -- the kind of ballclub exec who says things like, "The biggest compliment you could give us is when you say we're baseball people. Because we are. I'm a firm believer that a baseball person, a guy that has a love for the game, should be running the club." And one Friend of Unfair Park who's worked for the Rangers for years says Miller's "one of those guys that has a great passion for baseball" and that his hire means "our customer service, ticket operations and fan experience just got 100% better." Now, if he could only do something about 193-degree temperatures at first pitch.