Exactly three months after announcing his resignation as chief executive of the Texas Rangers, and selling his ownership stake in the team, the Hall of Fame pitcher was back at Rangers Ballpark on Friday night.
"I've been pretty good at this retired deal. I go to the office in Round Rock and go to the ranch a lot, have spent a lot of time with the grandkids," Ryan said. "It's really been good, because I've been able to set my own schedule and don't have nearly as many requirements and requests. ... It's been a nice break for me."
Two weeks shy of his 67th birthday, Ryan returned to the stadium as the featured speaker for the University of Texas-Arlington's preseason baseball banquet.
Ryan, baseball's strikeout king, pitched the last five of his record 27 major league seasons with the Rangers. He spent nearly six years in the team's front office, a time when Texas made its only two World Series appearances.
"It was different driving up here today ... because that six years I was here, I was very committed to it," said Ryan, who arrived early and visited some of the team executives. "It was really nice to see them, get caught up on how they're doing."
Ryan's oldest son, Reid, became president of the Houston Astros last year. Nolan Ryan has repeatedly dismissed any speculation that he left the Rangers to join his son.
"Well, I think everybody is making that assumption because of Reid being over there, and the fact that I played there longer than I did anywhere else," Ryan said. "I basically was a Colt .45 and Astros fan, and that's my hometown in a sense. I could see where that's the expectation."
Ryan said he would be open if somebody had an interest in him, but isn't looking for a job right now. After going basically non-stop for decades, he seems to be enjoying his new pace.
"It's kind of nice because I'm not in a hurry doing things, and that's different than what I've been accustomed to," he said. "And I'm enjoying the fact that I can set my schedule and go to the ranch and I can stay three days or I can stay a week because I don't have to be somewhere else."