ARLINGTON, Texas — Robin Ventura hasn't spoken to Nolan Ryan since charging the mound against the Hall of Fame pitcher 19 seasons ago.
When Ventura makes his managerial debut for the White Sox today at Texas, Ryan will be sitting in the front row.
Six months after being hired to his first managing job, Ventura's first test comes against the two-time defending AL champion Rangers for which Ryan is now president, CEO and part owner.
"It's more of what the teams were going through at that time," Ventura said Thursday when asked what he was thinking that August night at old Arlington Stadium in 1993. "It wasn't a me-against-him thing."
Ryan, the strikeout king in the final season of his 27-year playing career, got Ventura, then 26, in a headlock and landed several blows. Video of the brawl is still wildly popular at Rangers Ballpark, getting cheers every time. The Rangers have no plans to show it while the White Sox are in town. They still get to boo Ventura when he's introduced.
"I've seen it, so it's not like I haven't seen it. They can play it if they want. It's not going to change any decision I make or anything else I do," Ventura said.
Ryan has said he plans to speak with Ventura sometime today. He said the two have never spoken because their paths have not crossed through the years. "It happened so long ago, and there's no animosity on anyone's part," Ryan said.
More Rangers: The team unveiled a statue of the fan who died last year after falling over an outfield railing. It shows firefighter Shannon Stone, 39, and his son Cooper. Stone had taken his 6-year-old to the game with hopes of catching a ball. Cooper and Ryan said it depicted the happy times families have at games.
Renovate Wrigley? Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said renovating 98-year-old Wrigley Field would be "real win" for Chicago, providing jobs and development. He wouldn't say how close the team and the city are to an agreement, but he expects one at some point.
Tough turnaround: After losing the opener in their new ballpark in 79-degree weather Wednesday in Miami, the Marlins took a postgame flight and arrived in Cincinnati at 3 a.m. Thursday. Then they took the field at 4 p.m. with brisk winds and 60-degree weather and lost 4-0. With three hits Thursday, the Marlins have seven hits and one run total. Not at all what they expected. "I wish we could have stayed home," manager Ozzie Guillen said. "But they made that special schedule for us to play there."
Dodgers: Reigning NL Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw left the opener against San Diego after three innings because of the flu.
Mets: The team held a moment of silence for Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who died in February at 57 from a brain tumor. A video montage of his career was played and the team unveiled an emblem on the wall in left-center with the wording KID 8. Players and coaches will sport patches on their sleeves this season. "It's an honor to wear his number today," manager Terry Collins said.