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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Nolan Ryan
Hall of Fame Pitcher
April 5, 2004

Go to the Presidents and Baseball page
Taylor, from Houston writes:
In your opinion, what is the state of baseball?

Nolan Ryan
Well, baseball is going through a period of uncertainty with the recent steroids concerns that have been brought public in the last six months and also the status of the Montreal franchise -- whether it is going to be moved or not.

But I think as far as the competitiveness of the game goes, with the Marlins winning it last year, I think the competitiveness is probably more balanced now than it has been for awhile, so I feel good overall about the state of baseball.

Gary, from Oakland writes:
What was your favorite moment in the game?

Nolan Ryan
Well, I would think it would probably have to be my seventh no-hitter because it came so late in my career.

I really thought when I went to the Rangers that I was only going to play for one year and I ended up staying five. It enabled me to have the opportunity to pitch my seventh no-hitter.

Doug, from Boston writes:
Are there baseball players you like to watch today? Who are they?

Nolan Ryan
Very much so. Of the pitchers, I naturally have a tendency to gravitate toward the fire-type pitcher -- Randy Johnson, Roger Clemens, Mark Prior, Kerry Wood.

I follow Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Josh Beckett because of their Texas connection or the fact that I was familiar with Mark when he was at USC. Those are the type of pitchers I enjoy following.

The players that I like are the guys who play the game really hard every day and whether they are 0 for 4 or 3 for 4, they come to win the ball game and give all they have. A good example of this is Jeff Bagwell or Craig Biggio.

Darren, from Stonington writes:
What teams are best positioned to go all the way this year?

Nolan Ryan
Well, I think you have to like the Yankees just because of the caliber of players they put together on that ball club.

With Joe Torre's leadership, I really feel like he is as good of manager, if not the premier manager in baseball right now.

You have to like Houston's chances and the Cubs' chances because of the depth of their pitching staffs. It will come down to whether they stay healthy or not. I think Boston is a power to reckon with.

I think there will be some good races this sure. I don't think there is a club which will runaway with it. Even though the Yankees when you look at them -- because of their talent all the way through, they will be tough.

But I think Baltimore has improved and I think Boston is going to be tough. So hopefully there will be some races.

Peter, from Northglenn writes:
Nolan, do you think you could have pitched successfully in Denver? Will the Rockies ever have a chance?

Nolan Ryan
Well, I think pitching in Denver is a challenge. And I think the type of pitcher you are whatever you may be. I've been a fly ball pitcher , I would probably be hurt somewhat pitching there.

But it balances out. Because the opposing pitcher has to pitch there too. So I don't think there is a disadvantage to the Rockies.

So I think what you have to do is to have the attitude that whatever you have that particular night you have to find a way to win.

Bob, from Scottsdale writes:
Do you foresee athletes playing later and later into their lives? You played until you were 46. Do you think we might see people in their early 50s playing at some point?

Nolan Ryan
I would say with the evolution of sports medicine, conditioning and nutrition that we have access to now, I don't think there is a reason that we wouldn't see an athlete come along and do that.

Do I think that there will be a large number of athletes doing that? No, I don't think so.

Rhonda, from Tennessee writes:
If you were the sole judge on who should go to the Hall of Fame, who has been overlooked that you would induct?

Nolan Ryan
I would really have to give some thought to that. There have been some people who have been close to getting inducted that haven't gotten voted in and haven't come up for what used to be the veteran's committee which is now voted on by the living inductees themselves. There would be a couple of players I think certainly would deserve consideration but before I name them I would have to give it consideration.

Lane, from socal writes:
Who is the most promising pitcher out there?

Nolan Ryan
Josh Beckett for his age is as advanced as any young pitcher there is. I think Mark Prior would have to be on top of that list as would Kerry Wood.

Tomas, from Queens writes:
Do you think anyone else will be able to throw seven no-hitters and how emotionally draining is it?

Nolan Ryan
With a no-hitter it is always possible that someone on a given night will have that kind of stuff. To pitch seven or to break that record, it is going to have to be somebody who has got that kind of stuff and can deal with the pressures in the late innings. But I think it is definitely possible.

Andy, from Providence writes:
Who should get the Expos?

Nolan Ryan
That's a good question and it comes down to economics and what is the best area to introduce major league baseball. I'm not real familiar with which demographics indicate who would be best suited for them.

Joe, from West Texas writes:
What was your favorite season and why?

Nolan Ryan
I think probably the 86 season with the Astros because we won our division and had the battle with the Mets.

Or on a personal basis it would have been the 73 season with the California Angels.

Ann, from St Louis writes:
If you could change one rule in baseball what would it be?

Nolan Ryan
I would like to do away with the DH myself and not have it in either league. It would be more standardized. I was certainly in favor of them combining the umpires. And they use the same ball now in both leagues. And I would like to see them do away with the DH.

Tory, from Va writes:
What do you think of Steve Bartman

Nolan Ryan
In my opinion, he didn't do anything different than any other fan in that situation would have done. That was a reaction to a ball that was hit into the stands.

If he would have leaned out over the playing field and tried to obstruct play or catch a ball that could be played, I would think differently. But I don't think he did anything that anyone else in that situation wouldn't have done.

Stan, from Kc writes:
who did you most admire playing with in baseball and who got a bad and undeserved rap?

Nolan Ryan
I think George Brett was certainly a guy you admired because of the way he played the game every day and the dedication to his profession.

As far as a teammate goes, Tom Seaver probably was as dedicated as anyone I ever played with.

As for the second part of your question, no one comes off the top of my head. I'd have to give it more thought.

Lance, from Milwaukee writes:
What do you think of the criticism that baseball is too slow and needs to be sped up?

Nolan Ryan
I am a believer that the game should be played in 2 1/2 or 3 hours max. There are delays in there that could be speeded up that would from a fan's standpoint more advantageous.

So I would say that I would like to see it sped up some.

Joel, from NYC writes:
Is it good for the game to allow teams like the Yankees to be able to outspend their opponents so drastically or should baseball adopt a system more like football?

Nolan Ryan
Well, I think there is such an unbalance in the market with the tv and the radio revenue. There should be some consideration because you don't want markets that are not competitive.

So I think when you see the Marlins come up and get in the playoffs I think it does a lot for baseball because it does show that small market teams can compete.

You want to see some balance from an economic standpoint where a club can't go out and buy a shot at the world series every year.

Cari, from North Carolina writes:
Who would you rather face as a batter -- President Bush or Vice President Cheney?

Nolan Ryan

Well, I would like to hit off of President Bush because he was my ex-employer. That would be fun.

Thanks for all the questions today everyone. This was fun.

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