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Ryan proud of Rangers' achievement

Ryan proud of Rangers' achievement

OAKLAND -- Rangers chief executive officer Chuck Greenberg was at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, sitting in the front row with general manager Jon Daniels.

Club president Nolan Ryan was back at his home in Georgetown, Texas, watching on television with his wife, children, grandchildren and others. He had made three flight reservations in the past week, expecting to fly to the West Coast for the moment, but he finally decided to stay home and watch on television.

But the feeling was still the same when the Rangers finally wrapped up the American League West title with a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday afternoon.

"I'm very proud of the team," Ryan said. "They put a lot of work in and it was a total team effort, starting in the offseason and Spring Training and right on through to now. They deserve it. I'm proud of the whole organization.

"It's been 11 years, and we had hoped to get back to winning baseball and we have. Now, we hope we can keep the level of standards on winning and grow from there."

Ryan, finishing his third season as club president, had predicted this from the beginning. He was the one who said back in Spring Training that the Rangers would win 92 games. He was the one who said that would be good enough to win the division title. The Rangers are 86-68 with eight games to go, but the number of wins no longer matters.

The Rangers did fulfill their season-long theme of "It's Time" by winning their first division title since 1999.

"I don't think you ever anticipate how it might play out," Ryan said. "I thought before the season started that it would go to the last week. I really didn't think we would clinch and be this many games in front of second place.

"I'm proud of how the guys stuck together and kept playing hard during the offensive struggles. They are a team, and they kept battling."

The Rangers now await the winner of the AL East. They will open on the road against either the New York Yankees or the Tampa Bay Rays. Ryan will be there in person.

But on Saturday afternoon, the Rangers' new ownership group was represented by Greenberg and one of his big investors, Dallas businessman Ray Davis.

"It's just great," Greenberg said with a big cigar in hand in the Rangers' clubhouse. "I'm happy for the guys. They stayed focused when they could have been easily distracted. That says something about [manager Ron Washington] and the coaching staff. I'm happy for them and happy for our fans, who have waited a long time for this.

"This is just the start of great things for the future."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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