Last postseason, the Rangers won the first AL pennant in club history but lost in five games to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. The franchise was founded as the expansion Washington Senators in 1961 and moved to Texas 10 years later.
It's tough to be a fan this time of year, Ryan said.
"I compare it to the Texas Giant, the roller coaster at Six Flags," Ryan said about the amusement park that is near Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. "My emotion level goes from top to bottom real quick at times. I'm thinking about going over there and riding it this winter so I can have that feeling."
Last year's team had Cliff Lee on the mound and Vladimir Guerrero as designated hitter. This year, the Rangers have third baseman Adrian Beltre. The Hall of Fame pitcher and all-time strikeouts leader with 5,714 believes this season's squad is better.
"It's a more balanced ballclub," Ryan said. "I feel better about our ballclub at this time this year than I did last year. We've added veteran presence in our bullpen, and we're defensively a better club. Plus, we have more strength throughout our lineup than we've ever had."
To be sure, there are still significant challenges, Ryan acknowledged. This past offseason, Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels tried to re-sign Lee when he declared free agency. That didn't happen; Lee signed with the Phillies. This offseason, Texas will be in the same position when C.J. Wilson, its top starter, becomes a free agent.
The idea for Ryan is to keep the Rangers competitive for the long haul by building from within the organization. They'll try to keep Wilson, but up to a point.
"That's our philosophy, to build within our system," Ryan said. "If there's a specific need, if there's somebody out there we think fits, then we'll certainly consider trying to do that."
About Wilson, in particular, Ryan added: "Right now, we're not even thinking about those things. We're totally focused on trying to get to the World Series and win the World Series. There are going to be clubs out there with a lot of resources that are always going to be looking for pitching. When you have someone of C.J.'s caliber going on the market, you know there are going to be challenges there."