Receiving its world premiere during this year’s SXSW Film Festival, Austin-One of the best pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball, and undeniably one of Texas’ favorite sons, Nolan Ryan’s life and career is favorably recalled in the new documentary Facing Nolan. Directed by Bradley Jackson, and executive produced by Ryan and his son Reid Ryan among others, Facing Nolan focuses on the Hall of Fame pitcher’s upbringing in Alvin, Texas, his initial struggles with the New York Mets despite their 1969 World Series win, and his two decades of dominance with the California Angels, the Houston Astros, and the Texas Rangers. Ryan discusses at length a career that spanned 27 seasons and resulted in seven no-hitters, the single-season strikeout record, and a memorable brawl in 1993 at age 46 with 26-year-old Robin Ventura of the Chicago White Sox. Facing Nolan also shines a spotlight on the importance of Ryan’s equally competitive wife Ruth Ryan to pushing the pitcher to be the best version of himself on and off the mound. The documentary also features interviews with many Ryan’s teammates, rivals, and peers, including Craig Biggio, George Brett, Rod Carew, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Cal Ripken, Pete Rose, Iván “Pudge” Rodríguez, and Dave Winfield. Facing Nolan will screen during this year’s SXSW Film Festival at 2:45 p.m. March 12 at ZACH Theatre, 5:15 p.m. March 13 at the Alamo South Lamar, and 6 p.m. March 16 at the AFS Cinema. Facing Nolan will also be available for SXSW Film Festival registrants to stream online for a 48-hour viewing period beginning at 9 a.m. March 13. I spoke last week with Facing Nolan executive producer Reid Ryan, the son of documentary subject Nolan Ryan. Reid Ryan pitched at the collegiate level for the University of Texas and Texas Christian University before He pitched two seasons in the Texas Rangers organization. He is part of the Round Rock Express ownership group Ryan Sanders Sports & Entertainment CEO with his father Nolan Ryan and Don Sanders, currently serving as the group’s CEO. During Ryan’s 2013-2019 tenure as President of Business Operations for the Houston Astros, the team went twice to the World Series, winning for the first time in franchise history in 2017.
Aired: March 10, 2022.