Does this Nolan Ryan fan know who's sitting next to him?

A fan wearing a Nolan Ryan jersey sits next to Nolan Ryan himself at Astros camp. (@brianmctaggart)
A fan wearing a Nolan Ryan jersey sits next to Nolan Ryan himself at Astros camp. (@brianmctaggart)

Everyone dreams of meeting their all-time favorite baseball player. How often though do we get a chance to sit less than five feet away from them without security or a hoard of autograph seekers getting in between?

During a minor league game at the Houston Astros spring training facility on Wednesday morning, one lucky fan had that opportunity. As seen in the photo above, a man sporting a Nolan Ryan jersey was seated directly next to the Hall of Fame pitcher and current adviser to Astros’ ownership while watching the game.

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However, many people seemed to think the fan was completely oblivious to his good fortune based on the lack of interaction.

So what’s the real story here?

Was the fan truly oblivious, or was he just courteous and respectful of Ryan’s attempt to do his job?

According to Reid Ryan, the Astros’ president of business operations and Nolan’s son, it was the latter. In fact, as’s Cut 4 notes, the entire Ryan family knows the man quite well now after meeting him at a recent college baseball event. It’s also noted that the man’s last name happens to be Ryan too.

So that clears that up. That there was no noticeable conversation did seem a little strange at first, but apparently the aura surrounding our heroes does wear off some after getting to spend time with them. That being said, the man probably knows the family well enough to know when to leave them alone too.

When there’s a game going on is definitely one of those times.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!