SAN FRANCISCO – Bruce Jenkins, the excellent San Francisco Chronicle sports columnist, has a column that is mostly World Series notes, tidbits and oddities, but he begins with a thought about what would have happened had the Oakland A’s promoted Ron Washington as their manager. In short, Jenkins says it would have never happened, because Washington is too independent and too much of a manager to satisfy the requirements of A’s GM Billy Beane. Quite frankly, it’s one of the best descriptions I’ve ever seen of who Ron Washington is.
From the column:
I wonder, too, if Beane ever considered hiring such an engaging, soulful manager. Someone with a pulse, someone who speaks from the heart, someone who manages aggressively and is a little bit unpredictable. Someone who unabashedly lights up a cigarette, at the proper time, because that’s just how he operates.
Nobody wonders too long about that, because the answer is an emphatic NO. Beane has his ideal manager in Bob Geren, a solid baseball man whose substance and fiber have yet to be revealed. The two have a friendship that allows Beane, in essence, to manage the team. And how can you argue with second place in the AL West? That was the absolute ceiling for this year’s A’s team. People aren’t crying out for change, unless they’ve become bored to the point of insanity.
It’s just such a great thing that Washington left Oakland and joined a team he could really manage. There’s no pervasive offensive philosophy on the Rangers, no strict directive to go up there and watch a million pitches pass by. Some of the Rangers hit that way, others (like Vladimir Guerrero) go up there hacking. As Mariano Rivera said, after his Yankees were eliminated in the ALCS, “When you see a team that never gives up, that’s always attacking, attacking, attacking – pitching-wise and hitting-wise – you just have to give it to them.”
There’s a sense of freedom to Ron Washington, within his persona and in the way he treats his players. He’s a man with the courage to admit his weaknesses, and with the strength to rebuild his New Orleans home, from scratch, after it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. He’s a bit like Dusty Baker, with that seen-it-all perspective, and even a bit like Bruce Bochy, for both of these World Series managers thrive on instinct, with a raging pulse underneath the calm exterior. Players charge into battle for men like that.
Ron Washington: OK with viral use of “That’s the way baseball go”
SAN FRANCISCO – Rangers manager Ron Washington has a bunch of go-to phrases, but the one that seems to have taken the Dallas-Fort Worth area by storm is “That’s the way baseball go.” It’s something he’s uttered a few times after seemingly surprising things have happened on the field. And it’s become something of a de facto rallying cry for Rangers fans – it even made it onto the editorial pages of the Dallas Morning News. It’s not exactly proper usage of the language, so I had to know if Washington felt he was being mocked.
The saying has spawned T-shirts – Josh Hamilton was spotted wearing one the other day – and other novelties. Washington’s feeling: It’s all about the message, not the delivery.
“Hey, the other night, my wife said it to me and I just kind of looked at her like ‘What are you talking about,?” Washington said. “I’ve got no problem with it. Even though it’s not the proper pronunciation or enunciation, I think it means people are getting the message and that’s what is important. At least they aren’t criticizing me this time for it.
“It means that the game never changes. There are certain things in baseball that will always happen and if you’ve seen it one time, you will see it again. Always remember that.”