That’s because the man’s track record is so successful that he’s more than earned the right, respect, and reverence to coach however he wants, use whatever methods he wants, and push whatever buttons he wants to get the job done.
With that said, I’ve never lived in Chicago or Los Angeles, never been exposed to the ins-and-outs, the monotonous routine of the folks who cover him or his teams for years. From a distance, homage has always been paid to Phil, and that’s how it should be.
"But if we don't win, if we don't play to our capabilities," Washington says with a big smile, "my ass is getting fired, anyway." – Ron Washington to Howard Bryant; April 23, 2010, via ESPN.com.
Don’t get it twisted. Ron Washington has not won a World Series as a manager. However, what he was done as the manager of the Texas Rangers is remarkable. Plus, living here has allowed me to be exposed to the ins-and-outs, as well as the monotonous routine of the folks who cover him and his Texas Rangers team.
Whether it’s in print, the radio, or online, I’ve seen plenty when it comes to how Ron goes about his business with the team. Folks stay questioning the man, his methods, and his madness. Through it all, there’s something that folks in this city know and it’s something that Wash continues to reinforce. If there’s one thing that we in the Metroplex have known for years, and if there’s something that anyone else invested in the game knows by now, it’s that Ron Washington knows baseball.
The man makes the necessary adjustments, but it’s also a man who will stick by his players, regardless of how much fans, critics, media, and everyone else in-between says the man has lost his mind. People screamed for him to move Michael Young out of the clean-up spot, due to Young stinking up the joint in the ALDS and stretches of the ALCS.
Imagine telling a friend, or your spouse, or someone you’re kicking it with, that there are certain things you could be doing and that if you would change this or change that, that things would get better. That friend ignores you, because they know their methods and their situation better than you ever could.
That’s Ron Washington. When folks were telling HIM what HE should do with one of HIS players, Uncle Ron kept on spitting his sunflower seeds, eyes fixed on the field, and tuned the masses out.
Folks are telling him to get C.J. Wilson up outta here, due to Wilson getting pounded repeatedly in his postseason starts. Even I, in a brief moment of irresponsibility, asked the rhetorical, “So what are you gonna do, Uncle Ron?” when Wilson was getting knocked around in Game Five of the ALCS.
An apology immediately followed, because even though things looked bad on the surface, Wash knew what he was doing. The man believes in his methods, won’t embarrass any of his players, won’t make a move just to appease the masses, and will undoubtedly continue to put his players in the best position possible to succeed.
The fact, the indisputable fact that the Texas Rangers’ win total has increased each year in Uncle Ron’s tenure, is no accident. They went from winning only 75 games in his first year to 96 this season. Oh, and don't let the fact that St. Louis having home-field, despite not having a better record than the Rangers nor winning their division, have you in fear. Wash will have these boys ready to play, and if they're truly the better team, it won't matter where the series starts. Hell, another local champion, the Dallas Mavericks, just proved that during the Finals.
The fact that the Rangers are about to play in their second consecutive World Series, despite people wondering if they could do so once Clifford Lee walked, is telling. The man manages with what he has, and because of that, fans of the Rangers and sports fans in the Metroplex period, are having some of the most fun we’ve had in quite some time.
Some people won’t admit that getting to the World Series last year was a little overwhelming, but those feelings are gone this year. The goal for an overwhelming feeling this year is to win the whole damn thing, and there’s not a manager in the game of baseball I feel more comfortable getting the Rangers there with than Ron Washington.