The Rangers will spend this weekend in Washington, D.C. They are back in the place where it all began for this franchise as an expansion team in 1961. The way the schedule works they only play in Washington every six years, but they play for Washington every day. Ron Washington is one third of the way through a manager of the year like season.
Yeah I said it. Even as the Rangers flirt with a .500 record. This road trip to Detroit, Minnesota and D.C. has been full of examples of great work by Wash. The thing you must remember is that Wash is a people person, not a numbers person. Thankfully this game is played by people not numbers.
The team was in Detroit when news broke that Prince Fielder would be out for the season. It was news that came fresh on the heels of the news that Matt Harrison and Martin Perez were out for the season. It was a critical point in the year, it would have been easy for this team to throw up their collective hands and say, “wow this just isn’t our year.” Instead they raked the stellar Tigers rotation to the tune of 59 hits and 35 runs. Texas took three of four from the team that had the best record in the American League.
So they got to Minnesota feeling good about themselves, and rightly so. They win the Memorial Day game and upon arriving at the ballpark the next day they learn that Yu Darvish had slept wrong and could not make his start because of a stiff neck. Wash took it in stride saying, “Yu Darvish is a different animal. He just doesn’t want to have any reason why he didn’t do well.” That short quote says a lot. It speaks the truth about Darvish, but it also speaks to his teammates. Most of them play through things like stiff necks. Wash wanted his troops to know that he recognizes the inequity.
By acknowledging that reality Wash reminded his troops of another reality, not every player is treated the same. Recall that while he was the Cowboys coach, Jimmy Johnson cut John Coker for falling asleep in a meeting. After he was done coaching, Jimmy was asked what he would have done if Emmitt Smith had fallen asleep. Jimmy said, “I would have awakened him, gently.”
Darvish is the ace of the staff. He gets special treatment, but Wash won’t let it get out of hand.
This week in Minnesota Ron Washington managed his 1187th game. That is more than any manager in Texas Rangers or Washington Senators history. He has also won more games than any other, his winning percentage is highest too. Ask Wash about any of those things and he will demure, “I have just been surrounded by great players.”
Texas is lucky to have such a great Washington in it’s midst. In fact if the franchise had never moved I might say that Ron is the most successful Washington in the nation’s capital since George.