If you happen to see Ron Washington at Globe Life Park today or tomorrow, tell him thank you. Wash will be here with the visiting Oakland A’s, and it will be his first trip back since that shocking day last September when he resigned.
Having seen Wash in Oakland earlier this month, I can tell you that he is doing fine. He and his wife are building a new home in their native New Orleans and hope to be in by the holidays. In the meantime Wash is back in Oakland where he gained renown as an assistant coach. He is back to teaching what he knows best and that is…baseball. Specifically he is teaching the Oakland infielders how to catch one.
So, why should you be thanking Wash? Well there is the obvious, the winningest manager in Rangers history inspired a lot of summer joy over the years. Of course, he also lead the team to it’s only two World Series. But his greatest accomplishment may have been in teaching these players, and in a way this organization, how to win.
Wash carries himself with a confidence that borders on cocky. The kind of attitude you hate in your fifteen-year-old son, but love in your coach or manager.
I can think of a few other coaches I have covered who carried themselves similarly, and Jimmy Johnson is at the top of that list. Like Jimmy, Wash believed in his players even when it was unbelievable to do so. Nobody expected that 2010 Rangers squad make it to the World Series – except Wash and his players. Reminds me of Johnson and the ’93 Cowboys, even they will admit they did not expect to make the Super Bowl that year.
But teams adopt the personality of the coach. If the coach carries himself with confidence – then the team does too. How confident was Wash? He went with his gut when everyone said analytics was the thing. He played his veterans when the next new phenom was being shoved down his throat. He walked away from the best job he ever had for all the right reasons.
Wash does not sit on the bench with the A’s, he’s a special assistant and not an official member of the coaching staff. He watches the games, instead, from a booth in the press box. When the Rangers visited Oakland several members of the staff spent the evening in the booth with Wash, talking baseball and the good ol’ days.
The good ol’ days were not that long ago for the Rangers, and if you look at the way things are going under Jeff Banister, you realize why the front office wanted Wash to embrace some of the new world ideas. Analytics are working, and with what Banny has done it appears that some new “good ol’ days” may be just around the corner.
Still there is no denying what this team had under Wash. It had confidence, it had fun, it had success. So if you see Wash, tell him thanks.