I was watching Sunday night’s Angels–Rangers game when ESPN posted a brief timeline of how the Rangers transformed themselves into a top-tier Major League Baseball team. It included the hiring of Jon Daniels as General Manager, the trades that netted Neftali Feliz, Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison and Josh Hamilton and the ascension of Nolan Ryan as the team President. What was not metioned was the choice of Ron Washington as the team’s manager, yet another oversight of the game’s most underappreciated field boss.
If you read this blog on a semi-regular basis, you might think I do nothing but drool over the Texas Rangers. The truth is, I admire them greatly and feel they have the best franchise in the game right now. I was going to stay away from them for a while until the game Sunday night and those graphics appeared. No matter what he does, it seems Ron Washington will not get the credit he deserves. When people think of top managers in baseball, his name is nowhere to be found. All we hear are names like Valentine, Leyland, Scioscia, Guillen and about 10 others before anyone gets around to mentioing “Wash”. Most of the credit for the Rangers’ success goes to Ryan and Daniels and they deserve a lot of it, for sure. However, if the blueprint is laid out by the two of them, don’t they need a good Manager to carry out their plans? What exactly has Washington NOT done to not be mentioned as one of the top skippers around?
After they lost the 2010 World Series, people questioned if Texas was too deveasted in defeat. That question was answered when the reached the Fall Classic in 2011. Then, it was they lost their best pitcher, CJ Wilson to the Angels who also happened to sign Albert Pujols. How exactly has Texas responded so far? They are argueably the best team in the game. A BOATLOAD of the credit deserves to go to Wash but again, about 100 stories overshadow him including the insane idea of banning the fake third-to-first play. All I know is this: before he took over as Manager, the Rangers had won exactly 0 playoff series. Since he has taken the helm, he has gone to back-to-back World Series, one strike away from winning the organization’s first Championship.
Wash finished second in 2010 and third in 2011 for AL Manager of the Year. This year, after the Rangers win the World Series title, maybe he can finally get the respect he deserves by winning the award this season. However, if the Orioles finish with around 85 wins, count on Wash to be hosed when that distinction goes to Buck Showalter. It would be yet another slap for perhaps the best Manager in baseball.