Tag Archives: Ron Washington

Doin ALCS Thoughts…

As I was watching the Tigers put up some runs on CJ Wilson today, it hit me, I genuinely hate the Rangers. I hope anyone BUT them wins the World Series. I guess I had so much respect for my favorite A’s coach over the past two decades, Ron Washington, that I was blinded that they were in the same division as my favorite team and was inexplicably rooting for them to succeed. I can comfortably say the A’s are now under the Curse of the Wash, and I’m no longer rooting for the Rangers to do anything good ever again. Under Nolan Ryan, they’ve been a well run organization that makes solid decisions with trades, signings, and draft picks (sucks, sucks, and sucks). I’m guessing there’s a little jealousy mixed in there. My disdain for CJ mostly came from his comments in August about how A’s fans suck, and that was the tipping point. Since then I’ve been rooting for injuries to the guy, and I can’t say that about many. Especially since he’s one of the main guys helping keep Hamilton off the junk.

All hatred aside, I honestly don’t see the Tigers being able to win the next two in Texas to take this series. They have a ton of injuries, and even home run swings are painful at times. They seem to be hanging on by a thread every inning as the Rangers constantly have men in scoring position, but one can only hope that Texas collapses and they slowly get labeled playoff chokers. If the Tigers can get to Fister for a game 7, you never know what can happen. He shut them down the Rangers offense in game 3, but I’m not entirely sure he can duplicate that in Arlington’s launching pad of a park even though he’s a ground ball pitcher.

The bottom of the 6th was the most enjoyable inning of game 5, which started with a single by Raburn. Then Miguel Cabrera bounced one off third base which went over Beltre’s head (who used Oakland’s offer as a bargaining chip this off-season) gave me a little feeling of vindication for shunning us. V-Mart’s triple was pretty solid, but the one that really got me going was Delmon Young’s second homer of the game. Maybe it’s also a little because I said the Tigers wouldn’t be where they are without Delmon about a month ago, but watching the Rangers miserable inning made me happiest I’d been all playoffs. I wasn’t sure what my point was when I started this post, but if it gave you any reasons to root against the Rangers, I think I did my job!

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MLB Playoff Gloating, and Some Old Wounds

Rangers and Giants World Series

Did you seriously think I couldn't out coach Girardi!?! What planet are you on?

Is it really going to happen? The two teams I wanted to win could be squaring off in the World Series. I’m always a fan of the underdog, so usually my teams get knocked out just after I decide to root for them. Naturally, it makes me not care much who wins the championship when the teams I don’t care about are in the final series. This year has been different though, and the teams that I’m rooting for, for some reason, are actually winning. It’s like when I get excited seeing one of my bets at halftime correct, only to see said team fail to cover. Maybe, because neither series is over, especially the Giants and Phillies because it’s only a 2-1 series lead, and the Phillies have the pitching and hitting to come back. Plus the Giants seem to have a hard time closing out their opponent, (see the regular season against the Padres). The only reason I feel like that series is a done deal is because my 80 year old grandpa said to me over the phone last night that the Giants would win the WS. Sure, he’s been a big Giants fan his whole life, but MCeezy will vouch for him that if he says it, it will come true! It’s one heart attack win after another for the Giants all season long, so I hope grandpa didn’t jinx them. In the other league, my ALCS prediction was spot on. It’s been awhile since I was able to gloat about a prediction, so here it goes with the things I was right about! The Rangers made the Yankees look old, check. They scored every way imaginable while running all over Posada, check. Ron Washington out coached Joe Girardi by not over managing and getting his players motivated, check. The only thing I didn’t predict was how good the Rangers pitchers would be, and honestly aside from the bullpen meltdown in game 1, they dominated the best hitting lineup in the league. Now that the Rangers are up 3-1 I feel comfortable saying they will be in the World Series. Even if the Yankees somehow shake it off, and win the next two games they will have to face Cliff Lee in game 7. I’d say that means series over anyway you look at it.

Kirk Gibson Still Grinds My Gears

It’s been 22 years since Kirk broke my heart as a young baseball fan with his gimp pinch hit home run off the A’s unstoppable Eckersly. At seven years old, I didn’t think I’d hate his name still 22 years later, but reading about him selling off that historic pinch hit bat making me relive that experience yet again filled me with that same hatred. It’s bad enough they show his fist pumps around the bases every month or two during the season, but having to read about the intricacies of the bat and jersey made me throw up in my mouth a little. Here’s what Gibson said that made me relive one of my worst childhood sports moments,

If you look at the handle on the end of that bat, there’s an ‘x’ because it was a reject. I really only got it because it was so light, I was hurt, so I started to get that ready,” he said. “The cleat marks at the head of the bat where I hit my shoes, there’s indentations at the beginning of the bat. At the end of the bat, it was so deep, there’s really deep indentations, the red ink from the foul balls I hit is on it. You can actually see the spot where I made contact with the ball. It’s preserved very well.”

I can take a little solace in the fact that he is a dick, and many people don’t like him, but it just reminds me that some things you never really get over. I guess holding grudges is part of being a fan. Devastating moment #2 was probably the “Tuck Rule.”


Who Thinks the Rangers Can Win? THIS GUY!

Even though I had my doubts when the Rangers drew the Rays in the first round, they still came through. For some reason I like the Rangers chances even more against the all mighty Yankees than I did against the Rays. Back in September when the Rangers swept the Yankees, I started to believe in them, and wrote a little about why. In that series they were without Josh Hamilton, and the Yankees were without A-Rod, so I figure those two injuries evened each other out lineup wise. What they got from that series more than anything was some extra confidence that they belong with the best. The Rangers have a swagger to them, there’s no way around it, and they’ve been that way all year. I know I brought this up in an older post, but I remember one game back in June when Ian Kinsler was yelling at the Angels players after the game in Arlington to get off their field. I thought it was kind of stupid since they played each other the next day, but it speaks volumes about this team’s mentality, and how together they are. I mean, how many teams would do a separate ginger ale celebration because one of their players is an addict? How many teams survive a manager’s dirty drug test? How many teams would have survived a bankruptcy during a season seeing guys that played in Texas eight years ago, still not being paid what was owed to them? Not many can go through that much turmoil in the workplace, but I think all those outside distractions just made them closer. They don’t roll over like the Twins did when things went wrong, they just move on to the next pitch. Continue reading


Texas Rangers Aren’t Fading For Once…

The Rangers have gotten a ton of play on the MLB network over the past month or so. I can’t remember seeing more of their games on TV at any point in my life. They’ve earned those televised games, as they are the clearly the class of the AL West, and playing as good as any team in the league right now. They usually fade during July and August when their home field turns into a launching pad, but not this year. I was hoping for an implosion from them, so maybe the A’s would be able to sneak into the playoffs, but that’s like hoping for the Raiders to show up in back to back games. Once again, I’m starting to wonder if the A’s are cursed. Not because of the numerous injuries they suffered for a third straight year, but because we let Ron Washington go. I’d much rather have Washington as the manger over Geren, but Beane was very pro Geren, so we’re stuck with the schlep. Until A’s fortunes change, I think we are still under The Curse of the Wash. Normally I’d root against the AL West winner if it wasn’t the A’s, but I found myself pulling for the Rangers to succeed this postseason.

The Rangers sweep over the Yankees showed us exactly what they’ve been doing well all year long. Come from behind to win. They came back to win two of the three games, and even made one of those comebacks while Rivera was on the mound. That kind of win can’t be understated when it comes playoff time, and just knowing that they have already beaten up the most dominant closer of all time is a feather in the cap. They also had their ace (Cliff Lee) back on the hill to close out the sweep. It was his first start in two weeks. He showed how healthy he was shutting the Yankees down for 8 innings giving up only one run. It’s only the second time all season the Yankees got swept! What made this even more impressive was that they didn’t need their MVP candidate Josh Hamilton, who is still out with a bruised up ribcage. There’s no rush to get Hamilton back, since they do have a commanding lead in the West (8 ½ games). Now that the Yankees and Rays starting to come back to earth a little, does this give the Twins and Rangers an edge? I’d probably put both of them above the TB and NY on power rankings if I made them right this moment. I’m already envisioning an ALCS matchup between Minnesota and Texas. Maybe that’s a little presumptuous, but if Morneau and Hamilton come back healthy, who’s to say that these two teams are the favorites to make it to the ALCS?

Another thing I’ve noticed about this Rangers team is their swagger factor. It’s crazy how together these guys are. Early in the season after they took out the Angels in the opener of a series in June, right after the final out of the game was recorded Ian Kinsler was out there yelling for them to “get off our field”, as the Angels were heading to the showers. At the time I thought Kinsler was just being the dickhead he is, but now months later I think it was a statement of things to come. It was like they finally believed in themselves before anyone else did, and knew they weren’t going to have a collapse when the weather got hot. They were no longer going to be a pushover and would play every game hard, just the way Wash would’ve played. They were paying attention to more details than they used to, even doing the small ball stuff that wins games utilizing their speed in Bobon and Andrus. We will see if they can continue their good play through the last 19 games. I don’t see any reason for them to slow down since they don’t have the division locked up yet, but they are in as good of a position possible for a solid postseason run, and can let guys like Josh Hamilton and Cliff Lee take some extra rest if it’s needed. I’m glad my prediction of who would win the AL West is working out thus far!


Give Wash a Break

So Ron Washington failed a drug test for cocaine. Shame on him. But since the story broke, I’ve witnessed a man take responsibility and hone up to his mistakes better than any other sports figure of this generation. While most of these guys deny accusations for months, sometimes years, until their glass house of lies comes crumbling down, only THEN to make apologies and fess up to their misdeeds, Ron Washington submitted a dug test, notified the administrators he would likely fail it, and then proceeded to communicate with each party of interest what was going on. Wash has always been a mastermind on the field, but he showed me that he is one off of it too. This news surely would’ve outraged the media in most scenarios, but Wash has been one step ahead of the game the entire time. He’s an unproven, black manager of a non-contending team. Major League Baseball and/or the owners could have easily made an example of him, but Wash is a guy who earns respect, and I think it’s obvious that all parties involved respected the way he took responsibility for his lapse in judgment. I always suspected Wash of being a closet pothead, but now we know that third base wasn’t the only line he was handling all these years.

Here’s where I think Ron Washington is not just one, but two steps ahead of the game. He’s long been heralded a player’s coach. Guys seem to play harder for Wash – Chappy alluded to it a few months back, how the A’s demise over the last few years may very well be a direct correlation of Washington’s departure. The manager said he used cocaine once last season, and that’s what caused him to fail the test. He ran the risk of alienating himself from the owners and his ballclub. Instead, you see players like Michael Young coming to his defense. But there’s one player in that clubhouse who suddenly can relate to Wash more than anyone. That player also happens to be the team’s best player. Josh Hamilton, as everyone knows, has had his own battles with cocaine. While Washington’s incident is nothing compared to Hamilton’s years of addiction, when Rangers fans think of drug use, they won’t be zeroing in on him anymore. Wash took the heat, for lack of a better word, off of Hamilton – not that there was much, but still. The best player on the team and the manager just got that much closer on a personal level. Any time the best player on the team and the coach are on the same page, it’s a recipe for success on the field. We’ll see how it plays out, but Washington’s blunder off the field may very well be the best move he makes all season in terms of his teams’ performance on it.

Wash loves that whiiiiiiiiiiite girl.....


The Curse of the Wash!

ron-washington

With the A’s clearly on their way to another losing season, I’ve tried to figure out what is wrong with them for awhile now, but nothing seems to make sense. This has been one of the least fun A’s teams to watch, especially since they are constructed to win now, as far back as I can remember. Their defense is horrendous kicking around 56 errors so far this season. This definitely isn’t helping the confidence of the plethora of under 24 year old pitchers they are throwing out there on a nightly basis. It got me wondering how we got to the point where we just keep tallying the loss column. This year I blamed it on the signing of players that are past their prime and “the trade” (Holliday) which hasn’t panned out so far. So now, I have to boil it down to where everything started going wrong. Aside from their last playoff run under Bob Geren, he hasn’t kept the team competitive. 00I watched the Macha era, and he is about as boring of an interview as you’ll hear, but it seemed like the team was having fun playing for him. Maybe they overachieved for some of those division title years, but they always looked like they were having fun and were battling every game. This year’s team doesn’t have that same feel, they have the feel of the Bonds era Giants clubhouse, and rarely give me the feeling that they will come back when they are faced with any adversity in a game. I’ll attribute their downfall on two areas that sunk them: the fun and loose clubhouse, and the loss Ron Washington 2006!

Ron Washington resided with the A’s from 1997-2006 as their 3rd base and infield coach. He was credited for transforming many players, including six time gold glover Eric Chavez, into the defensive players that you expect to make every play. 040328_ron_washington_vmed_3p.widecHe was well documented in Moneyball for the role he played in transforming Scott Hatteburg into a serviceable first baseman. He’s an old school type coach, that preaches his philosophies with many examples and details. Wash wasn’t just the infield coach to the players, he was a mentor and the soul of the team that kept them loose all the time. In years past I didn’t worry about defense, because I expected them to make every play, even the tough ones! Instead of getting hired as the head coach, which I lobbied for heavily, he was picked up by the Rangers, and we hired Bob Geren. bgerenWhen you lose a coach of Washington’s status from a leadership standpoint,  it doesn’t matter who you sign in the offseason, or what savvy decisions you made to get some young prospects if there’s nobody helpful coaching them.

His time with the Rangers started rocky, but he has changed the culture there, as they are now in a tie with the Angels for first and on a five game winning streak replacing the lackluster A’s squad in the perennial  divisional battle with the Angels. It was either the A’s or Angels who has won the division since 2002, but this year Texas looks to change that. The Rangers have never lacked talent, they just lacked a guy like Wash to make them realize that they could win! The Rangers look like a loose team having fun, and playing well every night. Sound familiar A’s fans? It should! We gave away the most constant thing we had over our run of six winning seasons making the playoffs most of those years.

When the season mercifully comes to a close, I hope the A’s first order of business is to find a new Manager. If it isn’t, then I hope it’s because they are finalizing our new stadium deal. Since that second scenario will never happen, I’m praying for the first. If it isn’t then this will not be the last you will hear about the The Curse of the Wash!