Of Ron Washington, Rush Limbaugh and draconian measures

Actually the most astonishing thing about Wednesday’s events was that the Rangers did not fire manager Ron Washington when they had the chance.

Let’s face it, this is a manager who always seemed one five-game losing streak from taking the fall and if the Rangers had pulled the plug last summer, then it’s doubtful there would have been much anguish over the decision.

Instead, when Washington called Nolan Ryan and told him what happened, the club president responded by saying, “You’re part of our family and we’re going to help you through this.”

Personally I thought it was lousy that the Rangers had not extended Washington’s contract in the off-season after an 87-win season and were willing to let him enter this season in the final year of a contract. That seemed dead wrong and completely unappreciative for what he has done for the franchise.

Washington.jpgAnd what he has done is considerable.

You can only base opinions on what you know however and now it seems obvious that the Rangers – especially Ryan – do deeply and appropriately appreciate what Washington has done no matter how heinous one views his transgression.

And it was pretty stupid. Those of us who know the man and have a high respect for him – count me high among them – still wanted to ask him,: “What the…were you thinking.”

Actually we did ask him that and he had no excuses to offer. Only deep remorse. But really we all know why such things happen because bad things happen to good people and good people make bad decisions. Been there, done that and you have too.

But if this proves not to be a one-time thing…

It was Buck Showalter who once said that most people are remembered for the worst decision they ever made in their lives and as a parent, I might have brought that up more than once. Most survive without those decisions being brought to public light but most aren’t employed in the most scrutinized job in America.

There are those who are saying Washington should be fired, which is hardly a surprise. Only need a keyboard or a microphone to have an opinion and it’s important to have a big opinion on such a matter, playing it safe right down the middle on this one only invites scorn, ridicule and perceptions of no backbone.

In this business, it’s not whether you are right or wrong but it’s how loudly you scream that counts, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter set the standard on that score and all others have blindly followed. You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream.

daniels.jpgRighteous indignation and a call for draconian measures is the obvious card to play in such matters. Really it comes down to whether you liked Washington or not, even before Wednesday.

The Rangers revealed their hand on Wednesday. They have chosen to stand behind their manager and let him continue.

Now what?

Well, if the pitching is good, the defense is solid and the Rangers hit better than last year, then all is forgotten. The Rangers will be winning, Washington will still be the manager and maybe the turnstiles, despite the traffic cones, barriers and maddening construction, will start rolling again in a satisfactory manner.

If the reverse is true, then we are back to where we were before Wednesday and there will be only one man who will shoulder the blame regardless of what has happened in the past, good or bad.

Will this affect the clubhouse and how the players perform? You can figure that one out.

Think this changes Michael Young? Josh Hamilton? Ian Kinsler? Think 12 pitchers fighting for their professional jobs are really caught up in this. Think Frank Francisco, who is a free agent after this season, is really spending a lot of time pondering all of this. Think C.J. Wilson is going to be less fanatic about winning a spot in the rotation because of this?

Would a pennant excuse what Washington did? Of course not. But at the same time, one totally foolish, irresponsible and stupid lapse in judgment should also not destroy anybody’s career, whether they are leaders or followers.

Sorry, that seems more wrong than anything else at stake here. That seems dead wrong. Completely wrong. That seems to be what should be screamed the loudest.

It happened, it has been addressed, the Rangers handled it in the manner they deemed appropriate. They are standing by their manager.

Not the easiest thing to do and far from most popular but that seems to be most proper given all the circumstances.

 

22 Comments

Bravo, Mr. Sullivan. The easy thing is to shove him out the door, both figuratively as fans, and literally as team management. The hard thing is to stand by someone in the face of justified anger and frustration, trusting that a persons character is not defined by one incident, but by his life track record and relationships within his sphere of influence.

The Rangers organization, and particularly Daniels and Ryan are showing the utmost in class.

Good post, and I agree with everything that you say. However, what in the world do Ann Coulter’s and Rush Limbaugh’s loud voices have to do with this? Talk about a non sequitor! Guess we can chalk that up to a one-time lapse on your part.

I’m shocked that Washington’s offer to resign wasn’t accepted in July, but I can’t see firing him now, months after the fact. To do so would be nothing more than caving to public pressure and would show a complete lack of integrity. I really like what Jon Daniels had to say last night regarding how the club can claim they’re like a family, but when it comes down to a situation like this, do you forgive someone you believe in and try to help them or or do you turn your back on them, proving all that family talk to be just talk? I’m totaly paraphrasing and probably still butchering at that, but I think I of got right the spirit of what he said when he was on with Tom and Josh during last night’s game.

My first reaction to this news was “fire him”. But, this thing happened last year and they took steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. So, I love the class and attitude with which they handled it. Now, my ire is directed at the “rat” who leaked this information. Unless there are circumstances around this that I don’t know about, whoever leaked this is a classless “rat”. Since it has apparently been handled, there is no good reason for this information to be released. So, maybe organizations should consider being open and honest at the time something like this happens. Humans make mistakes and history has shown that you can’t keep the information inside on high profile people. So, take care of it when it happens, put it out there, and let the chips fall where they may. If our Rangers had done that last year, this would be long over and it would not have the opportunity to distract us now. I hope this is a lesson learned for them. I hope we can all get back on the optimism band wagon and behold the destiny of this team’s potential!

Bravo Mr Sullivan, for doing what you accuse others of doing. Where was your defense when Limbaugh got excoriated by the left for using an illegal pain killer? Was the pain of managing the Rangers Wash’s reason? I trust Nolan Ryan’s judgment but if he uses other people’s names to make his case, I will stop doing so. You are unmerciful at times on people, but it supposedly is your job. But it is not Limbaugh’s or Coulter’s. Look at the lynching party on Tiger, but somehow the media backs off on Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Bill Clinton. Hey boys will be boys. And you are getting these comments because you are so fair minded. Was it a first time deal for Wash? You like him this week but let the Rangers get off to a slow start and what happens? Let’s see, Wash does a few lines and its Anne Coulter’s and Rush Limbaugh’s fault for not being understanding? Is that how you felt about Limbaugh’s comment about Donavan McNabb?

I’m not sure why you have to make some kind of half-hearted jab at Rush and Ann. If you point is about yelling pundits, why target Republicans only? So annoying.

Anyways, I’ve always been in support of Wash, and as much as this brings me down, and as much as I doubt this was his “only” time to do the drug, I believe he will still be a great coach and not allow this to happen again.

Spot on T.R. Very level-headed post and a very level-headed response by our organization. I think this management team is making a lot of right decisions lately, don’t you?

“Where was your defense when Limbaugh got excoriated by the left for using an illegal pain killer?” – Has Ron Washington repeatedly and emphatically called for harsher penalties for drug users?

Good topic of conversation, but why do you have to interject your dopey left wing political views into it?

Would any other employee of the rangers get to keep their job if they failed a drug test? How about the Usher that seats me? maybe the Security Guard that patrols the parking lot? Is there a lesson to teach my child in all of this?

Sorry, I’m just not that quick to forgive and forget. Maybe he is sorry, maybe it was a one time thing, but he still broke the rules and broke the law! He needs to be removed now as he should have been when it happened.

Well said, TR. Very well said. And the “Rush and Ann” reference is well understood. In fact, spot on.

“Has Ron Washington repeatedly and emphatically called for harsher penalties for drug users? ” What does that have to do with anything? He brought Rush up as a “yeller” without impugning the typical left minded “yellers” out there as well. It was also very randomly inserted and had no bearing on the overall theme of the post. I check T.R’s blog twice a day, and I am saddened that he would do something so … pointless.

Let me clarify: What I meant was that Rush Limbaugh railed for years for stiffer penalties for drug offenders, and then he became one. Washington?s indiscretion comes with no such inherent hypocrisy that I?m aware of. Why TR saw fit to include that part about Rush and the McCarthy (and no, I don?t mean Brandon) loving tranny is known only to him, I was simply drawing a parallel between the 2 men in response to lloyd03′s statement about Rush being attacked so vehemently for his drug use. You see, it was the inherent hypocrisy in his actions that brought about such vitriol, which he has recovered quite well from, I might add.

Also lloyd03 thinks the media ?backed off? of either Kobe Bryant or Bill Clinton, I?m not sure what sort of alternate reality his mind is functioning in, because I recall months of intense media scrutiny for both, the likes of which Tiger is enduring right now, though I?m not sure what any of that has to do with Washington either.

Hefe, fair enough. Although I do not see how succumbing to an addiction makes you a hypocrite by railing against the source of the addiction. I take Hamilton’s warnings about addiction with no problem, despite his own addiction. Failing does not make you a hypocrite. Believing your sins are okay for you, but not for others, makes you a hypocrite. Anyways, stupid writing on T.R’s part. I’m done ranting.

I have enjoyed and respected Wash as a manger. However, the decision by Ranger management to allow him to keep his job is wrong. It is a slap in the face of any Ranger fan who has experienced the hardships of illegal drug use. It is a slap in the face of the fans who are drug tested routinely as a condition of their job to earn the cost of high ticket prices to enjoy the game. A slap in the face of those convicted or incarcerated for these one time mistakes. Shame on Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan. Once again baseball mangement and players exhibit the arrogance or ignoring the rules and laws of our society. Supporting Wash is Ok, but continued employment with the Rangers is just, WRONG.

I have enjoyed and respected Wash as a manger. However, the decision by Ranger management to allow him to keep his job is wrong. It is a slap in the face of any Ranger fan who has experienced the hardships of illegal drug use. It is a slap in the face of the fans who are drug tested routinely as a condition of their job to earn the cost of high ticket prices to enjoy the game. A slap in the face of those convicted or incarcerated for these one time mistakes. Shame on Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan. Once again baseball mangement and players exhibit the arrogance or ignoring the rules and laws of our society. Supporting Wash is Ok, but continued employment with the Rangers is just, WRONG.

How about that sports fans! We now know Sullivan’s political proclivity. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter are his preferred examples for loudmouthed behavior. Those of us with functioning cerebral cortices find them to at least have something worthwhile to say. Why not Keith Olbermann and Janeane Garofalo? Their brain power combined is barely enough to move feet. Rub their IQ’s together and you wouldn’t be able to power a pen light. Your limited perspicacity explains why you chose Limbaugh and Coulter. Isn’t this fun? Now you know my political leanings. Neither should be expressed on this forum, but you opened Pandora’s box. Stick to baseball. You’re pretty good at that.

Mr. Sullivan raised the specters of the loudmouthed lying idiots Limbaugh and Coulter because they are prominent paragons of self-righteousness, disingenuousness and hypocrisy, making them just like the people calling the Rangers to task for not putting Ron Washington’s head on a platter.

Mentioning these wretches of the right doesn’t create a corresponding obligation to balance the cast with characters from the left, for ill-informed loudmouthed selfish pigs are far rarer among the left, if they exist at all. On the right they’re as common as sparrows. Not being an ill-informed greedy lying loudmouth is a large part of what makes one a member of the left, a liberal, a progressive.

As for Ron Washington’s positive drug test, I say “Foul!”. Scorn should be heaped on the rodent who released these results – part of a supposedly private program – to the public, and for baseball management in general, for failing to keep these results private despite their commitment to decent men like Ron Washington do so, and for subjecting him to drug tests .

Lastly, I hope Ron Washington has a long, successful career in baseball and thereby helps put to rest this unfounded and self-destructive hysteria over drug use; the vast majority of Americans use drugs, the two most common of which – nicotine and alcohol – are far more destructive to our society than all ilegal drug use combined.

So where are the tests and “zero tolerance” for alcohol and nicotine?

Mr. Sullivan raised the specters of the loudmouthed lying idiots Limbaugh and Coulter because they are prominent paragons of self-righteousness, disingenuousness and hypocrisy, making them just like the people calling the Rangers to task for not putting Ron Washington’s head on a platter.

Mentioning these wretches of the right doesn’t create a corresponding obligation to balance the cast with characters from the left, for ill-informed loudmouthed selfish pigs are far rarer among the left, if they exist at all. On the right they’re as common as sparrows. Not being an ill-informed greedy lying loudmouth is a large part of what makes one a member of the left, a liberal, a progressive.

As for Ron Washington’s positive drug test, I say “Foul!”. Scorn should be heaped on the rodent who released these results – part of a supposedly private program – to the public, and for baseball management in general, for failing to keep these results private despite their commitment to decent men like Ron Washington do so, and for subjecting him to drug tests .

Lastly, I hope Ron Washington has a long, successful career in baseball and thereby helps put to rest this unfounded and self-destructive hysteria over drug use; the vast majority of Americans use drugs, the two most common of which – nicotine and alcohol – are far more destructive to our society than all illegal drug use combined.

So where are the tests and “zero tolerance” for alcohol and nicotine?

Mr. Sullivan raised the specters of the loudmouthed lying idiots Limbaugh and Coulter because they are prominent paragons of self-righteousness, disingenuousness and hypocrisy, making them just like the people calling the Rangers to task for not putting Ron Washington’s head on a platter.

Mentioning these wretches of the right doesn’t create a corresponding obligation to balance the cast with characters from the left, for ill-informed loudmouthed selfish pigs are far rarer among the left, if they exist at all. On the right they’re as common as sparrows. Not being an ill-informed greedy lying loudmouth is a large part of what makes one a member of the left, a liberal, a progressive.

As for Ron Washington’s positive drug test, I say “Foul!”. Scorn should be heaped on the rodent who released these results – part of a supposedly private program – to the public, and for baseball management in general, for failing to keep these results private despite their commitment to decent men like Ron Washington do so, and for subjecting him to drug tests .

Lastly, I hope Ron Washington has a long, successful career in baseball and thereby helps put to rest this unfounded and self-destructive hysteria over drug use; the vast majority of Americans use drugs, the two most common of which – nicotine and alcohol – are far more destructive to our society than all ilegal drug use combined.

So where are the tests and “zero tolerance” for alcohol and nicotine?

Another angry “progressive”, Mr. Sunshine? You don’t quite understand the meaning of the previous entry. This is a baseball forum, not a political one, and I don’t care to hear about your moronic political and cultural ramblings nor those of Mr. Sullivan. As you stated, “ill-informed loudmouthed selfish pigs are far rarer among the left, if they exist at all”. Thank you for proof of their existence, but please be clear, they exist almost exclusively on the left and in far greater quantity than you usually count with your fingers and toes. Either way you probably max out at about twenty. As I said, “Those of us with functioning cerebral cortices” get it. I don’t expect you to as indicated in your inability to enter your comment only once (three times?). Words do not adequately express the depth of your profound ignorance. Please don’t subject anyone to what you ‘think’ you know, because it is beyond your limited capability. What’s in the water you drink?

Seems that as much as I usually like T.R.’s writings, he and a few of the responders here have forgotten a very simple thing. This is a BASEBALL site, NOT A POLITICAL ONE. Regardless of my feelings one way or the other on Limbaugh, Coulter, Olbermann and Garofalo, this is NOT, nor will it EVER be the place to debate their obvious ideological differences. Stick to baseball T.R., it is what you know best.

Meanwhile, as exasperated as I get with Wash on his pitching changes at times, firing him months after the fact would be egregiously wrong. If it was to happen, it should have happened last year when he notified MLB and the Rangers, not now that it has been leaked. If you really want to fire/punish someone, it should be the one that leaked confidential information to the press. Until those ingrates are held accountable, there will be no end to them. I guess I agree that these things should be made public when they happen and then they can’t be leaked later. Seems that they are always made bigger stories after the fact because of all the “conspiracy theorists” out there.

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