One of the best stories of this World Series has been Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, whose unconventional style of running a team has led his club to two consecutive American League pennants and World Series appearances.
With his regular-guy demeanor, Washington makes no qualms about the fact he may not be the best manager in the game, even going as far as deferring to his opponent in this year's Series, St.Louis Cardinals’ manager Tony LaRussa. But Washington probably gets more mileage out of his players than any other manager in Major League Baseball.
“I can’t match wits with Tony,” Washington said to the New York Times following Monday’s win, which put the Rangers up 3-2 in the World Series. “I haven’t been in this game that long. I just wish I could stay around as long as he has and be as successful as he has.”
Many have criticized Washington's managerial decisions over the years, but it was the more seasoned LaRussa who may have made the biggest blunder Monday night. For whatever reason, LaRussa didn’t have a right-handed pitcher ready when Mike Napoli stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning.
Napoli smacked a two-run double that put the Rangers ahead for good. The move or lack thereof has been the talk of the week heading into Game 6.
But Washington, a man who has made of career of doing it his own way, wouldn’t bite at second-guessing LaRussa, as so many people have done with Washington over the years.
“There may be a point where someone says, ‘You should have done this,’ ” Washington said. “Well, you don’t know my players. That’s you saying that. Maybe the strategists say that’s what you do, but the flow of the game says something different. I’m in the flow.”
(Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)