When discussing some of the most productive MLB managers of the last decade, the name Ron Washington should figure prominently in that conversation.
Washington’s resume is elite. He spent 10 years in the majors as a player and eight as a manager. He’s a proven winner (664-611 record).
He led the Texas Rangers to four-straight 90-win seasons and back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011, suffering some crushing losses.
He overcame those defeats in the same way that he was able to recover from substance abuse — with dignity in tact.
When he violated the league’s substance abuse program in 2009, he offered his resignation to the Rangers, but they wouldn’t accept it.
He was too valuable to the team’s culture and success. Sometimes life comes at us 100 miles per hour.
We stumble, but the true champions are the people who overcome these adversities, refuse to let one setback define their entire lives and come out better people on the other end.
That’s Washington in a nutshell. He continued to coach at different spots and refine his craft. Refine himself. It
Fast forward to almost a decade later and Washington is still making an impact as a third base coach for the Atlanta Braves, who have arrived in the World Series ahead of schedule and without their best player Ronald Acuna.
Atlanta will be kicking off the World Series against the Houston Astros. Washington will be stalking the third base box offering sagacious advice to any runner fortunate enough to make it within 90 feet from scoring.
He’s also known as an inflielder guru, working a fungo stick like Alicia Keys on piano. Washington is respected throughout the league and is an OG with a wealth of baseball knowledge.
Washington Deserves Another Shot
He wants to be a manager in the big leagues again, but his phone isn’t ringing.
“It’s hard to explain,” the 67-year-old said in an interview. “Whenever you become the leader of a group, and I’m talking about a manager in the major leagues, that never leaves your system. Well, once you get that opportunity, it’s always running inside of you.”
“No, my phone’s not ringing. I don’t know why. I really don’t know why. I haven’t done anything in my background that should warrant that,” Washington explains before a coaches’ meeting.
Back in 2019, Washington was the supposed front runner for the Padres job, but the franchise decided to go with inexperienced Jayce Tingler instead.
The Padres came into the season with a star-studded lineup and championship hopes, but fell miserably short.
“People get an opportunity to come back from mistakes,” Washington said back in January of 2020. “I never ran from my mistakes. I faced people with my mistakes. I’m a better person than I was back there. And a lot of times we learn from adversity.”
Washington said this back in January of 2020.
Padres Looking For A Winner
The 68-year-old Washington’s phone is unfathomably still not ringing, but his name has again surfaced as a potential candidate for the vacant Padres job.
Maybe they get it right this time.
We’re hearing names like Brad Ausmus and John Farrell in addition to Washington.
According to reports, Padres’ brass has done some background work on veteran managers Bruce Bochy and Buck Showalter, reports Buster Olney of ESPN (Twitter link).
Bob Nightengale of USA Today confirms Brad Ausmus, John Gibbons and Jeff Banister could be under consideration.
Problem is, not one of these guys, with the exception of three-time WS Champ Bochy, have the resume that Washington has. They haven’t even led a team to the World Series.
Buck Showalter has been doing television. Bochy’s probably itching to get back into coaching, but is he hungry? Washington has remained in the trenches as a contributor.
Oldie But Goodie
Washington’s age shouldn’t be an impediment to being hired. Tony Larussa, 76 and Dusty Baker, 72, guided both of their teams to AL Division crowns. Dusty is currently in the World Series.
Washington would be a perfect choice to navigate a young, talented team and give them some baseball direction, an identity and cement the winning culture. He would help the Tatis become the all-around force he could be.
His quiet bravado in the face of a raging storm was cool like that. But deep in the recesses of what could have been another catastrophic postseason collapse Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker found his inner Jazzy B and brought his team back to life.
For the third time in five years the Astros are heading back to the World Series after defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-0 to win the American League Championship Series in six games.
Baker became the ninth manager and the first of color to lead teams from both leagues to the fall classic.
“There are some things hovering over me too,” Baker said. “I feel very fortunate to be around these guys with a chance to win the world series.”
Down 3-1 the calm personality of Baker and the confidence he exudes with his toothpick swag and fly glasses were the intangibles that seemed to be the difference in the series.
As the Red Sox were seizing command of the series with their two game offensive barrage Baker was stoic and never gave the impression his team was down.
“He’s a special individual,” said Carlos Correa. “He leads this team in the right way.’
When he was asked by Fox Sports what was the key to their comeback as he prepared to hoist the ALCS trophy, Baker opened up with an old championship baseball philosophy.
“Pitching, defense, and timely hitting,” said Baker. “And plus, these guys always believed that we were going to win. I mean, there was never a doubt in their minds.”
That simple refrain, which has been as much a part of baseball as stirrups and pine tar, was ultimately what turned the series in their direction. Houston found the mojo that made them the AL’s most prolific offense during the regular season and it was if Baker knew that it was only a matter of time for them to break out.
During the closeout game of the series all three phases were on display. Luis Garcia went 5 ⅔ scoreless innings with a frustrating blend of blistering heat and offspeed pitches. Yourdan Alvarez, the series MVP, drove what proved to be the winning run with a triple in the bottom of the first.
Astros catcher Martin Maldonado threw out Alex Verdugo after Travis Shaw struck out to kill Boston’s best shot at rallying in the seventh.
Kyle Tucker, who looked confused in two at bats earlier in the game, put the champagne on ice with a three run blast in the eighth.
The Astros scored 24 runs with two outs during the series and 18 over the final three games of the ALCS and went 12 for 32 with runners in scoring position Their pitching held the Red Sox to one run over the last two games.
Ironically, the only Black American player in the Astros lineup, Michael Brantley, recorded the final out.
He finished the game with four hits (three home runs) and six RBI.
The Dodgers knew what was at stake going into Game 5 and did not want their season to end just yet.
Unlike Game 4, they dominated throughout the game both on offense and defense.
Even though the Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead to start the game, the Dodgers quickly responded and never looked back.
Seven players in the Dodgers lineup all had hits and five of them had multiple hits. This Dodgers offense has been one of the best all season and that’s a big reason why they are still playing right now.
With Betts being the leadoff hitter on a loaded team, he’s in a good position to give that team the spark they need, especially when the bats aren’t hot.
He’s been a spark all postseason and the few games he hasn’t, his teammates have had his back.
Dave Roberts had faith in his team coming into this game despite facing elimination and they certainly did not disappoint him.
One thing about the Dodgers is that they have multiple weapons on offense and on the mound and can beat you in many ways.
If one player is struggling, you better believe that another player is going to step up.
This is now seven consecutive elimination games that the Dodgers have won.
“I guess when our backs are against the wall we play our best and fight,” Roberts said after the game. “It’s not an ideal spot to be in, even right now, an elimination game on Game 6, but I guess it brings out the best of us.”
Dave Roberts discusses calling in Andy Burns to replace Justin Turner and the mentality of the #Dodgers heading into a must-win Game 5 vs. the Braves. pic.twitter.com/CnznhbqrNB
In the moment where it seems the Houston Astros were ready to be delivered their last rites, they found a way to keep hope alive.
Dusty Baker’s cool resolve was tested by Boston’s offense but he once again made sure his team’s confidence remained intact. The top of Dusty’s lineup — which had begun hibernating for the winter in the first three games of the series — woke up with a vengeance in Game 4 returning as the catalyst to their 9-2 win at Fenway Park.
Dusty Baker has spent the last 14 1/2 innings outmaneuvering Alex Cora inside Fenway Park. #Astros
Brantley swatted two more hits and the Astros offense kept pounding on the Red Sox pitching again in Game 5, leaving them staggered and heading back to Houston after a 9-1 victory.
Another Pennant For Dusty, Stros ?
The Astros are now in position to clinch their second pennant in three years on Friday at Minute Maid Park.
“That [game four] was a huge win,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “To tie that up, to guarantee us to go back home and have some more games at home.”
The Fabulous Baker Boys have erupted for 16 runs and 23 hits off a Boston staff that couldn’t get the final out of an inning for the last 10 in the bean. Houston’s 36 two-out runs were the most by a team through eight games in a single postseason.Fenway Park had been a house of horrors for the Astros until Tuesday night’s historic rally, but like their manager, they keep fighting back.
“I’m just glad that we didn’t quit,” Baker said. “Just a great job overall by the whole team.”
LOS ANGELES — The 2021 season for the Los Angeles Dodgers could easily be a reality television series that gives fans every emotion and feeling possible.
From dealing with injuries throughout the lineup, to the saga of pitcher Trevor Bauer that has more drama than a General Hospital episode, and battling to claim the NL West while falling short by one game to their hated rival San Francisco Giants made this season a challenging one to say the least.
Manager Dave Roberts has seen and experienced it all, from his time as a player winning a World Series championship with the 2004 Boston Red Sox to becoming the franchise’s first minority manager being of Black and Japanese heritage.
Despite the criticisms over the years, Roberts has guided the Dodgers to multiple World Series appearances, battling against cheating scandals surrounding the Houston Astros in 2017 and Red Sox in 2018 and he’s always stood tall on his focus.
His determination and tremendous baseball knowledge finally guided the Dodgers to their first championship in 32 years in 2020. Unfortunately, it happened during one of the most deadly global pandemics our generation has experienced.
It didn’t happen at Dodger Stadium, therefore, there were limited fans attending the World Series in Texas. It came down to a sixth game and on the arm of a young phenom in lefty Julio Urias to secure the final three outs.
His young stable of hitters led by Corey Seager became the World Series MVP, acquiring one of the greatest talents in the game in Mookie Betts paid dividends especially defensively, and we saw the emergence of players like Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger and Kike Hernandez under Roberts’ tutelage.
The 2021 season saw his Dodgers with their backs against the wall against a feisty and successful St. Louis Cardinals team that had won 17 consecutive games in September and won 19 out of their last 20.
Was Roberts unfazed by his opponent? You better believe it. Though he respected his opponent, he knew the type of talent and the attitude of his players who can play with a chip on their shoulder the size of Frito-Lay most times.
Only in Los Angeles where a team could win in dramatic fashion in the bottom of the ninth inning in a winner-take-all Wild Card game against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. Roberts continued to smile in the faces of his critics, and focused on his team defeating his NL West rival Giants in the NLDS.
This was a tall task seeing how the Giants clinched the division with a franchise-record 107-win season. Ultimately it came down to a do-or-die Game 5 at Oracle Park in San Francisco. Of course, Roberts’ methods would come into question again, as in the eleventh hour the probable starter Urias was changed to Corey Kneble. This decision came after Roberts proclaimed Urias would be starting Game 5.
Again, he managed his team out of NLDS and into the NLCS in a rematch against the Atlanta Braves. The Dodgers overcame a 3-1 deficit to win that series last year.
It’s time to put some serious respect on Roberts’ name and trust his decision- making more, especially with the proven track record he’s laid down. I often wonder if Roberts didn’t have the appearance he has, would he be questioned as much as he is.
He’s won a championship as a Black manager in a league that has just eight percent Black American baseball players on the field. There is a serious need for not only more Black players but more Black managers in positions to lead MLB teams.
Roberts is like Tom Cruise, no mission is impossible and could be well on his way to capturing another World Series title in 2021. The Roberts hire also shows when given an opportunity to manage with the proper personnel, anything is possible!