- Ron Washington must be fired, day 2:
How many times has it been said, in sports as well as politics, that it's not the crime itself that cements the downfall of the participants, but the subsequent cover-up?
We see it again and again, in an attempt to avoid the fallout in the immediate aftermath of the incident, lies are told; payouts are made; greater embarrassments are fostered and the end result is exponentially worse that if it had been nipped in the bud and handled immediately.
No matter how painful it is, it's far better to cut the cord sooner rather than later.
In case you expected the Ron Washington mess to stand on its own after the initial blast, comes the story----denied by the Rangers----that the failed drug test led to the club being blackmailed----Yahoo.com Story.
Who knows whether or not the blackmail allegation is accurate?
Are the Rangers still indulging in spin to try and keep this at bay and hope it recedes into the background?
Have their own short-sighted activities dragged the Rangers front office into the morass built by Washington's stupidity?
Does it matter?
Unless they cut the ties and sacrifice the manager for the good of the organization this...is...not...going...away.
It's unconscionable, irresponsible and outright stupid if the club let the fact that they were in contention and didn't want to upset the applecart by firing Washington cloud their judgment and allow themselves to be neck deep in what should've been a cut-and-dried case of an employee doing something to cost himself a job.
It all could've been avoided had they accepted Washington's offer of resignation when news of the failed drug test came to the Rangers; they could've fired him and given a reason to protect him if they so chose. There are a million of them and many would be valid.
"His strategic mistakes were too egregious to ignore."
"Despite out record, we felt a change needed to be made to contend for a playoff spot now."
"We wanted to make a change and now was the time."
Or, there's the old indistinct and convenient excuse: "It was a lack of communication."
They could've fired Washington then or let him resign.
Instead, they took this path hoping it would go away (and that's regardless of the accuracy of the blackmail story----one way or the other, the failed drug test was going to be revealed eventually). Now, they're paying the price as a young, up-and-coming team bursting with talent, built the right way is under siege because of the naked betrayal of principles upon which the club president Nolan Ryan has based him life and career.
A conservative, hard-liner and vicious competitor, Ryan probably knew back then that Washington had to go. For some reason, he was allowed to stay on. Now, they're trapped in the muck with their manager and are paying the price.
The only way to properly make this disappear is to make the manager disappear. It's nothing personal; it's not because of any moral judgments due to drug use; it's not because of an agenda; it's because it's what's right for the organization.
Had this been a player who failed a drug test for using a recreational substance like cocaine, it'd be received with a "what can you do?" shrug. That Washington admitted using amphetamines and marijuana as a player is irrelevant to me. Believe if you will that Washington's cocaine use began and ended with the failed drug test----if true, that's some inconvenient luck that they tested him right there and then!!!----but he's not just a distraction to the Rangers, he was a hindrance before because he's a rotten strategic manager! They have every right to fire him for that reason alone. Now? How can they keep him?
It's March and the Rangers promising season is bearing the earmarks of going up in flames because of a scandal. There comes a time to take a step back, assess and determine where things are and what the risk/reward of keeping that which has become a liability.
They're postponing the inevitable with their reluctance to do what must be done.
And what must be done is to fire Ron Washington.
- Viewer Mail 3.19.2010:
Jeff (Street Boss) at Red State Blue State writes RE managerial scandals:
For those of you who missed it, Wally Backman was hired to manage the Diamondbacks for the 2005 season when a DUI and domestic incident that he failed to disclose during the interview process led the club to fire him right after he'd been hired. It wasn't worth it to keep him; just as it's not worth it for the Rangers now to keep Washington.
The Brooklyn Trolley Blogger writes RE Ron Washington:
This is a tough one Prince. I think Nolan Ryan has had a dramatic impact on the Ranger organization for the better. That's why I'm inclined to trust his handling of the situation. If it weren't for him I'm sure I'd be thinking differently. No Doubt there have been managers I would have fired for less. For some reason I don't have a problem with the way the situation is playing itself out. Yet! For Nolan this is like buying into a Junk Bond; High risk; High reward. Let's see if it comes back to bite Nolan in the ass. I'm compartmentalizing and maybe this story broke out when I'm in an empathetic mood. I feel the heat you're generating though.
I'm not making any values judgments on Washington here; he wants to do coke, hey have a ball as long as it doesn't affect me; but this is turning into a nightmare for the club on the whole and has to be handled. And the only way to handle it is to get rid of Washington.
You've come to the wrong place for empathy though. I don't understand why he'd take this kind of risk and be so inexplicably stupid. Since this supposedly happened around mid-season, because they were hovering around first place and ten games or so above .500, they let the circumstances factor into the decision to keep Washington. Ryan and the club chose to ride it out and hope to make the playoffs. They couldn't easily explain away Washington's firing and left it to "later".
Well, they didn't make the playoffs and it's now "later".
I can tell you now, that if the club was under .500 when this was called to their attention, Washington would've been fired.
Larry writes RE your humble narrator (and if anyone gets that reference, I'll be summarily impressed):
"Plus, it makes me interesting"
Well I'm not sure I'd go that far...
Maybe fascinating would be a better word. Like something to watch and study to see what it's gonna do or say next.
John Seal (West Coast Spiritual Adviser) writes RE Ron Washington:
In all seriousness (for a change), good piece on Ron Washington. When I started reading it, I was definitely in the 'leave the man alone and let him do his job' school, but you make some excellent points. I still don't think people should lose their jobs over victimless crimes that occur off the clock, but considering the political context and potential for team disruption, your case is a strong one.
More importantly, though, do you think he was stoned when he named Scott Hatteberg 'Pickin' Machine'?
I understand he's a well-liked guy; I get that the players play hard for him. I've said it again-and-again that regardless of his strategic mishaps, that the players knew he was about to get fired and still turned things around in 2008 to save his job is not something to ignore. But this can't be saved. It just can't be.
I agree with the premise of an individual not losing his job based on a personal issue----as long as it doesn't affect his ability to do the job. And, like Tim Johnson with the Blue Jays, Washington's credibility is shot not just because of the failed test, but because he had the audacity to claim that it was the one and only time he did it.
I mean, please.
On another note, since you mention the Athletics, John, I have to remind you that lefty side-armer Jay Marshall was returned to the A's after the Mets discovered he was hurt. So lives your dream of seeing Marshall and righty side-armer Brad Ziegler forget which side of the bullpen mounds they need to be on when warming up together and locking arms in a humiliating incident befitting the prospects of the 2010 A's.
It's more likely to have that happen than to see the club contend.