HOUSTON – Ron Washington has worked in professional baseball for over 50 years, since signing with the Kansas City Royals at age 18. But for all of his time playing, coaching, managing and coaching again, and for the thousands of games he’s played has been a part of, a pair of Game 6s 10 years apart are now the milestones of his career. post-player.
One of them was a crushing loss in which a single strike twice would have made him a champion. The other was a sweet victory on Tuesday that finally made it happen.
Washington was held on the field Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park after Atlanta defeated the Houston Astros 7-0 in Game 6 of the World Series to win the franchise’s second championship in Atlanta, and first with Washington as third base and infield coach.
He wore a World Series champions t-shirt, held a victory cigar in one hand, and envisioned the jewelry that would soon adorn the other.
âI have two rings at home that say American League champions,â Washington said. âNow I’m going to have one that says world champion. All the years I spent playing this game, I finally got one.
Washington led the Texas Rangers from 2007 to 2014, and led them to two American League pennants. But Texas lost the 2010 World Series to the San Francisco Giants and the 2011 Series to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The second haunted the Rangers franchise because of what happened in Game 6.
The Rangers led by two points with two strikeouts late in the ninth inning in St. Louis, but with two catches and two runners on base, the Cardinals’ David Freese hit a long, but catchable ball over the head of the Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz, who was not playing deep enough. Cruz misjudged the flight of the ball, and he hit the wall for a triple. The game was tied and headed for extra innings.
The Rangers again took the lead early in the 10th on a two-run homerun from Josh Hamilton, and for the second time in two innings, the Rangers were one shot away from the champagne. But the Cardinals hit back once more and Lance Berkman scored the second point to tie again. Freese made a home run in the 11th to win the game, and the Cardinals also won the seventh game.
There was no such drama on Tuesday, as the sad end of the story was reversed for Washington. This time, he pulled out from the third baseline to congratulate the three Atlanta hitters – Jorge Soler, Dansby Swanson and Freddie Freeman – with low-fives as they made the turn and walked home. Much of the game has never been close, and after what he experienced in Game 6 in St. Louis 10 years earlier, it suited Washington perfectly.
âIt’s very special for all of us,â Washington said, âBut yeah, especially for me too, because we got closer in 2011. I’m now a world champion, and it doesn’t matter if I did it. as a coach or manager. I am a world champion.
Washington, 69, said he plans to return to Atlanta with the team and revel in the post-victory celebrations and parade. He could also become a candidate for open management positions. Currently, there are vacancies with the Mets and Oakland Athletics, where Washington coached from 1996 to 2006. This was before he became manager of the Rangers, and he returned to Oakland to coach again in 2015. and 2016, before heading to Atlanta. .
Washington unceremoniously ended his stay in Texas. The team had examined earlier revelations of a positive drug test for cocaine that were made public in 2010, only to see Washington resign with little explanation in 2014 – Washington ultimately admitted it was was withdrawn because he was having an extramarital affair and needed to focus on his family.
But he has always sparked players’ devotion for his seemingly endless passion and enthusiasm for his craft, and his ability to make them laugh and enjoy their work.
He is considered one of the best field coaches in the game, so much so that Eric Chavez, a six-time Oakland third baseman, presented Washington with his 2004 award, which featured the inscription “Wash , not without you â.
Atlanta chief executive Alex Anthopoulos said Washington’s insight is held in high regard within the organization. No defensive tactical decision is made or even considered without Washington’s input and final approval, he said.
âHe meant it all,â Anthopoulos said in a text message Wednesday. âHis passion, love and preparation are second to none. He always believed, and deserves it as much as anyone in the organization.
Atlanta won the National League East in four of Washington’s five-year tenure with the team, but it failed to qualify for the World Series until this year. But once that was done, Washington was sure the team was going to win it all.
He highlighted the work done by the talented players and added that they, along with Anthopoulos, manager Brian Snitker and the rest of the coaching staff, have all done their part to make the operation sizzle throughout the month. ‘October – especially in a World Series 6 game that Washington can now smile about, 10 years later.
âI’m overwhelmed right now,â he said. âI’m so happy, I can’t even show how happy he is. This is how happy I am.