Ron Washington: perseverance personified

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Remember all that trouble Ron Washington had last March regarding the Colombian marching powder? It’s a distant memory now with the Rangers winning. But it’s not just the winning that put a lid on the controversy. It’s Ron Washington himself whose attitude has changed everything say his players and his general manager:

“Guys talk about Michael Young and how you can’t tell whether he went
0-for-4 or 4-for-4 the day before,” general manager Jon Daniels said.
“There is an element in that in Ron. We could give him the [Class A]
Bakersfield team, and he’d still be motivated to find a way to beat the
Angels.

“Whether guys are banged up or struggling at key positions, he’s always
positive, he always has high energy and he always keeps players focused
on the task at hand.”

Read it all, of course, as it’s a nice profile about a guy who was all but given up for dead as a manager a couple of seasons ago and then ran into a P.R. nightmare last spring. I’ve never put too much stock in the old “whatever doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger” thing, but in Ron Washington’s case it’s proving to be true.

Between his success this year and the fact that Mark McGwire hasn’t caused a hint of a ruckus in St. Louis, maybe we’ll all remember not to make too big a stink about whatever controversy we use to warm us up next winter.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.