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.

Sandy Alderson thinks Tim Tebow will play in the major leagues

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Based on his track record so far I don’t think Tim Tebow deserves to play in the major leagues on the merits. Not even close. But then again, I’m not the general manager of the New York Mets, so I don’t get a say in that.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager, so his say carries a lot of weight. To that end, here’s what he said yesterday:

Noting the Tebow experiment has “evolved” into something greater, general manger Sandy Alderson on Sunday said, “I think he will play in the major leagues.”

To be fair, Alderson is pretty up front about the merits of Tebow’s presumed advancement to the bigs at some point. He didn’t say that it’s because Tebow has played his way up. He said this:

“He is great for the team, he is great for baseball, he was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year. The notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he is not coming through the traditional sources, I think is crazy. This is entertainment, too. And he quietly entertains us . . . He benefits the Mets because of how he conducts himself. He’s a tremendous representative of the organization.”

I take issue with Alderson’s comment about people thinking he shouldn’t be in the game because of his background. Most people who have been critical of the Tebow experiment have been critical because there is no evidence that he’s a good enough baseball player to be given the opportunities he’s been given. I mean, he advanced to high-A last year despite struggling at low-A and he’s going to start at Double-A this year in all likelihood despite struggling in high-A. If he does make the bigs, it will likewise come despite struggles in Double-A and maybe Triple-A too.

That said: I don’t mind if they promote Tebow all the way up as long as they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and aren’t trying to get everyone on board with some cockamamie idea that Tebow belongs on the baseball merits. If they do put him in the majors it’ll be because he’s a draw and a good promotion and because people generally like him and he’s not hurting anyone and I can’t take issue with that.

That’s basically what Alderson is saying here and if that’s the case, great. I mean, not great, because Tebow in the bigs will likely also mean that the Mets aren’t playing meaningful games, but great in the sense of “fine.” Baseball is entertainment too. No sense in pretending it isn’t.