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.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.