Mr. Sandman and Sandbagging

It all has to be a dream, yet the top has stopped spinning. It simply cannot be.

The Oakland A’s have stealthily surged, winning 18 of their past 22 games and have ultimately taken over the Rangers by a half game atop the AL West. Meanwhile, the Rangers find themselves at the lowest point of the season thus far.

Over their past 17 games, the Rangers have gone 7-10 and have been outscored by a total of 79 to 64 during that span (the blowout in Boston certainly did not help the team’s run differential here, so keep that in mind).

Dare we remember to forget this solemn stretch of baseball?

Absolutely.

The simplicity of the nuances of the game of baseball may indeed be simple beyond comprehension. Between every game, between every run, between every play and between every pitch, the game of baseball is a complete roll of the dice.

Over the duration of 162 games, those millions of rolls of the dice tend to accumulate and accurately illustrate the true nature of a baseball team through its win-loss record. Considering that at the moment, the Rangers’ season presents more tomorrows than yesterdays, there is plenty of time to awaken from this meandering slumber and accumulate a greater total of rolls of the dice.

The current situation, regardless of its worrisome evinces, is not indicative of the whole nor the expected sum of the team. In general, the dice are fickle. Just take the current run that the A’s are on as an example. There is zero chance that Oakland can keep playing at this high of a level and on the contrary, it is extremely unlikely that Texas continues to struggle in this current fashion.

Now that we have established that Mr. Sandman has indeed neglected us during this solemn stretch of baseball, it is prudent that I explore something that has been bothering me for the past couple of seasons, but has only surfaced as a main point of concern in 2013.

That concern is Ron Washington’s in-game management decisions (or lack thereof).

I am absolutely certain that every team’s manager makes questionable decisions, but I am also very sure that other team’s managers do not make such a high frequency and magnitude of questionable decisions as Ron Washington.

At the moment, it is currently impossible to quantify to what degree managers affect a team’s win-loss record, but it is not too presumptuous to assume that if such a metric did exist, that Ron Washington would find himself at, or near the very bottom amongst the worst managers in baseball.

That is not to say that Washington is not an excellent motivator and coach, but strictly how his in-game decisions and tendencies would affect a team’s win-loss record.

For the most part, when the Rangers have won, it seems as if Washington’s managerial flaws have been obscured, but when the Rangers lose, Washington’s tactics draw deserved dissension.

So I ask you, at what point does Washington’s in-game decision making become a burden to the club, if his decisions have not already been a burden and continue to be so?

I am not the type who places concern on topics that are not deserving, but Ron Washington is certainly a topic of concern going forward.

I can only hope that Mr. Sandman is the culprit behind me witnessing Ron Washington having Jurickson Profar bunt in a tie game with nobody out and Elvis Andrus on second base…

Wait, what?

Topics: 2013, A's, AL West, Athletics, Elvis Andrus, Jurickson Profar, MLB, Oakland, Oakland A's, Rangers, Ron Washington, Texas, Texas Rangers

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  • Eric Reining

    Fans generally associate a good manager by how often his team wins. Fact.

    Yet, when the team starts losing, no longer is Ron Washington a good manager, but rather part of the problem. This is the moment when fans contradict themselves, because you can’t praise a manager for doing “well,” then turn on him when the team is struggling.

    That is where we are in 2013 with the Rangers.

    People like you and I will continue to pick out Wash’s egregious flaws — even when the team is playing well. Fans won’t understand what we mean, because the team is playing well and OMG that means Wash is amazing and we are wrong.

    • Mike G.

      Exactly. The number one defense of those who simply “don’t get it” (damn, that sounded like something that a certain meat head in Anaheim once said), is that Ron Washington led the team to two WS appearances. The logic behind that point is baffling.

      Ron Washingon’s presence on the team as its manager is like RBIs—success at the expense of opportunity. The team was constructed far and apart from Washington’s involvement, much like base runners go into scoring position for a hitter with an RBI opportunity. It’s just too bad that this “hitter” has an inclination to bunt in such situations.

  • Andy

    Fantastic article.

    Based on how the team speaks of him, and how the players react (Holland comes to mind), Wash seems like he’s very good at motivating his players. If only we could get him to defer to someone more tactically competent for his in-game decisions.

    • Mike G.

      Thank you for the compliment.

      There’s no doubt that Washington is a fantastic motivator—Washington’s pre-game speech (that was wrongly leaked), prior to Game 7 of the 2011 WS immediately comes to mind. It’s just unfortunate that Wash seems to have a tendency to make the wrong moves and/or the wrong decisions on a consistent basis.

      I really like Ron Washington as a person and as a motivator, but not so much as the manager.

  • Martin B.

    Excellent post. Your a very talented writer. I now find myself visiting the site on a daily basis.