Make no mistake, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, and any other manager in Major League Baseball, would prefer hoisting the World Series trophy in October to winning any kind of postseason managerial award, but those are always a nice honor, as well.
In 2010 and 2011, Washington's Rangers won the AL pennant and ran away with the AL West both time. Yet, when it came time to hand out postseason awards, Washington's name was nowhere to be found in the AL Manager of the Year contest. In 2011, it was understandable. In 2010, after leading the Rangers to their first postseason victory and subsequently the first World Series in franchise history, Minnesota skipper Ron Gardenhire was given the award.
But could 2013 be Washington's year to earn some recognition?
Sure, he makes some questionable decisions from time to time, but not everyone can be Tony Larussa.
If the Rangers go on to win the AL West this season, it would again be something they weren't favored to do (like in 2010). In fact, several "experts" had the Rangers finishing third in the division back in March behind the best team ever assembled in Anaheim and the upstart Athletics.
The Rangers had a new-look team heading into the year without superstar slugger Josh Hamilton, without slugging catcher and fan-favorite Mike Napoli, without veteran leader Michael Young, without proven bullpen arms like Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. The list goes on and on. That doesn't even include guys like Matt Harrison, who made two starts before undergoing back surgery and Alexi Ogando, who's had two DL stints. Or the fact that Colby Lewis and Joakim Soria were supposed to be on the roster by now.
Yet, here we are at nearly the midpoint of the season, and the Rangers just overcame a horrible offensive slump that saw them drop as many as three games back in the division and are now back in sole possession of first place. A lot of that has been chalked up to a closed-door meeting back on June 16 after the Rangers suffered a four-game sweep at home to Toronto. Since then, the Rangers have reeled off six wins in their past seven games, including a three-game sweep in St. Louis of the best team in baseball.
Washington isn't known as being the best strategist in baseball. But his players will run through a wall for him and he trusts his guys, and that's a huge part of being a big-league manager. If the Rangers make it three division titles in four years in a couple of months, he should be right at the top of the balloting. It's about time.