Everyone who follows the Rangers knows that Ron Washington's favorite saying is "That's the way baseball go."
It's meant as a catch-all to explain just about everything, from the mundane to the unusual, that happens on a baseball diamond. It could also be seen as a way to limit the amount of credit or criticism that a manager faces, because if that's the way baseball go, there isn't all that much Washington or anyone else can do about it.
Washington might want to rethink his motto. Evidence is mounting that when Washington is involved, baseball goes very, very well for him and the Rangers.
Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News shares an interesting stat as we near the end of Washington's fifth regular season as Rangers manager. The Rangers have now won 94 games, which means that they have increased their win total in each of the last four seasons. It is the first time in baseball history that a manager has seen his team win more games in four straight seasons after his first year with the team.
Maybe he should see if Charlie Sheen is willing to share "Winning" as a new catchphrase?
It's always remarkable to stumble across something in baseball that has never happened before, especially when it is something that's gone on right under your nose without gaining much notice. People have certainly noticed that the Rangers have gone from 75 wins to 79, 87, 90 and, now, 94, but there hasn't been much made of what that kind of rise means in the larger context of baseball history.
Washington can't take all the credit for the increase in wins. Jon Daniels has stocked the roster with talent at every level and players have performed at a very high level, so Washington hasn't been making something out of nothing. But making something out of something can vex other managers, as can sustaining success once teams make the move from also-rans to contenders.
Washington's done that and he's done it very well. He might not be the best strategic manager that's ever took up a perch in the dugout and he isn't using the most advanced techniques when it comes to evaluation and scouting, but, as Daniels points out, that isn't always everything.
"But at the end of the day, how many truly inspire? Truly lead their club through tough times? Keep the team's focus on target despite distractions? Not many. That's where he separates himself. He's got a gift, an optimism and energy that is contagious -- and he loves to share it."
It's a bit lengthier than Wash's motto, but it does a much better job of explaining why baseball's gone so well for him and the Rangers in the last few years.