— ARLINGTON, Texas - Somewhere along the way during the last two World Series, Ron Washington has gone from the baseball lifer/longtime coach who finally got a shot at managing to something of a rock star.
Part of that comes with the territory of managing a back-to-back World Series participant. As Washington said yesterday, "We have fans everywhere now. You know it's only because we're a winner. Everybody loves a winner.''
But the Wash metamorphosis runs deeper. Remember that 'Little Wash' kid last postseason? Now, the real Wash is in theaters near you — as a character portrayed by actor Brent Jennings in the Moneyball movie.
And in this postseason, the television cameras can't get enough of Wash's dugout antics. He's become must-see TV when the Rangers are doing something — anything — exciting.
"I think when people look at his exuberance in the dugout, I think they know it's who he is,'' said Rangers owner Nolan Ryan. "It's true. It's pure. It's not a show. It's been brought to the forefront with this postseason, but that's who Ron is on a day-to-day basis.''
Washington doesn't apologize for who he is, either.
"This is my second time at the World Series; I understand what's expected,'' he said. "But I think in order to get the best out of yourself, you have to be relaxed, and more than that, you have to trust what you feel you bring to the table.
"If my players saw me acting uptight, that would be a reason for them to be uptight. I don't get uptight, so they've got no reason to be uptight.''
He is a motivator and teacher first, but his strategic approach is an aggressive, attacking one taught to him in an adult life spent in the game.
"They call it unorthodox; I just call it reacting to what the game asks you to do,'' Washington said. "We went from the bottom to the top on the style of baseball that I've learned to play since I've been in the game. I don't call it unorthodox. I call it taking it to you. I just call it playing baseball. That's what I do.''
And never one to pass up a one-liner, Washington then said: "I'm not as dumb, either, as people think I am.''