When I first heard Ron Washington's pre-Game 7 "speech", I couldn't help wondering who made the recording, and what would happen to the poor soul if he were discovered. As Mac Engel reports, he (or she) has been discovered:
The rat within the Rangers' organization was busted.
The person who recorded and leaked manager Ron Washington's pregame speech before Game 7 of the World Series was not a St. Louis Cardinals visiting clubhouse attendant as I originally suspected. The person was a member of the Rangers' traveling support staff. Rangers GM Jon Daniels would not say whether the employee was canned, but I have visions of Nolan Ryan and Robin Ventura dancing in my head.
Why anybody associated with the Rangers would make this recording, which went viral Monday, makes no sense, even if it was for fun. This is fly-on-the-wall stuff and basic clubhouse privacy should have been respected.
It's sort of a shame, but you have to fire whoever leaked the recording. He might have been perfectly well-intentioned, just wanted a little souvenir of this dramatic moment. You know, like the kids these days can't go 10 minutes without taking photos and videos with their phones. And then he shared it with one of his buddies and ... well, you know the rest. Sometimes you just have to set an example, and this is one of those times.
That said, Washington's speech -- and the accompanying imprecations of Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Mike Maddux -- are, in context, just about the most innocuous thing you will ever hear. After I listened the first time, my immediate reaction was, "Well, that was six minutes I'm never getting back."
Because this is the same bullshit that every manager and coach and self-styled team leader says before every big game. Does it "work"? I don't know. How well can it work if everyone is doing it? But maybe it's so mundane, so routine, that if the coach didn't give a lame speech his players would worry that everything wasn't normal. And then they might get scared and ... well, you know the rest.
I've gotten a kick out of suggestions that someone's actually upset with Washington for his language -- here's one of those suggestions, from Engel:
Baseball is a game where men routinely adjust themselves, spit, eschew shaving, blow their noses and scratch in full view of thousands of fans and a national TV audience. Yet inside their clubhouse, they are supposed to talk as if they are in Sunday school?
But if you are just hankering to be mad because the Rangers lost one of the most painful World Series ever, just focus on the manager's decisions, not his language.
Okay, I'll bite: Who's hankering to be mad about Ron Washington's language? Are there really baseball fans out there who don't know that most professional athletes and their coaches swear like rabid sailors when they're behind closed doors (or when they give up a long home run)? I'm willing to bet good money that the Rangers' switchboard has been forced to deal with exactly zero callers who are concerned about the impact of Ron Washington's filthy mouth on our impressionable youths.
Hell, last year the guy was using cocaine and nobody really gave a tinker's damn. Now somebody's supposed to care about a bunch of m-f bombs behind clubhouse doors?
This little episode is a moderately interesting look at what happens behind those doors before a big game, and a smile did pass my lips upon a few of Washington's more creative turns of phrase. But let's move along, folks. There really isn't much to see here.