Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ron Washington and The Other

I offer apologies once again for a sportsy post.  But everything I know I learn from The Ticket, so, uh  .  .  .  there.
I don’t have any grand theory about the success of the Rangers this year.   But I have a theory about Ron Washington and his approach to baseball.
Actually, I have two theories.  The first theory, the dull one, I got from listening to the interviews of the Ranger players from before the Tampa Bay series through the present.  I noticed that in almost every interview, at one point or other, the same word would issue forth from the player’s mouth:  “fun.”  Player after player talked about going out and having fun.  And if there’s one thing that has characterized Ranger baseball this year, especially as the lineup solidified and they got past the injuries, is that it was fun to watch (not solely because of the winning, although that helped), and it looked like the players themselves were having fun grabbing bases, stealing home, dropping the claw/antlers on ‘em.   Surely that’s Coach Ron’s influence.  I do not intend to demean him when I say there is a delightful boyish quality to his dugout presence.  I think he reminds these guys of what brought them to the game in the first place.

You know, before the chicks.  And the dough.
OK, that’s the dull theory.
The more fun theory is this:
To Ron Washington, baseball is The Other.
To Ron Washington, baseball is a, separate, sensate, volitional entity.  It is a thing unto itself that gives, takes, and speaks, and to whom one gives and from which one takes, and to whom one listens. 
Consider the way he talks about it.  I don’t have the time to research all of his interviews, but it appeared vividly in today’s press conference, when he said something like:  When the game tells you to bunt, you bunt; when the game tells you to steal, you steal.   And in another recent interview, he said something like:   You take what baseball gives you, and you give what baseball takes.   There are numerous other examples along these same lines. 

Even his repeated use of the phrase "the game of baseball" bespeaks a certain reverence, a reverence one holds for the mysterious Other.
And even his Ticket-promoted signature phrase – That’s the way baseball go.  Doesn’t that sound a lot like Josh Howard saying that you can’t control what the ball do?  And, like that basketball, baseball is crazy.  (Fun?)  And you have to deal with its craziness like it’s an insanely possessive lover from whom you cannot escape, to whom you must return day after day to do her bidding, whatever she tells you to do, and you give to her what she demands.   You have to listen to what she tells you she wants, make sure you heard it correctly, and then deliver it right then and there so that she will give you what you want.
No, I don’t mean that Ron Washington has a peculiar sexual yearning for the game of baseball.    I mean nothing more than that Ron Washington thinks of baseball as a discrete being, equal parts demanding and benevolent, to whom direct and careful attention must be paid.  And if you do it right, with appropriate respect and loyalty, that attention will be rewarded with victory.
To Ron Washington, baseball is a spirit. 
His relationship with The Other is the source of The Passion of Ron Washington.


Scott said...

Almost like The Force, and he is the master teaching a team of younglings

P1 Steven said...

Im sure Ron Washington can make love to baseball like nobody's baseball.

Anonymous said...

"It controls your actions?"

"Yes, but it also obeys your commands."

The Plainsman said...

Anonymous, is that a quotation from Chairman Ron?

Anonymous said...

You sound like a Catholic Theology major in the throes of Systematics.

ap said...

I have a request, Confessor - Would you be able to find the time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and share your thoughts on the Musers road trip to SF (specifically, how it compared to the Hardline trip to NYC)?

I believe my judgment is clouded by the game results, but I still think that the Hardline should have gone on both trips, being the baseball show of record. What do (does?) you think?