On Thursday, former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington made his first public comments since he abruptly resigned two weeks ago. This was billed as a "news conference," but that turned out to be a reach.
If Washington truly resigned from the Rangers because he was unfaithful to his wife, this might be the first time that’s happened in professional sports. I hated to hear of his marital issues, but that alone doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that would make a self-described "baseball lifer" walk away from his team with only 20 games left.
Washington only spoke for three-and-a-half minutes Thursday. Surely there is more to this story, but this is all we have to go on at this point. There have been rumors of what may have transpired, but no credible source has reported anything of substance.
"I was not true to my wife after 42 years. I broke her trust," Washington said at a Las Colinas hotel ballroom. "I’m here today to own that, the mistake, and to apologize to her and to those I disappointed. And those who have trusted in me and I let them down."
Washington’s wife, Gerry, left the news conference with her husband. For now, this will have to do in terms of closure for Rangers fans. I suspect that fans would’ve supported Washington had he taken a leave of absence, but maybe a fresh start with a new manager (like Tim Bogar) is what this organization needs after this awful season.
I think Washington felt compelled to offer an explanation, in part because of his respect for fans. Someone as blunt as him probably hated leaving under such mysterious circumstances. I also suspect that Washington was laying the groundwork for a return to baseball. He’s not the type of person who would require a year off for reflection.
If this is all about being unfaithful to his wife, he could’ve expressed this the day he resigned. Instead, general manager Jon Daniels and principal owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson held an awkward news conference in which they supported Washington’s decision while not shedding any light on why this happened.
History will be kind to the Ron Washington era with the Rangers. Unless something else comes out on this story, he’ll probably end up in the club’s hall of fame. And he deserves it.
It was sad to see maybe the most candid manager in baseball participate in a carefully orchestrated event. I don’t know if he needed to pay a public relations firm to stage a news conference that didn’t go a long way in offering answers.
In time, maybe we’ll have a better picture of exactly what happened. But that’s not what Thursday was about. Washington simply needed to let everyone know that he wouldn’t be vanishing.
Some team will eventually give him an opportunity to manage again. But hopefully Washington will try to save his marriage before focusing on a comeback.
Either way, Thursday’s news conference just seemed like another sad chapter in what has to be considered the least satisfying season in the history of the organization.