It’s official, or it will be, when Ron Washington re-joins the Oakland Athletics tomorrow in Tampa Bay. He has been hired by the A’s as a special instructor. According to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, Washington will not be on the field during games but will be during pregame drills and batting practice.
His main job will be to fix the team’s obvious defensive issues. If anyone can do it, that person is Ron Washington.
He convinced catcher Scott Hatteberg that he could teach him to be a first baseman in 2002, you may remember the scene in the Academy Award Nominated movie for Best Picture, “Moneyball,” in which Hatteberg agrees to come play first base for the Athletics.
Washington did teach Hatteberg, who eventually went on to hit the historic walk-off home run that capped the A’s 20-game win streAk that season, to be a first baseman.
Wash coached the A’s infield from 1996-2006 and was beloved by the players and fans. There has already been an outpouring of excitement by the fans on Twitter.
He moved on to manage the Texas Rangers for eight seasons, taking them to the World Series in 2010 and 2011. He stepped down very suddenly in September last year, under what are still considered by almost everyone as mysterious circumstances, citing he’d been unfaithful to his wife.
Yet, none of that matters to the Athletics. Neither does the fact that he admittedly relapsed on cocaine in 2009, as Slusser points out.
What matters is he is the He was an integral part of the A’s many successes in the late 90’s to mid-2000’s and does seem like the best person to fix the A’s defensive issues.
Shortstop Marcus Semien is in need of his help most. While Semien has been very good at the plate for the A’s, he also leads the league in errors. The A’s as a team also lead the league in errors.
Seriously though, is there anyone better than Ron Washington to turn the A’s infield defense around? The man who coached Eric Chavez to six straight Gold Gloves at third base? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.
Welcome back Wash!