The most recent edition of Rangers Magazine featured the replayed sounds of a celebratory clubhouse at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington from an American League West Division clincher the night before, and the introspective thoughts of GM Jon Daniels.
JD stopped by the home radio booth 90 minutes before first pitch of Saturday's game against the Seattle Mariners. In the accompanying 20 minute podcast, JD covered numerous topics that were the primary storylines of this division winning season.
“I spent most of the [A's-Angels] game with [Ron Washington] in his office at the end there," Daniels said. "He and I kind of joked about few of the moments over the years. The high points get written about. We were talking about some of the low points and some of the decisions that had been made. I'm thrilled for everybody -- our scouts, our development folks, our fans -- but probably most of all for him.
"He kind of took it on the chin for a year or two and took some time for people to know what he was about -- both in the clubhouse and throughout the community. I kind of had a gut feel for him. Believed in him, believed in the person, and I’m just thrilled to see the success he’s having with this club. I really believe that team takes on the personality of the manager, and I don’t think you can see that more clearly anywhere around the league than you do here."
The players succeeded under Wash in 2010 for an American League championship. This year’s Rangers are the first since the 2004 New York Yankees to lose the World Series one year and win the division the next year. Part of the reason is JD recognizing what was needed.
"It wasn’t any particular game, series or moment, but just sitting back and realizing how good you have to be to get to that point,” Daniels said. “You have to be so good, such a complete team and we felt there were areas we could upgrade. We added two big-time right-hand bats. We improved our defense. I think we’re a little more balanced throughout the rotation, a little more balanced in the bullpen."
JD also talked more about Wash, what’s needed for repeated success, the impact of Tommy Hunter's injury during spring training, Michael Young's offseason situation along with his versatility in-season, why there was a deep belief in Mike Napoli's skill set, the insight and realization on the in-season change at hitting coach from Thad Bosley to Scott Coolbaugh, the playoff roster possibilities, Matt Harrison's rise, Alexi Ogando as a starter or a reliever in the playoffs, scouting of playoff teams, and perhaps the most amazing fact of this season.
Listen to the podcast. Rangers Magazine can be heard Saturday on 103.3 FM ESPN.