Monday, August 5, 2013
Ron Washington was once in Cruz's shoes
By Calvin Watkins
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- In the spring of 2010, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington apologized to his team for failing a drug test for cocaine during the 2009 season.
Washington asked for forgiveness and promised it would never happen again.
The Rangers supported their manager then, and they still do, as he became the franchise's leader in wins (582) with the Rangers' 4-0 victory on Sunday.
On Monday afternoon, the Rangers were faced with another failed drug test. This time it was outfielder Nelson Cruz, the team leader in home runs (27) and RBIs (76). For a Texas team in desperate need of more power, losing Cruz comes at a difficult time.
Entering play Monday night, the Rangers are 2 1/2 games behind Oakland for first place in the AL West.
It's a side note based on what the Rangers are going through with Cruz.
Before the game with the Angels on Monday, Cruz addressed his teammates and received support, much like what the team did for Washington in the spring of 2010.
Back then, former Rangers infielder Michael Young was the first player to speak on Washington's behalf, saying the team had his support.
After Cruz's talk, which several players said was very difficult, outfielder David Murphy was the first player to speak up and say it was all right; the Rangers had his back.
"David Murphy stood up and said what he had to say about Nelson's character and what type of man he is," Washington said.
What helped Washington back in 2010 was how the team responded on the field. The club reached the World Series for the first time in the franchise's history, losing to the San Francisco Giants. The Rangers went to the World Series the next season, but lost again, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Washington is a beloved figure in his clubhouse, and while some fans and some members of the media question his decisions on the field, there shouldn't be any issues with how he runs his clubhouse.
Washington's admission probably endeared him more than ever to the team because of his honesty.
Several Rangers players said they found Cruz's honesty about his involvement with the South Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis to be heartfelt, similar to Washington's talk that spring day in 2010.
"There's different circumstances for everybody," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "I'm not one to judge. I'm not perfect, any of us isn't perfect. He made a bad decision, he's paying for it and that's it. When he's done with his jail sentence, he'll be ready to play for us again."