Rangers employee leaked speech
An investigation launched Monday by the Texas Rangers quickly uncovered that a team employee recorded manager Ron Washington's clubhouse speech prior to Game 7 of the World Series, the team confirmed.
The team believes a person close to the employee then leaked the recorded audio to a website. The employee, whose name the team has decided not to make public, was a member of the traveling support staff.
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Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, who earlier in the day declared the situation "unacceptable," Monday evening said the team has handled the situation internally. He would not say if the employee has been terminated.
Daniels condemned the recording and leaking of Washington's fiery, expletive-laced speech, which also included brief pep talks from Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz, and said it is "clearly in violation of what's expected."
Daniels said he had no issues with what Washington said because it was a speech within the confines of the clubhouse and not meant for public consumption.
"It's a private meeting for the team, a privilege to be part of, a privilege to be in the clubhouse and have access to these sort of things, and very poor judgment to tape it," Daniels said. "That's not what that the meeting was for. We don't condone that it was taped and we certainly don't condone that it was shared with anybody outside of the group that was down there and intended to hear the meeting."
Daniels said the team believes there was no malicious intent by the employee and that the person did not intend for the audio be leaked.
"My understanding is that it was shared by somebody close to the employee," Daniels said. "I don't know exactly from there, I can't connect the dots, but I think you know the viral nature of electronic media and it unfortunately it doesn't take much to get from Point A to Point B."
The audio was sent to JoeSportsFan.com, a sports blog. In a story on the site about the recording, Matt Sebek writes the speech "was recorded by a member of the Rangers clubhouse staff."
Sebek told ESPNDallas.com on Monday that he received an email "from an anonymous third party" with the audio file on Saturday and debated whether to post it. He looked at statements Washington made to the media in regards to the speech and felt they were consistent with what was said on the recording. So he decided to publish the material.
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The speech includes some motivating words and colorful language from Washington and then Young, Kinsler and Cruz urging the team to stick together and forget about the Rangers' Game 6 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Both Washington and Young call Game 6 one of the greatest they've ever been a part of in baseball.
"I would say 99 percent of the comments and emails we're getting are positive toward Washington," Sebek said. "Most people say they'd like to play for him."
None of that made Daniels any more comfortable with the fact that Washington's speech, intended solely for his players on the heels of their heartbreaking Game 6 loss and just prior to taking the field for Game 7, surfaced in the public domain.
"We're very careful about who we give access to the clubhouse and who is welcomed in to that sub-section of the family so to speak," Daniels said. "I think this was a one-off case of really poor judgment. We've never had any other issues like this that I'm aware of.
"Everybody who's involved, including this person who did it, understands the nature of the clubhouse and that this is clearly in violation of what's expected."
Jeff Caplan and Richard Durrett cover the Texas Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.