When they were first alerted to his unprecedented cocaine use just after the 2009 All-Star break, I thought Texas Rangers' management should have fired manager Ron Washington on the spot. You know what? I still think that.
But by the time the public became aware of his transgression - at the start of spring training in February - it was too late. The season was about to begin. A division was about to be won.
Neither team president Nolan Ryan nor a dorky sportswriter from Dallas are surprised by the Rangers' success. I figured Texas would win the West despite Washington being on a short leash this season. Maybe he was. Who knows? Because after their torrid 11-game winning streak in June the Rangers have been on cruise control.
Yesterday the magic number to winning the division was shaved to four. After a 2-1 victory over the Angels, Texas can split the four-game series with the A's and win its first crown since 1999.
The destination is exciting. But, let's be honest, the journey has become a tad boring. The Rangers' lead has fluctuated between 7-10 games for 60 consecutive days.
Let's take a break from doling out blame around the Dallas Cowboys and shower some praise on the Rangers.
Washington, who still confounds fans with his curious in-game decisions and baffles the media with his creative subject-verb disagreement, should be on every ballot for American League Manager of the Year. To me it's either him or Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire. Wash is relentlessly positive and, to his credit, the players never gave up on him.
Hard to imagine a manager overcoming a cocaine issue, but by God he's done it. Props to him. He deserves credit.
But who gets the most credit for the Rangers' championship season?
A) Ron Washington.
B) Josh Hamilton.
C) Nolan Ryan.
D) Neftali Feliz.
E) C.J. Wilson.
F) Tom Hicks.
G) Chuck Greenberg.
H) Nelson Cruz.
I) Vladimir Guerrero.
J) Dubya Bush.
K) Jim Knox.
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L) Dude Who Fell In The Stands.
M) Michael Young.
O) Clint Hurdle.
P) Chuck Morgan.