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Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last year

Mar 17, 2010, 1:52 PM EST

Ron Washington.jpgWow:

Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season, SI.com has learned. Washington, 57, has been subject to increased drug testing since his
failed test, which was administered by Major League Baseball last July,
and he has passed all of his subsequent tests. In deciding to support
Washington and retain him as manager, the Rangers accepted his apology
as heartfelt and also his explanation that this was a one-time
transgression.

I just finished reading a book called The Pittsburgh Cocaine Seven by Aaron Skirboll. It won’t be released for several months, but when it comes out you’ll definitely want to read it.  It details the Pittsburgh cocaine trials of 1985 and the crazy, coke-filled years Major League Baseball experienced leading up to them.

Ron Washington played during the years chronicled in that book. Between the time frame of his heyday and that of the book, my first impression of this news it to be skeptical of the “one-time transgression” language of the team’s statement.  How many people try
coke for the first time at age 57?  Especially those who worked in an environment absolutely lousy with cocaine for so many years of their youth?

That said, I like Ron Washington as much as the next guy, and I’m happy to see that he has passed subsequent testing.  I’m also pleased to see the Rangers give him another shot rather than do the easy thing, which would be to cut him loose. By all accounts he’s been a loyal guy and his players are said to like him. People deserve second chances.    

  1. Josh - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    First, cru11: that’s racist. Second, “everyone deserves a second chance”? How about “everyone managing a friggin’ baseball team deserves to have the trivial nature of his responsibilities considered when discussing a supposed drug problem”?? WHO CARES? He doesn’t drive the team bus, right? Does Ron Washington have some kind of duties that I’m not aware of, that make it OK to get on him about using drugs that have absolutely no known, demonstrable effect on his ability to manage a group of grown men playing a children’s game? This country is insane about this drug witch hunt crap.

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    I’ve deleted cru11’s comment. Dude: cut it out. I don’t want to see that kind of crap around here.
    (catchpa: “they koshered” — guess I gotta ban catchpa too)

  3. Joe L - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    The team statement makes no sense at all. Under what circumstances would a 57 year-old man try cocaine (cocaine!) for the first time? “Hey grandpa, before you leave for the ballpark, how about you hit this line with me?”
    Seriously? That’s the story? [In Gob’s voice] Come on!

  4. Bill Davis - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    First of all idiot it’s illegal,and just as bad if not worst than steroids. With that said I agree he should have a second chance, and move on as long as the players and management have respect for him and he stays clean.

  5. Mike - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    JOSH..so sick of “That’s racist”

  6. George - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    If you are in a position of leadership, then you must absolutely set the example with no excuses. He should have been fired!!!

  7. OldNo7 - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    I’ve come to the conclusion a long time ago that Craig is a big fan of one of the aforementioned cocaine cheats. I’m not sure which one. He’s upset that said cheat won’t be voted into the Hall of Fame and is on a mission to clear the cheat’s name by muddying the waters and implicating every baseball player (past and present) so that people throw their hands up and say, “ENOUGH!” Let everyone go into the Hall.
    Seeing as Craig writes an almost daily article about cocaine abuse in baseball, almost always siding with the abusers, his agenda is clear. I won’t let him do it. Not without a fight.

  8. David - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    Josh, I’m just curious. Have you passed all your recent tests?

  9. David - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    Josh, I’m just curious. Have you passed all your recent tests?

  10. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    [bowing reverently in Old No. 7’s direction]
    catchp: “mean worked”

  11. ssweeps - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    JUST FIRE HIM ALREADY!
    IF I FAILED A DRUG TEST FOR COCAINE AT MY WORK I WOULD BE FIRED!
    ‘NUFF SAID

  12. Lola - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:37 PM

    Hey genuis, are you mentally impaired? Your points are absolutly ridiculous, and, I’m sorry, but what was racist? Cocaine is an illegal, dangerous drug that no one should be doing. He should have been fired immediatly, because he is an addict. And, Josh, do you know when an addict is lying? Whenever they talk.

  13. dbrown212002 - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:45 PM

    Reply to Lola: Just because he failed a drug test, then you automatically assume he a drug addict. You obviously have never tried drugs, so before you run your mouth about something you obviously know nothing about, SHUT UP. if I tried tobacco one time, then I must be an ADDICT for tobacco, geez get a life.

  14. OldNo7 - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Folks always bring up this false equivalency with pro sports: “If I did what Tiger/Big Ben/A-Rod/Ron Washington did, I’d be fired from my job!”
    This may be true, but your job is different from their job. You haven’t won PGA majors, or multiple Super Bowls, or MVP awards, or, in Washington’s case, 87 games as manager of the Texas Rangers. Ron Washington has a rare skill, and it’s a skill that you and I don’t have. You and I have jobs in which we could be replaced by about a million other people, which is why no one knows our names and we pay money to see guys like Ron Washington do their jobs.
    My catchphrase this time is “mangrove before,” which is lame. But my first comment on this thread had “athletes dark-eyed,” which is incredibly awesome.

  15. SOONERinTEX - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    Who cares about drugs???? The fact that drug cartels are carving up Mexico like a Thanksgiving Turkey makes me care about drugs. Every time someone buys drugs, they support these cartels, that one day we are going to have to take more serious than the terrorists…I am all about second chances and don’t plan on boycotting the Rangers. I just wish people would look beyond the line on the table and the good time they are about to have. I am sure the families of the slain victims appreciate the money being given to those that killed their loved ones, so they could catch a good buzz.

  16. scatterbrian - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Crazy this is the dude who manages Josh Hamilton…

  17. sam - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    an addict? i dont think failing one drug test qualifies him as a drug addict..especially since he has passed all subsequent tests… he made a mistake of course.. but he is a stand up guy who admits hes wrong and is willing to take all the tests to put this behind him.. everyone deserves a second chance..now if he slips up again then fire him, but he is obviously well liked and respected with the rangers and must be doing something right

  18. John - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    You sound a big jerk and you must be doing drugs as well, you poor sole god pity you!im

  19. RedMosquito - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    Does Ron Washington deserve a second chance? SURE. After he was FIRED for using an illegal substance while the Rangers were in contention for an American League West title. The Rangers were in the race for nearly the whole season and their ‘star’ player is a recovering addict. Great example from the leadership position. I ask you all this… if YOU failed a company drug test, do you think you’d still have a job? Players and managers alike have clauses in their contracts that discuss ‘conduct detrimental to the organization’. Well? Sounds like snorting coke meets that criteria. I LOVE Ron Washington, but the truth is he didn’t just fail a test, HE BROKE THE LAW. Period.

  20. adam henry - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    wow 57 and still using coke. he will be lucky to make 60.

  21. Ron - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:52 PM

    John Milner, because he was everyone’s favorite!!!!!

  22. John - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    You sound like a big jerk and you must be doing drugs as well, you poor sole, anyone that does cocaine deserves to be fired and be in jail.

  23. scatterbrian - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Well played, OldNo7. Well played indeed.

  24. Keith - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM

    He should be fired. Cocaine is STILL an illegal substance under Federal and State drug laws. Josh, to use your reasoning, what if he was found guilty of rape? Well who cares, right? He should still be able to coach because a raping women says nothing about his ability to know the game of baseball right? lame argument dude

  25. Joey - Mar 17, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    The racist card is weak.Black White Brown, it is illegal. Personally I couldn’t care less if those guys are all railed up during a game. Most of our most famous entertainers in history have been high on something and we love watching them perform. As long as these guys aren’t making decisions that affect my family or this country, let em get high. What’s the worst thing that could happen to a coked up baseball player?

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