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Rangers manager Ron Washington tested positive for cocaine last year

Mar 17, 2010, 1:52 PM EDT

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. Jonny5 - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    “On the one hand, the anti-drug sanctimony of most of these comments disappoints me. On the other hand, I’m somewhat happy to see that the people who are so adamantly against steroids are consistent with their “it’s TEH ILLEGAL DOOD!”
    I can’t agree. I feel steroid use is way worse. Should I be blushing? I’m not too sure. I feel the roid use is a big cheat, and big advantage over other players who follow the rules. Cocaine on the otherhand will just help keep the dugout clean. i can’t see how they compare in the realm of baseball. in the real world, i guess they’re just as bad, but in baseball, Imo, Steroids are a huge deal. Furthermore, If you can’t be canned for Juicing, why get canned for cocaine? That’s where I stand. Let the guy move on. if Mcguire can? So should Washington. I bet he’s a ball to hang out with though…. All those stories…

  2. Kathy - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Well said..

  3. airedale - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    Yeah, but he apologized real convincing like….
    I wonder where smoking crack, while shoving a needle in a player’s ass, while kicking an Umpire would rate on the MLB no no list??
    Maybe if Pete Rose apologizes really really nice, he’ll get a pass too?
    Is there any bigger liar than a drug abuser??
    Is Torii Hunter and the NAACP involved in this?

  4. YANKEES1996 - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    Josh your comments are an absolute waste of time as are you. The second comment that Craig should have banned was yours! The man is in a position of authority and at his age he should have no problem knowing right from wrong. If he had caught one of his players doing drugs the house would have come down. This country is not insane enough about illegal drugs as I can bear first hand witness to, the numbers of people killed and families destroyed by drugs during a normal work week in this country is staggering. I think the next time you decide to comment on a topic like this you should count to 100 before writing your feelings down or better yet keep your comments to yourself.

  5. Daniel G - Mar 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Again, problems with reading. No where was there a comment from Mr. Washington that this was his first time using drugs. That comment came from the author asking how many start at the age of 57. The comment Mr. Washington made was this was a one-time transgression, that does not have to mean it was his first time using it. Maybe he was using the term in more of a relapse sense, not first time use meaning. Regardless, I fail to see why it is impossible to think that someone has to start using drugs by a certain age if they are ever going to use them which seems to be the thought of some here.

  6. Mark - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    What did he do under the influence of cocaine? Has he done anything to harm the Rangers community? I haven’t heard of him bursting into anger, attacking anyone (physically or verbally), etc. Personality-wise, he is still a nice guy. People should be judged with their acts imposed on others (such as physical or mental attacks that were afore mentioned) as opposed to things he does by himself, in his own time, in the company of nobody. Most likely, no one saw him do this, he didn’t do anything to anyone when he took cocaine, so therefore, if you eliminated the use of cocaine, everything would be the same thing except this coming out.
    Learn the facts about cocaine as well. This “deadly, horrible” drug causes:
    Increased blood pressure
    Constricted blood vessels
    Dilated pupils
    Mental alertness
    Increased energy
    Increased heart rate
    Decreased appetite
    Increased temperature
    Effects last 15-30 minutes when smoked, and an hour when snorted. (Source)
    Does it really seem so bad? He had a 15-60 minute “high” from his one use of cocaine that was most likely done in the privacy of his own home. Honestly.. that actually seems like a waste of time, and something we shouldn’t really overanalyze.

  7. airedale - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:15 PM

    Josh…you really are as ignorant as I have always expected.
    A person is not allowed by you to be a racist ….
    ..but it’s okay for him to do cocaine because …
    according to Josh ( whom we all now have to assume has a Doctorate in all things drug, medicinal and statutorily related) drugs exhibit no demonstrative deleterious effect.

  8. scatterbrian - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:31 PM

    Sorry Keith, you are completely off your nut. Comparing cocaine use to rape? One is a victimless crime, and one is freaking rape!
    I never realized how much people like to demonize drug users (“Is there any bigger liar than a drug abuser??” “anyone that does cocaine deserves to be fired and be in jail.” “He should have been fired immediatly, because he is an addict. And, Josh, do you know when an addict is lying? Whenever they talk.”) Not that I agree a manager can dabble in blow and not suffer repercussions, but the ire thrown at Josh for his comment is kind of ridiculous.
    (tattooed Mr)

  9. DH - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Scatterbrian: It’s not a victimless crime. It sets a bad example for others. And many of these others get addicted and screws up their lives. Or they commit crimes to fuel their habit. It’s bad for society, which is why it is illegal. Take your brain beyond the first level of consequences and you’ll come to realize that.

  10. Jamie - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    So how does the “But it’s illegal!!” crowd feel about a manager who was caught drinking back in the ’20s? Should Connie Mack have been fired for testing positive for whiskey? And don’t come back with “it’s not the same thing”, because it is EXACTLY the same thing, only the intoxicants have changed.

  11. Brandon - Mar 17, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    Witch hunt? Since when is holding someone responsible for their actions a “witch hunt”? Mr Washington should be held accountable for his actions and suffer the consequences. Last time I checked cocaine is against the law.

  12. texasRanger - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    couple of lines on Friday night never hurt anybody.

  13. scatterbrian - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Are you seriously comparing “setting a bad example” to rape? Let’s say I go to a bar tonight, and some girl offers me a line of coke, and I do it. That’s just as bad as rape? Who did I directly harm, besides myself? You can expound on indirect support of drug cartels or whatever all you like, but that is miniscule compared to the effect rape has on someone. You should be embarrassed for even trying to equate the two.
    (been kegel)

  14. Jack Marshall - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    Boy, I dunno, Craig, I think I prefer the sanctimonious to the “if you were important in your job your boss wouldn’t fire you for using” and “its a victimless crime” nonsense. I haven’t seen so many rationalizations being used in place of logic in a long time.

  15. MH - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    CRACKHEAD…….Enough said!!!

  16. anton newcombe - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Wow, I learned something today. Anyone who uses an illegal drug is instantly evil and is on the same level of a rapist. Thanks for educating me, retarded commenters!

  17. scatterbrian - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    “its a victimless crime”
    I used that in response to cocaine use being compared to rape. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. Maybe I should have said “it’s not a brutal crime against another innocent person that often involves abduction and violence.”
    Less nonsensical?
    (The clammy)

  18. Rays fan - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    “Isn’t it possible that the positive was a false positive?”
    Actually, no, or at least extremely unlikely. The typical drug testing program uses two sample from the employee. the “A” sample gets a screening test–that has lots of false positives. However, its purpose isn’t to nail the user, it’s to cut how many $$ are spent on doing the confirmatory test. If the “A” is positive, then the “B” sample gets the confirmatory test–gas chromatography/mass spectometry. GC/MS is accurate to the point of being considered absolute, as in admissible in court to the same level as finger prints. As for your implication of the possibility of mixed up samples–every testing program I’ve participated in has very strict chain-of-custody protocols & anything that breaks that chain automatically renders the test “negative” no matter what the lab result was.
    Plus, the guy admitted he did it.
    For everyone giving the “if I did this, I’d be fired” venting–most employers do not have drug testing programs, other than pre-employment testing. Most that do have very strong reasons for it (truck drivers, pilots, nuclear workers, military, etc) that involve public safety–so, yes, you would be fired. Baseball has drug testing for PR reasons relating back to the very case that craig detailed in this post. I hate drugs on many levels, but think the Rangers did the right thing.

  19. dbrown - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    Comment to Glenn, ur an idiot, since he is 57, u naturally assume he is an addict, if he was an addict, he wouldnt be passing all the other drug test, and if he was a Cocaine addict, he would not be Managing any baseball team, MLB, NCAA, or Pee Wee. Look up the definition of an addict beforee you try to make another idiotic point. Obama tried cocaine in college and is not in his late 30′s or early 40′s, I guess he is addicted to cocaine to right?

  20. Rays fan - Mar 17, 2010 at 5:52 PM

    “This drug, and all others, should be legal and regulated.”
    The drug IS “legal and regulated!” It’s on schedule 2 of the Controlled Substances Act. It has legitimate use, for example, in the hands of an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor doing nasal surgery. The crime was using the drug without a prescription for recreational purposes–which happens to be very dangerous and stupid. (Google Len Bias, John Belushi, Ken Caminiti–Belushi and Camiti had other drugs in their system on autopsy as well)

  21. credd - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Everyone, of course, cocaine is illegal, but most of America uses legal (prescription) and illegal drugs. There’s not enough jails to put all those who have tried drugs in them. Should Pres. Bush be in jail, Pres. Obama, Josh Hamilton? Think of all the people you know that has tried drugs, did you turn them in? Meth is one of the most commonly used drug, some are in your family, are you calling 911 now? Most suburban housewives abuse prescription drugs, most teenagers smoke underage, most young men under 25 smoke marijuana, Xtasy is so common in clubs, are you still on the phone with 911? This country LOVES drug, this country LOVES drugs!! Remember, America needed alcohol also!

  22. niteowl26 - Mar 17, 2010 at 6:22 PM

    This should be fire and kicked out of the MLB.

  23. jwb - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    Isn’t it possible that the positive was a false positive? Or maybe a mixed up sample?
    No. He informed his employers of his situation before the test results came back.
    Or they commit crimes
    Like giving Matt Harrison 63.3 IP! The humanity! Think of the children!
    Should Connie Mack have been fired for testing positive for whiskey?
    I’m pretty sure Connie Mack didn’t drink; he was his own boss anyway. John McGraw, on the other hand. . .
    It seems that the Rangers are following the JDA playbook for players with respect to management: First offense for a drug of abuse: Anonymity, counseling, and a more stringent testing policy. This seems like a reasonable approach.
    reCaptcha disagrees with me: “entirely no”

  24. godfrey - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    apparently you haven’t heard of ozzy osbourne? how about Jack Nicholson? once you learn to live w/ it, it’s just like coffee.
    I must also state that i do NOT support its use due to the mistakes it’s caused so many people to make. but he’ll probably live his normal lifespan.

  25. Bob Langfelder - Mar 17, 2010 at 7:29 PM

    Get real America has a Drug problem! Just watch TV, every other commercial is a drug or a beer commercial. Legal or ” illegal” drugs are big business. From Pharacueticals to alcohol and tobacco, to illegal street drugs they all have one thing in common, they all sell drugs for a profit $$$$.. Let’s get real and take a look at our drug crazed society. To me, Drs and dealers both push dangerous drugs.. You got a bobo, oh take some oxy, it’s legal (Heroin) with a prescription. Oh, want to have fun, here drink a beer! When Profit takes precedent over people.. well someone is going to get hurt..

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