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I don't think Nolan Ryan is big on P.R.

Mar 18, 2010, 9:57 AM EDT

Nolan Ryan cowboy.jpgI was on Sirius XM’s MLB Home Plate this morning and I was asked something I hadn’t considered before that moment:  In light of the Rangers’ decision to give Ron Washington a second chance, will it now be harder to fire him for poor performance than it would be to fire any other manager? I took that to mean would it be harder from a PR perspective and would it be construed as caving to media pressure or something.

My answer, which now that I’ve had an hour to think on it I feel even more strongly about: Nolan Ryan is the last guy who cares about petty public relations games. My guess is that Washington will keep his job as long as the team contends and that if the team disappoints, he’ll be fired.  And when he is fired, Ryan will say “I
fired him because we stink,” and that’ll be that.

I think we in the media tend to over think the PR implications of everything, and that the whole “fire Washington/don’t fire Washington” thing is an example of that. There were and there still are far more important considerations than PR in this situation: would keeping Washington last year be a bad move for the team? Would it be good or bad for him as a person? Would disciplining him last year raise employment law concerns? Same too with firing him at some undetermined point in the future, although in that case the biggest question by far is whether or not Washington maintains control of the team and puts them in a position to win baseball games.

Which is what every manager is up against.  Not too many of them get to leave their jobs on their own terms. Bobby Cox will this fall. Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and probably Lou Piniella will. Maybe Ron Gardenhire.  Everyone else?  They get canned eventually. Unless he wins a ring or two, Ron Washington will someday as well. And when it happens, I don’t think anyone will be thinking too hard about the cocaine.

(BTW: how often do you think Nolan Ryan is asked to pose this way for pictures)

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    You were on? How’d I miss it? What time?

  2. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    About 8:20 or so.

  3. Jonny5 - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    He’s probably not big on P.R. Just hope he doesn’t think P.R. stands for something he doesn’t like, then he’ll be big on punching you in the snout craig! LOL!

  4. Jason @ IIATMS - Mar 18, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    Sure, while I was getting b’fast at work. Figures. I woulda called to heckle.

  5. Robin Ventura - Mar 18, 2010 at 11:06 AM

    He definitely doesn’t care about PR. Trust me, I know firsthand.

  6. Charles Gates - Mar 18, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Not putting a high value on PR is different than being ignorant of it. The first is an organizational strategy. The second has the real potential to alienate a lot of fans.

  7. bwh - Mar 18, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    Scioscia maybe could be added to the list

  8. Ron - Mar 18, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    Nolan Ryan for Commissioner of Baseball!!!!!!!
    Time to go, Bud, and get someone in the job who actually cares about the game and the fans, and not making money for the owners.

  9. Jack Marshall - Mar 18, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    It’s one thing to say that the decision won’t be driven by PR, and another to argue that a manager who has tested positive for cocaine mid-season isn’t down a couple strikes. Are you really saying that if the Rangers look shaky, and a manager who hadn’t tested positive would hold on to his job by the hairs on his chinny-chin-chin, a manager who HAD tested positive will also, on Nolan’s team or anyone else’s? Because I think that’s both unrealistic and naive…a little like saying that E. Dukes was only released for “baseball reasons.”

  10. jwb - Mar 18, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    By all accounts I’ve read, Ron Washington is a very likable guy. Likable guys catch breaks, people want to be nice to them. As long as he flies straight (attends counseling sessions, passes frequent piss tests) this won’t be held against him.
    By all accounts I’ve read, Elijah Dukes is a PITA. PITAs don’t catch breaks.
    Did you see that Milton Bradley got tossed for a relatively minor transgression?

  11. Morgan W - Mar 18, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    How can this manager possibly tell young players to get in line when he is out ‘trying’ coke last season ?????
    So every player has one so called ‘get out of jail free’ card if they misbehave/slack/turn up late following a big night/test positive for class A narcotics ???
    Could be a great guy/great manager but hes got to go!

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