But sadly, it's true. It happened in the middle of last season, in July of last year. And since then, the local sports outlets have been in a frenzy, to say the least. Here's what we know so far:
- Washington says it was a one-time thing, an "attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues.'' I have no reason not to take him at his word, for now.
- He informed the league, along with team president Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels soon after the incident, noting that he would likely fail any drug test that might be given to him shortly thereafter.
- Such a test did take place, and he did fail it. He has completed the MLB's drug treatment program.
- He offered his resignation to Ryan and Daniels after the positive test, and that request was declined.
Our local paper, the Dallas Morning News, is all over the story. Among other things, they report that Ft. Worth Star-Telegram columnist Randy Galloway has filed a story that a disgruntled former employee tried to blackmail the team by threatening to expose the results of Washington's test, but Ryan and Daniels have refuted that story. (Still, it makes one wonder how the results, which are supposed to be confidential, were leaked.) The DMN's Tim Cowlishaw thinks that Washington may not be long for the Rangers. as the team can't afford to stand by him for very long. And the newspaper's nattering nabob of negativity, Jean-Jacques Taylor, thinks that thinks Wash should have been fired right away, no questions asked (although JJT later predicts on his blog that the manager is likely to finish the season with the team. Meanwhile, the players seem to have his back. And the key points of the story are summarized here.
One of the underlying themes of this whole thing is the idea of second chances, and the fact that the Rangers are willing to give them can be summed up in two words: Josh Hamilton. I'll agree with Cowlishaw that a manager snorting coke seems to be uncharted territory (whereas far too many players have gotten in trouble for such a thing), but it seems that Washington has done everything properly since the unfortunate incident. I say let him manage, and if the team falls far short of Ryan's projected 92 wins, Wash will be outta here anyway. In the meantime, I wish the best for the man, who obviously had some big problems and chose a very, very bad way to solve them.