ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ron Washington might have become the first manager in World Series history to walk into a news conference before a game and state, "I'm not as dumb, either, as people think I am." It was classic Wash: self-deferential and funny, but just the same fiercely proud of his baseball acumen.
"I don't call it unorthodox," he said of his style, "I just call it taking it to you."
By the end of the night, Washington, a free-wheeling spirit with enormous trust in his players, had become not just the first manager in World Series history to intentionally put four runners on base and still win the game, but also the guy who left future Hall of Fame manage Tony La Russa awkwardly trying to wipe egg off his face after as sloppy a game you ever will see managed in a World Series, Williamsport included.
After a 4-2 game which was as much about how La Russa and St. Louis lost it as much as anything, the Rangers have a slim lead in the World Series, three games to two, needing one more win to end the third-longest championship drought in history, a title 51 years in the waiting. But the difference in the dugouts was a far more yawning gap.