Every offseason Ron Washington returns home, to the Ninth Ward in New Orleans, to the same modest house where he and his wife, Gerry, have lived since he was a back-up middle infielder two decades ago. No one bothers him there. "Some don't know who I am," he says, of his neighbors. "And I like it like that. Because I like to cut grass. I like to wash my cars. I like to do stuff outside. People just pass and wave and keep going. And that's good."
Washington may never again get to cut his grass in peace. This October, he's gotten more air time on FOX than Simon Cowell, with his dugout boogying, animated mound visits, and unorthodox (some would say, downright crazy) in-game tactics. But now he has a chance to become more than the free-spirited skipper who had some funny lines in Moneyball. With one more win, Ron Washington will be the genius who out-smarted La Genius, the man who led the Texas Rangers to their first-ever championship.
In this wonderfully wacky and weird World Series where the managers have taken center stage, no one has more at stake right now than Texas' fifth-year manager. Love him or hate him, Tony La Russa has two rings and is already a lock for Cooperstown. But Washington? The manager who has slotted arguably his best hitter eighth in the order? The manager who in Game 5 became the first skipper in World Series history to intentionally walk a batter with no one on base?