Washington waited many, many years before getting his first managerial opportunity. And then, in his fourth season guiding Texas, he led the Rangers to their first-ever World Series. This after he tested positive for cocaine during his third season and survived.
Yes, Washington is a survivor, an underdog, however you want to put it. He is beloved by his players -- just as he was by players in Oakland during his 11 seasons as an Athletics coach. Part of it is his baseball knowledge. Part of it is his humanity -- his compassion, his understanding, his ability to relate to people. And part of it is his directness, which comes peppered in his own unique, colorful language.
Which is why one of tonight's All-Star Game highlights figures to occur in the privacy of the American League clubhouse, away from the public eye.
"His pre-game speech is going to be a classic," Rangers designated hitter Michael Young says. "I'm going to have to record it. I'm going to make sure I have a front-row seat.
"It might be the first All-Star speech where f--- is said about 30 times."
Young's point is well taken, though his accuracy is ripe to be questioned.
Let's remember, the Dodgers' Tommy Lasorda managed the NL club five times.
Meantime, Washington's response? Don't hold your breath.
"It's not going to happen," he said, chuckling, in the AL clubhouse Tuesday just before batting practice. "I gave it to them yesterday. Today is the fake stuff."