…and his name is C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers, the hurler responsible for a grand slam by newly acquired Yankee Richie Sexson in the 8th inning of a home victory in Arlington. The Dallas Morning News’ Evan Grant, dismayed by Wilson’s comportment after serving up said meatball, declared “the club can’t afford to have somebody sulking and ruining what is the best chemistry this team has had since I’ve been around it.”
When you flip the ball to the manager and start walking off the mound before he’s even on top of it, you might as well flip the manager off. It’s just disrespectful. And it was disrespectful in front of the entire team, a crowd of more than 34,000 people and a pretty large local TV audience. Which is why Ron Washington grabbed him, gave him the ball back and made him hand the ball properly. And it’s why the first thing Washington did after the game was call Wilson into his office for a 30-minute meeting to settle this once and for all. Washington was not going to risk the extreme asset of chemistry that this team has. No matter what came out of that meeting, I’m confident, it wasn’t going to end with Wilson being on the active roster. Would the Rangers have forced him on the DL if Wilson hadn’t asked for it? Probably. Would they have demoted him to Oklahoma had the DL not been an option? Well, it never got that far.
Players and management alike were upset with the act and they were proud of the way Washington handled it. While this morning’s story may have harped on Wilson’s action and the particular incident, the underlying moral is this: This team’s chemistry makes it able to do the unthinkable (like be in a playoff race with an ERA of 5.26). The club couldn’t risk having that chemistry negatively impacted by a selfish act. The swift thinking by Washington on the mound and the swift action after the game, turned what could have been a very divisive action into a positive development.