Managers have been in the news before for substance abuse — Billy Martin comes to mind because of alcoholism. Butch Hobson got caught with cocaine after he was manager of the Red Sox.
But this is the first time I can recall a current manager testing positive for an illegal drug. Managers and coaches started being tested for drugs in 2008, as per the Mitchell Report's suggestion.
Here's what Washington told S.I. by phone on Tuesday:
"I did make a mistake and I regret that I did it," Washington said. "I am really embarrassed and I am really sorry.
"Any attempt to try to explain it is going to sound like excuses," he said. "There is no right way to explain something wrong, and I did wrong. Was it tension? Maybe. Anxiety?''
The Rangers are having a press conference. Here's what I want them to explain:
How can cocaine user Ron Washington be the manager of Josh Hamilton(notes), who is — God love him — a recovering crack addict? This seems completely incompatible with Hamilton's aftercare program which, probably, will last the rest of his life.
Since being flagged in July, Washington has passed every test and has said he welcomes more testing. Good for him. And reports say the bulk of the Rangers organization stands behind Washington. Even better.
I'm not saying that Washington — who claims at 57 years old that he tried cocaine for the first time — doesn't deserve a job, or a second chance, or whatever.
But how can he be an authority figure to Hamilton with any credibility? He can't.
"I am not here to make excuses. There are none. I am not here to ask for sympathy. That would be asking too much.
"I fully understand that I disappointed a lot of people — my family, my players, coaches, as well as the team's leadership, especially Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels, as well as young people who may have looked up to me.
"I am truly sorry for my careless, dangerous, and frankly, stupid, behavior last year.
"Clearly, you have never seen me speak from a script before. But this is a time that I need to get the words exactly right.
"Here's the biggest question: 'How and why did this happen?'
"That's a question I have had to face in numerous sessions with counselors. I've learned a lot about myself personally, and I recognize that this episode was an attempt to dodge personal anxieties and personal issues I needed to confront.
"That was the wrong way to do it. It was self-serving, and believe me, not worth it. I know you will ask, and so here's the answer: this was the one and only time I used this drug.
"I made a huge mistake, and it almost caused me to lose everything I have worked for all of my life.
"Shortly after I did this, MLB notified me that I would have a routine drug test. Before even taking the test, I notified the league about the drug use. Right after that test, I told Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan about my shameful behavior. I offered them my resignation.
"They asked a lot of difficult questions. Remarkably, these two men, after a lot of thought and prayer, allowed me to stay here through last season.
"However, they also directed me to immediately begin MLB's drug treatment program, which is a thorough and exhaustive process, and it includes the administration of drug tests at least three times a week.
"I am proud to report to you that I have completed that program. I am not proud to admit this terrible error.
"This morning, I talked to our players. I assured them that this will never happen again, and I asked them to forgive me. In the true spirit of a 'team,'' they seemed to embrace me not only as a manager but as a human being. I won't let you down again. Please know that I will personally take on the challenge of telling young people my story and my mistake. I don't know what form that will take, but I am committed to do that.
"I am hopeful that our fans, both Rangers fans and Major League Baseball fans, will accept this heartfelt and humble attempt to say: I'm so sorry for what I did."
- Ron Washington