ANAHEIM -- When Ron Washington was hired as manager of the Rangers in 2007, Perry Minasian was a staff assistant and helped run advance scouting for the club.
Minasian was immediately impressed by Washington’s work ethic and attention to detail, as he relayed in a story about one of their early interactions. Spring Training makes for long, tiring days, but Minasian made a point of running sprints at the end of each day before wrapping things up and heading home for the night.
One day when Minasian was running, he looked up and saw that Washington had stepped outside and was watching him. Washington hurried over, told Minasian his form was all wrong and gave him pointers on how to run correctly. It was a simple gesture, but it illustrated Washington’s innate desire and ability to coach and help others.
“It’s just an example, because he didn’t need to do that,” Minasian said. “I was not playing. I'm definitely not running the 100[-meter dash] in the Olympics. But that just goes to show you what type of human being he is. He'll help anybody he can help at any point, and I think that’s going to have a huge impact on the organization.”
Former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter shared a similar story, as he said that Washington always made it a point to give him advice, even when he was playing with the Twins and Washington was coaching with the A’s.
Hunter, who also interviewed for the managerial opening, was reported as a candidate for Washington’s staff but respectfully said he doesn’t plan to join. But he's open to an advisor role in the front office, as he believes in the direction of the organization, especially after the Angels hired Washington as manager.
“Ron is somebody who has imparted a lot on me along the way,” Hunter said. “When he was a coach with Oakland, he’d come out and watch Jacque Jones and I take BP. He’d even try to encourage us if we were in a slump. We were coming up as African Americans, and to see an African American coach who always took the time to talk to us, it was amazing. Ron Washington is a guy that I will always respect because of who he is as a human being and all the respect that he has in the game.”
Several former and current Angels players were on hand for Washington’s press conference on Wednesday, including outfielder Mickey Moniak and left-handers Patrick Sandoval and Kenny Rosenberg. Former Angels Chuck Finley, Mark Trumbo and Clyde Wright were also in attendance.
Moniak said he couldn’t help but come away impressed by Washington’s fiery opening speech, and he believes it’ll translate well in the clubhouse.
"I'd never met Ron in my life before today, but you really feel his energy and his passion,” Moniak said. “You feel like he's the guy for the job. I'm excited to get going in February. ... I'm excited for the guys to meet him. We're a tight group, and having Ron lead us is exciting. I think that's the word of the day."
Angels infield coordinator Mike Gallego also said he’s excited to work with Washington, who is known for his work with infielders. Los Angeles is also hiring Ryan Goins as an infield coach, but Washington will still find time to work with his infielders, given his background. Washington declared himself the best infield coach in baseball when talking to reporters.
“Who wouldn’t want a Ron Washington around every day?” Gallego said. “The energy he brings is very beneficial, especially [to] our young guys. It’ll be interesting to work alongside Ron as the infield coordinator. I’m sure I’m going to get some tips on how to reteach the infielders over there. But it’s not just Ron; he’s going to bring in a really good staff with a lot of baseball experience. It’s something this organization needs.”