Beasley on ups and downs of 1st week as interim manager

August 21st, 2022

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletterclick here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Just over 10 years ago, Josh Johnson played for Tony Beasley at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in the Nationals organization.

For Johnson, he said it was an honor for him to be coached and managed by another Black man, especially one like Beasley, who puts so much into the game and the people around him.

Now the two are reunited on the same field once again, with Beasley as the Rangers’ interim manager and Johnson as the new first-base coach. For Beasley, it’s not lost on him that he’s just the third active Black manager in MLB, joining the Astros’ Dusty Baker and the Dodgers’ Dave Roberts.

“I really didn't think about that [at first],” Beasley said. “I guess that's a different level of honor. I'm aware that I am in a position that I'm representing a lot of people and somewhat carrying a torch too. Sometimes we talk about not getting the opportunity to manage [as Black men] and so, hopefully I can do a good enough job and I don't stain the reputation of whether we can or can't be effective as a manager. It is a big job. I don't take it lightly.”

Beasley is also looking ahead to Aug. 30-31, when the Rangers will face the Astros at home before facing them again in Houston from Sept. 5-7. He’ll be able to look across the field at another Black man in Baker, managing a World Series-winning organization.

He recalls walking into the visiting manager’s clubhouse at Target Field and seeing pictures of each club’s manager hanging on the wall, in rows of five. His picture was newly hung alongside Baker’s.

“I felt special, like I’m with Dusty,” Beasley said. “We’ve actually been playing phone tag since I got this opportunity. I talk to him every time we play and I respect him. I love how he gets the most out of his players and how they respect him. If I could be just 10% of what Dusty Baker is, I’ll do just fine.”

Admittedly, Beasley has not had a smooth ride in his first time managing a Major League club, through no fault of his own. It’s been a chaotic week for the Rangers, as they followed up the dismissal of manager Chris Woodward with the subsequent parting of ways with president of baseball operations Jon Daniels two days later.

Beasley described the vibe as “numb” earlier in the week, but noted it’s calmed down in recent days.

"Today is the first day [this week] I feel like myself, to be honest with you," Beasley said prior to Thursday’s 10-3 win over the A’s. “It’s a lot. I’ve been in Wonderland for the last three days. Let's be real about it, I'm human. I would love to sit here and tell you I had everything in order and lined up and planned every solution for every question. That's not the reality of it.

"The reality of it is that it was a surprise to me, everything that's happened the last three days, and I was asked to be in charge and to embrace that. I believe we can. We can move the needle forward.”

Getting back to himself involved a lot of input from friends and family around him, all of whom made sure to let him know that he didn’t have to carry the weight of the entire organization on his shoulders. 

Bluntly, he said the situation sucks, even if it is a dream come true for him to be managing a big league squad. But it’s still baseball and it’s still supposed to be fun every day. He wanted to get back to trusting himself and his instincts every day to get the organization going in the right direction.

“I lead a prayer, a prayer group in the offseason on Tuesdays and Thursday mornings, and it's 6:30 a.m.,” Beasley said on Thursday. “Somehow at 5:30 this morning, I woke up and I just joined the prayer group. It was good. I needed it. It was like it was just for me. The message was talking about keeping your eye on the prize and not getting sidetracked and worrying about everything that's going on around you. Staying locked in on and focused on what keeps me centered and keeps me being who I am.”

While not wanting to put the cart before the horse, Beasley candidly said he would want to remain with the organization, even if he doesn’t come out of the season as the full-time manager. General manager Chris Young echoed his sentiment, noting Beasley’s importance to the organization for eight years. 

“I love Beas and I would welcome him being a Texas Ranger in any capacity,” Young said. “We'd be lucky to have him.”

“This is my heart,” Beasley said. “This is my home. My desire is that when I’m done [coaching], I’d be done in a Rangers uniform, in whatever capacity that is. … This is where I want to be.”