Fans at Rangers Ballpark have seen highlights from the Texas Rangers' 2010 postseason flashed on the fancy new videoboard before each game this season.
Included in the montage, along with the key hits and series-clinching outs, is footage of manager Ron Washington just being himself.
In one clip, he has a stranglehold on bench coach Jackie Moore as the final out of the American League Division Series is about to be secured. In another, he's frantically windmilling his right arm as the Rangers score yet another run in the final game of the AL Championship Series.
That's Washington, the energetic and passionate manager who has captured the dedication of his players and Rangers fans, who wanted him fired after losing seasons in his first two years.
Many baseball fans outside of the Metroplex got their first taste of Washington in October as he guided the Rangers to the World Series. They will get another glimpse Tuesday as he manages the American League team at the 82nd All-Star Game.
"I'm just as excited as any player who gets excited," Washington said. "That's me. It's not fake. That's who I am. If I try to do it any differently that wouldn't be me."
Washington's peers say his energy makes the Rangers want to play hard for him, something that has been pegged as the No. 1 strength of the fifth-year manager.
Players see him hitting fungos, throwing batting practice and sweating profusely before games, then watch as he immerses himself in each game, embraces each big play and protects his players win or lose.
"Players just respect and trust Ron so much," said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy, who will manage the National League team at Chase Field in Phoenix. "It's that enthusiasm in the dugout. The players feed off him. They play so hard for him because they know how much he does work."
The Rangers run the bases more aggressively than any team in the major leagues, as evidenced last season by their 123 stolen bases and their baseball-best 122 instances of going first-to-third on a single.
Even defensively the Rangers play with aggression.
That's a reflection of Washington, who wants the Rangers to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them even if they have to take risks to do it.
The players are all for it, and feed off Washington's energy to accomplish it.
"It is infectious, and he's like that every day," Rangers outfielder and All-Star starter Josh Hamilton said. "It's fun to be in the dugout and watch him, how he reacts or doesn't react to certain situations.
"He's just a good guy. You couldn't find a guy in here who doesn't have a good word to say about Wash as a manager and as a leader. He's a man of integrity. When he makes mistakes, he admits to it and doesn't try to hide behind any excuses. That's somebody I can look up to."
Washington is hardly a stranger in the game. He's a baseball lifer with a thick catalog of friends, and he's been a big league coach or manager since 1996.
But the goal this week for the four Rangers All-Stars -- possibly five, if Alexi Ogando is named today as a replacement -- is to expose the game's greatest players to their manager.
"It's going to be fun," Hamilton said. "I think they'll be pleasantly surprised by him. I'm sure they've never heard anything bad about him as a manager, but it'll be good to have him in there."
The players get the bulk of the credit for the Rangers' success, and that's fine by Washington. But he received ample attention during the playoff run, which helped to push away the cloud of a failed drug test, and will get more praise this week as the AL All-Star manager and with his Rangers sitting pretty in the AL West.
He doesn't necessarily care for all the national attention, but he deserves it.
"I still believe that anybody that accomplishes anything, they accomplish it because other people helped them," Washington said. "I'm willing to deflect and give people credit for some of my accomplishments. I'm just not into me."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760