The Atlanta Braves parted ways with coach Ron Washington earlier this week, with the coach taking a manager position with the Los Angeles Angels. It is a well-deserved promotion for a coach who had success managing the Rangers and has been with the Braves since 2017.
What Ron Washington meant to the Atlanta Braves franchise cannot be understated and was obvious to anyone who spent time around the team and watched them closely. Washington was pivotal in Atlanta's culture change and helped this team to a World Series title in the 2021 season.
Making Washington's contributions all the more impressive is the fact the veteran coach was a finalist for the Braves managerial position that was given to Brian Snitker. Washington still joined the Braves staff and has been a rumored target for manager positions over the past few seasons.
While many Braves fans will understandably point out Washington's extensive on-field work on improving Atlanta's defense as the thing that stands out most about his time in Atlanta, there is more to his impact than that.
What Ron Washington brought to the Atlanta Braves was a joy and energy that simply cannot be matched
Whether it was Washington's "hand dance" with his sluggers or his obvious joy he took in the defensive work, it is impossible as a fan not to love Washington. The Angels manager gives all the dedication and focus you want from a member of your coaching staff while remembering the most important thing. This is a kid's game that is meant to be played with emotion, joy, and the understanding of the privilege that has been given. Few players or coaches embody that sentiment as perfectly as Ron Washington did for the Atlanta Braves over the last half-decade.
From the Angels' perspective, you are bringing in a leader for a team obviously in need of a culture reset. With Shohei Ohtani hitting free agency and Mike Trout consistently injured, this team needs an identity.
While that change is likely to take time, baseball fans have been robbed of watching Trout in the playoffs for far too long. If the slugger is able to remain healthy, Washington is the perfect manager to end the Angels' playoff drought (though the team will need to reinforce the rotation and bullpen this offseason).
No question Atlanta Braves fans will be keeping an eye on Washington's Angels this season and wishing their former coach nothing but the best.