|Texas manager Ron Washington|
Anyway, I was out at one of the practices during the week leading up to the Cotton Bowl game and the offense ran this incredibly complex trick play that actually worked. After the practice, the two or three sportswriters who were there huddled around head coach Darrell Royal and asked him if he was going to use that play or one like it in the bowl game.
"Nah," he drawled. "You gotta dance with who brung ya," meaning the Horns were going to rely on the same dynamic running game that had been successful all season.
Now I immediately recognized that as I great quote and was silently screaming at the gods for not having a place to publish it. But it was published by the others who were there and it immediately became a sports truism and earned a permanent spot in sports lexicon.
I have been thinking a lot about that moment lately because if manager Ron Washington had followed it, the Texas Rangers might be the current reigning major league baseball champions.
For most of the season, reliever Neftali Feliz was the Rangers’ closer. It wasn’t Feliz’s fault that in the ninth inning of Game 6 Nelson Cruz badly misplayed a routine fly ball that allowed the Cardinals to score a pair of runs and send the game into extra innings. But then Josh Hamilton gave the team new life with a two-run homer in the top of the 10th.
Why wasn’t Feliz on the mound in the bottom of the 10th?
This is the crucial moment in the Series. There is no reason to protect Feliz for a game the next day that should never take place. You think the Yankees’ Joe Giraldi would have pulled Manny Riviera had he been in this situation? Not a chance. You gotta dance with who brung ya.
I have yet to see an explanation from Wash on why he lifted Feliz. I’m not sure anyone has posed the question. I just hope general manager Josh Daniels and majority owner Nolan Ryan bring it up in their post-season interviews with Washington and that they receive an answer that warrants keeping Wash around another year as the Rangers skipper.