Smiling Ron Washington: Don't jump ship

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There isn't a panic button in Ron Washington's office. You can't find one anywhere in the Texas Rangers' clubhouse.

That isn't going to change because an American League afterthought like the Kansas City Royals came to town and swept a two-game series. The Rangers' relentless optimism isn't going to fade just because a team now tied for the AL's best record (23-14) is a game under .500 since its 13-3 start.

In fact, Washington and his group of grinders find words like "worry" and "concern" funny, especially in the middle of May.

"Don't jump off the ship," Washington said with a grin as he headed back to his office following his postgame press conference after Tuesday's 7-4 loss to the Royals. "You'll sink. We'll return as a submarine and you can't get back on."

The Rangers have overcome a heck of a lot tougher situations en route to morphing into one of baseball's model franchises over the last few years.

Heck, just look back at their road to the club's first World Series, when the revelation of the manager's one-time cocaine use was a spring training stunner, the franchise's bankruptcy and rocky ownership transfer dominated headlines for most of the regular season, the Rangers almost blew a 2-0 lead before recovering to finally win a playoff series and they coughed up Game 1 to the mighty Yankees with a bullpen meltdown only to rebound by dismissing one of the most storied franchises in baseball.

It was that season that the Rangers started constantly referring to themselves as resilient. That's become part of their identity since then as the core has continued to play together and grow stronger.

Resiliency really is a combination of confidence and grit, two characteristics that can be found in abundance in the Rangers' clubhouse.

"We feel like we're always one pitch from turning anything around," Michael Young said. "That's one reason why I think we're a really good team.

"We believe in ourselves. Every guy individually here knows what they're capable of doing in this game. You combine that with some mental toughness and you're always one pitch, one at-bat, one swing from getting right back to where you want to be."

The Rangers are right where they want to be at the moment, sitting atop the AL West standings as the second-place Oakland A's come to town. Texas just hasn't played good baseball consistently over the last month.

The Rangers will report to work Wednesday afternoon expecting that to change for the better. That's just the way Wash's Rangers roll ... or float.