'Popular' Washington finally gets his opportunity

In a 2005 interview with Sports Illustrated for Kids, Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez reeled off a list of 10 things that he can't live without. Among his favorite things: Oreo cookies, video games, the movie "Gladiator" and his four (now six) Gold Gloves.

That didn't prevent Chavez from giving his third Gold Glove trophy to Oakland coach Ron Washington, the man most responsible for molding a formerly apprehensive fielder into a steel trap at third base. Chavez presented it with the inscription, "Not without you, Wash."

Oakland general manager Billy Beane calls Washington "arguably the most popular coach we've had since I've been here," which covers a span of 18 years. So it was no surprise that when Texas hired Washington as its new manager, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and assistant GM Thad Levine received a flood of calls and e-mails from baseball operatives telling them they'd made an inspired choice.