“Well, I think so, because he was there to dismiss. I have always worked for myself and you can’t do that. You basically have to straighten that guy out in the mirror when you work for yourself. But certainly, if I’d had the discretion, I’ve done it with coaches and certainly I would have changed a general manager.”
So said Jerral Wayne Jones, in an interview with Bob Costas that aired Sunday night before Dallas-Atlanta, when asked if Owner Jerry would have fired GM Jerry by now – although I still can’t tell what the “if” supposes, or what exactly he said.
Consider what’s happened around here since our last Election Day. In November 2008, when we last voted for President, Jon Daniels had completed his third season as Rangers GM, Ron Washington his second managing the club, Nolan Ryan his first as Team President.
Texas hadn’t won a playoff game since 1996, three elections earlier.
Neither had the Cowboys, but without any change at GM or Team President in those dozen failed years.
Since 2008: Rangers, 18 playoff wins. Cowboys, one.
And there’s no question which franchise has its window wide open to make more post-season noise, and which has one that’s hermetically sealed with seemingly no real effort from the front office to do anything about it.
I guess what Jones was saying is that he’d have fired his GM if it weren’t he. I guess.
It’s sort of mind-blowing. Or, you know, not at all.
Two days before Election Day 2008, the Cowboys, quarterbacked by Brad Johnson and Brooks Bollinger, got hammered by the Giants, 35-14.
The next day, the Rangers hired Mike Maddux by outspending the team who wanted him back for a seventh season. Since then there have been dozens more smart, aggressive, opportunistic moves by this organization to get better. Pitchers, hitters, prospects. Executives, coaches, scouts. Investors.
Across the aisle, the two constants at One Legends Way the last four years and well beyond have been Jerry Jones and a tolerated treadmill of mediocrity, locked in on cruise control.
Down the road, this market’s model franchise offers stability of an altogether different kind, one that doesn’t sit still, doesn’t lose sight, doesn’t settle. There’s obvious leadership. Accountability. A culture of winning. A unified front, a cohesive and hungry and creative and tenacious team of owners, business executives, and baseball operations officials, all intensely focused on setting the tone with wins on the field, dedicated to outworking and out-hiring the competition, a demonstration of all those things that candidates for office like to sell.
The Cowboys sell.
The Rangers do. And that sells.
One remains stagnant, seemingly comfortable with its place in the middle of the pack, obstinately and even smugly so, the other systemically self-motivated to be better today than it was yesterday.
Those of us who care about both the Rangers and Cowboys don’t have to vote for one over the other, but man, I sure wish there were at least a sense that they were both driven to be the best they can be, at every position on the field, on the sidelines, and in the front office.
The song goes: “When I go forwards, you go backwards, and somewhere we will meet,” but in this case, with respect to the baseball and football teams, even if you’re a Jerry Whisperer and can make sense out of the fuzzy math he dropped on Costas (1+1 = something, but is indivisible, or unsubtractable, or whatever), those two paths only widen a cavernous gap.
Whether our baseball team decides it needs to make a change or needs not to has one measure: Whether it helps the club win. Decisions are made by people qualified to make them. With critical input from people qualified to give it.
Winds of change, if they can make the organization better, are part of the discussion for one of the teams situated along Randol Mill.
For the other, it’s generally just winds.