ARLINGTON -- Ron Washington was in his first Spring Training as Rangers manager, and had a million things on his mind. The last thing he was thinking about was the All-Star Game.
Then, later in that 2007 camp, he received a phone call from Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who was going to be the skipper of the American League All-Star squad. Leyland asked Washington to be one of his coaches.
"It meant everything to me, especially considering the period of time that he asked," Washington said. "We were still in Spring Training. It was early in Spring Training. Then I get a phone call from him asking him about the All-Star Game. Jimmy could have been doing anything else but calling and asking about Ron Washington. But Jimmy's a class act.
"It meant a lot to me, because I've got a ton of respect for Jim Leyland. He's one of those old-school guys who is always willing to share his experience and knowledge. It meant so much that he would ask me to join his coaching staff at the All-Star Game. [I'd] never had any thought of going to the All-Star Game."
Washington is now the manager of the AL team, for the second straight year. He was the skipper in 2011 when the AL lost, 5-1, at Chase Field in Phoenix. But that 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco stands out as the first he ever participated in while wearing a Major League uniform. In addition, he spent 11 years in the Bay Area as a third base/infield coach for the Athletics.
"It was awesome to be there, and although we were on the San Francisco side, there were still a lot of Bay Area fans," he said. "I had a pretty good legacy there in that area. It was nice of Jim to think of that and associate it. What stood out was, we won. Justin Verlander started, went two innings. Ichiro [Suzuki] hit an inside-the-park home run, and I was waving him in. Carl Crawford hit a bomb.
"I was just happy to be a part of it. I had never been to one before, except for once in Minnesota. This was the first time in uniform. The way I went about my business is the way I would have [gone] about my business if I was a coach. I showed up, I put on my uniform, I mingled with the guys, I mingled with the coaching staff, I grabbed my fungo, I grabbed my glove, I went to the field, I hit fungo, I threw BP. That was it. I was doing something that I hadn't had the opportunity to do in a long time, and that was coach."
The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City on Tuesday, July 10. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and Sirius XM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.