Bobby Jones is the most successful manager in Oklahoma City Triple-A history, winning five division titles in eight seasons with the RedHawks. He managed the Oklahoma City RedHawks when they were the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers moved their Triple-A club to Texas two years ago, and Jones is now manager of Round Rock. He was in the Texas Rangers' dugout during the postseason last year, including the World Series.
What was it like having a bird's-eye view of that World Series from the dugout?
It was awesome. I wasn't supposed to be in the dugout. The sixth or seventh coach or whatever is supposed to stay in the clubhouse. I said the heck with it, I'm coming down. Game 6 in St. Louis was unbelievable. It was sad, but awesome too.
Did you have a coaching assignment?
No. Basically I just go up at the end of the season and throw batting practice. If they have a left-handed pitcher that day, I would throw to the lineup so they could see left-handed pitching. But that was about it.
Have you ever seen any baseball series quite like that World Series?
I never have. It was crazy. One night they blow us out when (Albert) Pujols hits all those home runs and the next night we come back to win. It was so much fun to be there and be involved with it. It was heartbreaking to lose it, but at least we were there.
What was the mood in the Rangers' clubhouse following Game 6?
Everybody was down. It was a situation where you walk in and everybody is down and thinking about what could have been. They kept putting the celebration stuff up and taking it back down, putting it back up and taking it down. After a half-hour or so and all the media came in, they started sitting around and saying, “Hey, we got Game 7.” And boom, it was like a light came on and we were going to come out tomorrow and get 'em.
Did the emotional loss in Game 6 carry over to Game 7?
When they came out in Game 7 and scored two right off the bat, everybody was high as a kite. Then here they come right back and score two and everybody was “Uh-oh, we are in a game again.” They had confidence all the way. They just didn't get it done.
Can you pinpoint one thing that lost the Rangers the World Series?
I can't. Sometimes it's like it wasn't meant to be. In the ninth and you are one strike away and then we didn't get it done. One strike away in the 10th and we didn't get it done. It was back and forth, back and forth, a fun game to watch, but I can't really pinpoint one thing why we didn't win it.
Many people think Game 6 is the greatest World Series game every played. Do you agree?
Could be. I don't if it's the greatest ever played because of the errors, they missed a pop-up and all that, but it probably is the most exciting and intense that was ever played. It was great for the fans and great for baseball.
The entire World Series was hard-fought with tight baseball games.
The only one that wasn't is when Pujols went crazy and hit those three home runs. Other than that, everything was neck and neck the whole way.
What were you thinking in the dugout when Pujols was making history in that game?
It's something you always dream about as a player. You knew the talent that he was. The way he carries himself, he is so sure of himself. That night he was just on fire.
Were you thinking the Rangers should quit pitching to him?
Ron (Washington) walked him quite a few times after that. If the situation called for it, they put him on base.
How long did the sting of losing the World Series last?
For me, just being up there in September and not being there the whole year, I would be dreaming about it in January. I could still see the whole thing happening again. Some of these guys said they got over it in January before spring training. You got to sit down and realize it's a game. We had our chance and we didn't get it, so let's go try it again. You got to put it behind you. You can't dwell on it. You can't change it. Forget about it and start all over again.
Do you think the Rangers were the best team?
Yes, I do. I think they were. One pitch and they are the best team. They were in it and they fought and they had their chances. They just didn't get it done. St. Louis came in hot as the wild card team and had to fight all the way through the last 10 and 12 days of the season to get where they were. They were old veterans at it. They knew the pressures.
Ten or 20 years from now, what is going to your most vivid memories of that World Series?
Game 6. Gotta be. In the ninth inning when (David) Freese hit that ball and then at the end when they walked off. Seeing Gerald Laird, who was a player for me in Okie City, to see him come flying out of that dugout and hugging everybody at home plate. That is going to be the biggest memory.
Did you think (Nelson) Cruz was going to catch the ball when Freese hit the triple in the ninth inning of Game 6 to tie the game?
I thought it was going to be caught. I really did. Then all of sudden you saw the ball just tail a little bit to the right and then all of sudden you see Cruz wasn't going to get there. Luckily, (Neftali) Feliz got the last out and Freese didn't score so we go extra innings.
Why didn't Feliz pitch the 10th inning in Game 6?
I don't know. They said he was too emotional. From what I understand, I didn't actually see it, but they said when he came in the dugout he was very emotional and they didn't think he was mentally ready to go back out there.
Do you expect the Rangers to be back and you will be watching another World Series from the dugout this year?
I hope so. The way they are playing right now it damn sure looks like it. They got a good club. Seeing those guys play in September, they would go play somebody and get beat 10-1, they don't care. These guys know they are that good. They come out the next day and it's a whole new ballgame. They are fun group to watch and be around.
What did it mean to you to be part of a World Series?
It's a special feeling. The opening night when you go out and stand on the line and get introduced and the jets fly over. It's unbelievable.