06.23.11

Jim Riggleman Finds A Way To Quell Nats Fever

Posted in Baseball, Blogged Down at 11:10 pm by

I’d not been online or listened to the radio for several hours today when I heard Wayne Hagin interrupt commentary of today’s A’s/Mets tilt with the aside, “we’ll try to find out more about the Jim Riggleman situation.”  My first thought — did someone try to impress Jodie Foster by taking a shot at the Nats skipper?  Turns, there’s a few people who wouldn’t mind taking a swing at him, if nothing else. “Before the clubhouse scent even had a chance to morph from sweat and pine tar to Axe body spray and cologne,” the celebratory mood following Washington’s 1-0 defeat of Seattle turned somber, observed the Washington Post’s Dave Shenin, with the bombshell revelation Riggleman chose the day his club improved to their best record in 6 years to tender his resignation.  Of the club’s reluctance to pick up his option for the 2012 season, Riggleman explained, “”I know I’m not Casey Stengel, but I do feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s not a situation where I felt like I should continue on such a short lease.”

I’ll say this much for Riggleman ; he’s better at managing baseball teams than he is when it comes to determining his own leverage. Capitol Punishment‘s Basil asks,”Is there any way to interpret this other than that Riggleman went just completely psycho-selfish on the Nats?”

Imagine if a player did something like this! Imagine the more notable acts of a player just flate refusing to go on because of sheer selfishness — like Derek Bell’s “Operation Shutdown,” or, more comically, Gary Templeton’s “If I Ain’t Startin’, I Ain’t Departin’” episode. Riggleman’s decision strikes me as far worse. I mean, Bell sucked, and Templeton was just being a clown. Riggleman’s persona was, purportedly, as a leader of men. Right.

Managers resign their positions fairly routinely, sometimes for reasons that appear inexplicable. Remember when Mike Hargrove resigned right in the middle of a surprisingly strong season for the Mariners. That was weird, but apparently Grover was burning out. I’m sure more details will emerge here, but, as it stands now, Riggleman comes across as just brazenly selfish.

4 Responses to “Jim Riggleman Finds A Way To Quell Nats Fever”

  1. john says:

    Riggleman earned less than 20% of what the average major league ballplayer makes, in an industry in which left-handers are, with increasing frequency, outright released while being owed $14M.

    Trying to manage young millionaires is difficult enough even before team management makes you a lame duck, and Riggleman evidently has more pride/gives less of a fuck than Jim Zorn.

    If I were working for an organization — particularly one with that much money floating around — that tried to string me along until the last possible moment, I’d be pissed too. Considering the history of the Nats’ (or almost any sports team’s) personnel decisions, I don’t blame Riggleman for saying enough.

  2. Ben Schwartz says:

    What John said.

  3. GC says:

    as Ben points out in his subsequent post, Riggleman’s self-respect / peace of mind is worth something, and while Nats ownership deserves plenty of heat this morning for allowing this situation to fester, I’m not thoroughly blown away by the (former) manager’s bold gesture. Walking out on a team that’s 4 1/2 games removed from their first postseason spot — when there’s no evidence any of RIggleman’s paychecks bounced — brings to mind the old adage while there’s no “I” in “TEAM” there’s a few of ‘em in “Riggleman Is A Quitter”.

    Was he working with no leverage and a shitty contract? Sure, but that’s what you get when you have the 4th worst winning percentage of managers who’ve worked a decade or longer. Regardless, if bolting on the Nationals is a blot on Riggleman’s resume, the same is doubly true of GM Mike Rizzo, who probably could’ve prevented this.

  4. Ben Schwartz says:

    I agree, Riggleman let his guys down. I just don’t want to pile on like some of the fan boy writers I link to in my post. I don’t think GC is wrong in pointing out what this means to those players, fans, and Nats front office people who really do want to win – and there are some. Also, GC is right about Riggleman trying to force the situation – how much did JR really want to stay, or reasonably expect his mid-season ultimatum meant to people who (reportedly) didn’t even bother to return his calls all season.

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