Thursday, June 23, 2011


Jim Riggleman resigned as manager of the Nationals today. After they won in walk-off fashion, sweeping the Mariners, and pulling the team's record above .500 for the first time since the day before Marbury v. Madison came out. All because he felt disrespected? I'll reserve the "Go to hell, Jim Riggleman!" title for Needham when he pops in.

Is there any way to interpret this other than that Riggleman went just completely psycho-selfish on the Nats? Just quitting because of an uncertain contract status, while the team is rapidly coming together into a successful unit?

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.


  • I couldn't agree more. This was one of the most classless moves I've ever seen someone in baseball make. Hope he gets blackballed for it.

    By Anonymous bdrube, at 6/23/2011 6:11 PM  

  • I watched the ballgame this afternoon, then flipped on ESPN twenty minutes later wondering if they'd have a highlight and saw the scrawl that Riggleman had resigned. I couldn't think of a comparable instance in baseball where the manager resigned after winning 11 of 12.

    I do suspect though that this battle between Riggleman and Rizzo has been going on since Spring training, and that today was more of a straw that broke the camel's back thing than an out of the blue decision. Remember that column Jason Reid wrote for the Post before the season, arguing that Riggleman should have more than a one year deal? I wondered at that time whether that was a case of Riggleman arguing his case to Rizzo through the press.

    I think the Nats had already made up their minds that Riggleman would be the caretaker one more year, then with Strasburg coming back in 2012 and maybe Harper coming up around June of the same season, they wanted a marquee name at manager. Sort of a Nats 2.0 reboot.

    If this were a case of a division manager at Del Monte negotiating for more job security three months before the end of his current contract -- and don't kid yourself, the Nationals are a business above all else -- this move might not be all that unusual, especially if he knew he could walk in the door at Libby's and get a job there. But job prospects in major league baseball are rather limited and I would think that while Riggleman might find today's move emotional satisfying, in a couple of weeks, he's going to start wondering where the next paycheck is coming from.

    Strange days, indeed. Most peculiar, mama.

    By Blogger Mythical Monkey, at 6/23/2011 6:27 PM  

  • "Short version: Riggs, eat a dick."
    --Needham in about 20 minutes.

    By Blogger Carl, at 6/23/2011 7:02 PM  

  • Nope - he's over making cunilingus jokes on twitter.

    By Anonymous Sam, at 6/23/2011 8:01 PM  

  • Maybe Riggleman knew that Rizzo would refuse him and timed this to sink the righted ship, hoping that it would be such a shock to the system that maybe, just maybe, the Nats winning run would be halted. That'll show 'em!

    Would that be too cynical to consider? Would that go too far beyond the pale?

    I agree that there must be more to this story, perhaps a LOT more, than we currently know.

    By Blogger Bote Man, at 6/23/2011 9:16 PM  

  • 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. Being a leader of men doesn't work very well when your own boss publicly lacks faith in you.

    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 upset too.

    Were the A's being brazenly selfish when they fired Bob Geren? The Nats wanted Riggleman, but only for three months, no more, and he decided it wasn't worth it. That's business, and I can't really blame him for it.

    By Anonymous John, at 6/24/2011 2:36 AM  

  • @Mythical Monkey: If Rizzo's so bad at communicating, maybe he's not fit for his job. But that's a different issue ...

    @Carl & Sam: I know; I miss 2005 too. Twitter still scares me a little.

    @Bote: I'm sure there is.

    @John: I don't think it works out the same way if you just flip it (manager being fired). I don't even have a problem with a manager resigning. If only Riggleman could've come out with a nicer pretext for it! There's something to be said for being a professional and not burning bridges. What did this really accomplish?

    By Blogger Basil, at 6/24/2011 11:11 AM  

  • There's gotta be more to the story, but right now it seems this was 100% a business decision. The Nats most likely will fall off before the end of the year, and Riggleman is going out on top, in a manner of speaking. I would not be surprised to see another team take a shot with him, and he'll get more money than he was making here.
    Still sucks though, I'm left wondering why Nats mgmt didn't think he was a long-term fit.

    By Blogger Rob B, at 6/24/2011 12:18 PM  

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