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Before we pile too much dirt on Jim Riggleman …

Jun 24, 2011, 10:30 AM EDT

Mike Rizzo AP

I’m not going to change my view of Jim Riggleman’s move — I think it was the wrong move to make and a bad one for his future for him to resign like that — but I’m also hesitant to bury the guy too deeply.  The reason? We don’t know what brought the situation to a head with the Nats’ front office. Riggleman has never done a rash thing in his professional life, and all of a sudden he snaps? There’s got to be more to the story, right?

Ken Rosenthal helps shine a bit of light on that this morning. In his column — which starts out by noting that Riggleman’s resignation was not the right way to handle this — Rosenthal reports that the communication from the Nats’ front office was poor at best and not in keeping what people expect to go on behind closed doors with a major league team:

Most GMs talk with their managers every day; Rizzo rarely spoke with Riggleman, according to numerous sources. Most teams understand that a manager’s authority is compromised when he is in the last year of his contract; the Lerners proceed along their merry way, seemingly ignorant of conventional baseball wisdom …  Stan Kasten worked 24 years for Ted Turner, one of the most eccentric owners in sports history. He lasted only four years with the Lerners. Gee, wonder why.

Apparently Nats’ scouts have complained about Rizzo’s lack of communication skills too.

Again, none of this makes Riggleman’s move the right one. But even if he was still wrong to quit like he did, it’s not totally inexplicable either.

  1. dohpey28 - Jun 24, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    When all is said and done, it comes down to you and the 25 guys in the locker room. You ask them to go out there everyday and give their best. You expect them to go out there when less then 100%, and work their asses off for you. To sacrifice their bodies for the greater good, team! Its us against the world.

    Then you walk out on them out of the blue?

    Jim Riggleman will never manage again, simply because nobody in a locker room anywhere can ever trust him again.

    • cgallaway - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:09 AM

      I thought his stint with the Cubs was enough to keep him out of baseball…I was wrong

    • pjmarn6 - Jun 24, 2011 at 9:51 PM

      Everyone knows that owners can fire managers any time during a contract. Everyone remembers Steinbrenner and Martin and Steinbrenner and Berra. so why can’t a manager quit. At the end of this year it will be musical managers again. Riggleman was barely making more than a AAA call up and wanted to talk to his bosses. Reasonable. With today’s ridiculous salaries, he probably has enough to not have to cry poor. Once you slap down a man, you can’t expect respect and loyalty. A promise of a sit down definite appointment to talk about a contract that will expire in less three months is too much for the uppity clown to agree to is too much? I wish I had Riggleman’s dough and do what he did.

  2. jimbo1949 - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    “Before we pile too much dirt on Jim Riggleman” says one guy with a shovel.
    It’s evident from Rizzo’s attitude that Riggleman’s job security was nil. Riggleman’s big complaint was disrespect, he was tired of it and he did what he felt he had to do.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    How about we turn this around and ask the question of whether any really good manager will want to work with a complete dicks like Rizzo and the Letners.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      For those of us on vacation using iPhones we really need an edit button 😉. Lerners.

      • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:29 AM

        Fiorentino brings some schooling to the table. I’m seeing this as a new ray of light painting the Nats owners as, Chris so eloquently put it, complete dicks. I keep getting the feeling that Riggleman made the right move due to some reasons we aren’t completely aware of. I mean, c’mon it’s the Nats!

  4. cgallaway - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:11 AM

    apparently he’s not too good of a coach….he wants a contract extension for 2 years of coming in below .500? Jeez, (he has only had 2 seasons as a coach above .500….in 12 yrs as a major league manager.)

    • jimbo1949 - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:45 AM

      Padres, Cubs, Mariners and Nationals. The only one of those teams to have a cumulative record above .475(Nationals) was the Cubs, with whom he made a wild card appearance. I’d say he was coaching to the level of talent provided.

  5. deathmonkey41 - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    They still have to be better than Al Davis.

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      Well, there’s a standard to live up to.

    • ditto65 - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:00 PM

      A box of day old doughnuts is better than Al Davis.

  6. Jonny 5 - Jun 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    “I’m not going to change my view of Jim Riggleman’s move — I think it was the wrong move to make and a bad one for his future for him to resign like that —”

    Let’s just sit back and think about how people must have looked at a guy who decided to give up a quite lucrative and sought after profession such as an attorney to do what He wanted to do. Sure it turned out great, You just never know where life will take you. But the last page isn’t turned on Riggleman and his career just yet, so let’s just thank the guy for what he’s done and give him a high five for doing what he said he’d do if “the man” didn’t do as he requested. I for one support this guy for exercising his right to whatever he wants to do.

    • yankeesfanlen - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:15 PM

      Have we found John Galt? Kinda don’;t think so. Rather some guy, average at best in his trade, wanting to have what may have been one, or maybe 15, discussions with his boss about his furture, and being eternally rebuffed. Maybe Riggleman was whining at the time and Rizzo was tired of hearing him. But most probably not. Rizzo through a bag of tickes kept his position but doesn’;t allow others any politicking time.
      My conclusion: Rizzo should have given Riggleman some face time even if his longer term objectives included a change in managers.
      And it really has nothing to do with Craig, he’s been jamming this gig into his own time for years and it worked out by virtue of need of the Blue Network and his proven ability to provide the product.Apples and Oranges. Or, as we say around here, Cake and pie.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:46 PM

        No Len, you’re looking too deeply into what I said. I was just pointing out that free men should be free to quit their jobs if that’s what they want to do. I don’t care if he’s a manager of a baseball team or working the deep fryer at McDonalds. I realize there exists 2 different circumstances unique in many ways. I wasn’t saying these are apples and apples. I’m no fan of Philosphy btw. It’s just people trying to push their own values and beliefs on others imo. Do things the “right” way = “my way”. I agree, Craig’s career and Rigglemans aren’t comparable in any way besides “it’s their career” and they should shape it as they wish.

      • yankeesfanlen - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:03 PM

        Sorry, Jonny, no offense intended on my part either. Damn U. of Phoenix Philosophy degree! Must have been gabbing on HBT during that lesson.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM

        Please Len, I’m happy you brought it up. I may have come off sounding condescending towards Craigs opinion and I’m glad to be able to clarify.

  7. IdahoMariner - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    He’s 58 years old. He works for a team that isn’t communicating with him at all in the last year of his contract, and he has done a fairly respectable job (not genius job, but not a crap job, either) with the talent he’s been given. The answer to whether it’s the “right” move has a lot to do with where you are standing when you ask that question. If, as Riggleman said yesterday, he asked to simply talk and was blown off…well, life is too short to work with a&&holes, and if you’ve given them the chance to not be a$$holes and they decline the opportunity, then it’s almost always not just a good move, but the only “right” thing to do just walk away.

  8. writtenbyross - Jun 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    As fast as this all happened (and with the TMZ world we live in) I’m expecting this to end up as a cover up for some other scandel.

  9. rufref - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    Scuttlebutt is that some players were trashing him in the locker room to the GM and others. Probably those guys who are not hitting a lick or playing much, Ankiel, Werth, Cora, Stairs…go figure. More to it than meets the eye

  10. psousa1 - Jun 24, 2011 at 1:43 PM

    Hard to believe he does something, seemingly on a whim, without having something else lined up. (Marlins?)

  11. foreverchipper10 - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:07 PM

    Regardless of the communication issues, with Strasberg and Harper waiting in the wings and this team treading water at .500 I will gladly step in and serve as manager for the league minimum salary. I will forward along my resume although my last baseball credential (aside from a few sports snippets in a local newspaper) comes at about the ripe old age of 12 in little league.

  12. bosfaninva - Jun 24, 2011 at 4:29 PM

    For getting the Nats over .500 in late June Riggy should be NL manager of the year.

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