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Mike Rizzo and the Nationals are feuding with their own Single-A team and things are getting ugly

Jul 21, 2011, 3:49 PM EDT

family_feud_classic200

Last week Washington general manager Mike Rizzo went public with his complaints about the field conditions in Potomac, which is home to the Nationals’ high Single-A affiliate, calling them “dangerous” and “a safety threat.”

That apparently didn’t sit very well with Potomac owner Art Silber, who fired back in the Washington Times today:

He clearly doesn’t know what he was talking about. He has no idea what has happened at our ballpark and really shouldn’t be commenting on it. The field is fine. We’re not sure why Mr. Rizzo made the comments he did, which were, really, very unfortunate. They certainly did not reflect the reality for us.

There are perhaps valid reasons for the poor conditions in Potomac, such as a recent storm flooding the field, but for Silber to suggest that “the field is fine” is absurd. Does he think Rizzo didn’t hear complaints about the field from numerous players, coaches, and Nationals staffers before spouting off? Does he think fans who’ve watched games at Potomac’s ballpark this season haven’t commented about what a mess things are there? There’s a reason why Silber has been working on building a new ballpark.

Heck, Nathan Fenno of the Washington Times notes that as recently as last week five Nationals executives were in attendance when managers from both teams and the umpiring crew agreed that the field was unplayable. All of which is why Rizzo “stood by his statement” after being told of Silber’s response.

And Silber’s isn’t the only person upset over Rizzo’s comments. In fact, his response seems downright pleasant compared to Prince William Board of County Supervisors chairman Corey Stewart:

Rizzo ought to focus on doing his job, which could probably use some improvement. He’s talking out of his rear end. He doesn’t know what’s happening because he didn’t bother to check. Frankly, he’s not a good manager. He’s received a lot of criticism for his performance for the job he should be doing. He should stick to the job he’s supposed to do instead of getting involved in something he doesn’t know about.

Fenno writes that Stewart’s voice was “shaking” with anger as he uttered the above quote and he went on to call for Rizzo to be fired.

I’m not exactly the world’s biggest Rizzo fan, but a crucial aspect of his job is the development of minor leaguers and keeping them healthy is a big part of that, which is why there was speculation the Nationals promoted Bryce Harper from low Single-A to Double-A because they didn’t want him playing on Potomac’s field. Rizzo later denied those claims, but the notion that keeping tabs on the playing conditions in the minors doesn’t qualify as “doing his job” is silly.

And here’s a pretty simple solution if Silber and Stewart want Rizzo and others to stop criticizing the playing conditions in Potomac: Fix the damn field.

  1. screename529 - Jul 21, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    I’m completely shocked that a local DC-area politician is most likely an idiot. Shocked!

    • Chris Fiorentino - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:04 PM

      I’m as shocked that Mike Rizzo, this gem of a guy, is actually involved in ANOTHER scrum with someone. He may be right this time, but does anyone else find it funny how Mike Rizzo always seems to be involved with some type of confrontation?

  2. royalsfaninfargo - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Im sure Prince William County has more important things for their supervisor to be doing than commenting on the “manager” skills of a big league GM. Maybe the Nats should just move the team somewhere else?

    • natstowngreg - Jul 21, 2011 at 6:09 PM

      The Nats made a big deal about moving their High-A affiliate to the DC suburbs. The Nats market this minor league team to their fan base, part of which lives in Prince William County. It would be embarrassing to have to move the team away from the DC area.

      • royalsfaninfargo - Jul 21, 2011 at 6:50 PM

        I couldnt agree more with you, but if the minor league team cant fix the problem on their own extortion never hurts :-) .

  3. mss16 - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    The real reason these guys are spouting off is because they are pissed Rizzo made them miss out on the Bryce Harper gravy train through the minors. Do you how much money the owner of the team and local government probably lost because he skipped their stop?

  4. Panda Claus - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    I’m with you Aaron on not being Rizzo Fan #1, but I’m not sure Stewart has any ground to stand on here. If the field wasn’t so pathetically maintained (or designed as the case may be), then Rizzo wouldn’t have any reason to be breathing down their necks as he’s doing.

    • FC - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      but I’m not sure Stewart has any ground to stand on here.

      Definitely not judging by the field conditions. Was that pun intentional?

  5. dodger88 - Jul 21, 2011 at 4:46 PM

    I just caught myself humming the theme to Family Feud. Let’s see how long it takes to go away……

  6. natstowngreg - Jul 21, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    My understanding of the MLB-MiLB agreement is, the minor league team is responsible for providing a park that meets MiLB standards. Pretty sure those standards include field conditions. If the owner leases the park from the county, seems to me the county is also responsible.

    Of course, rather than just implementing Aaron’s sensible suggesting and fixing the field, the county’s leading politician has to resort to responsibility avoidance by ripping Rizzo,

    Meanwhile, Rizzo seems to be doing his job, developing young talent. In particular, protecting the team’s huge investment in Bryce Harper. I think his failing was saying the field conditions weren’t a factor, then criticzing the field conditions. As with the Riggleman dustup, Rizzo shows that he can have problems communicating sometimes.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 21, 2011 at 10:26 PM

      “suggestion”

      Where does one go to sign up for the Edit Button Campaign?

  7. bigleagues - Jul 21, 2011 at 6:30 PM

    B-U-S-H LEAGUE

    I know I have referred to Indy baseball as bush league – but this is the most absurd and more importantly self-destructive thing I have ever seen between a MiLB franchise owner and the GM of the MLB affiliate. Silber is borderline insane. And I guarantee if Washington hadn’t re-upped the PDA for 4 years last September ( http://www.oursportscentral.com/services/releases/?id=4091997 ) with Potomac he wouldn’t be talking like this – if at all.

    You can write it down now though – if this doesn’t get resolved soon and IF Rizzo and Silber are still in the irrespective position come Fall 2014 – Potomac will be searching for a new MLB affiliate and Silber will be doing a lot of ass kissing. Because I guarantee that every MLB front office will have chatted about this incident by the end of the season.

  8. bobfromphilly - Jul 21, 2011 at 10:15 PM

    Pfitzner Stadium is the only minor league field–and we’ve visited dozens of them–where my 10-year-old son declines to run the bases or have a pregame catch on the field. From the warning track to the concourse to the “dugouts,” this field is tired. Rizzo is no prince, but I’m glad to see the Nats org applying some pressure to upgrade facilities for their single-A adv affiliate. Maybe that, combined with the local market pressure of the new Atlantic League team in neighboring Loudoun County, will spark some action. I hope something does.

  9. alberthaynesworth - Jul 22, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    I live in prince William county and the stadium is ten minutes from my house. The field is garbage and there is no doubt Rizzo jumped Harper to AA because of it. This board of supervisors prick is just like all the local gustspo government workers around here I’m sure. Dumber than dumb with their thumb up their ass. Makes me sick reading his quote.

  10. rlbuckley - Jul 28, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    Rizzo, Silber, and Stewart all need to learn compromise.

    I live in Lake Ridge, Va and it is great place to reside in.

    Many people feel Bryce Harper should be in the big leagues this year. There is allot of pressure for Rizzo to bring Harper up now. So he’s wrong for blaming the PNats for delaying Harper’s callup to the “Show”. He traded for Gomes yesterday in order to delay the decision on Harper.If Skip Schumaker, and Louis Pojois could play at Pfitzner and surive Potomac, then some National prospects need to learn baseball basics in Prince William County.

    Silber is a good owner and PNats are great to see. They won two Carolina League Championship the last two years. Silber involved himself with the team. He even coaches first base at home games, but I saw a runner thrown out at first on foul pop-up that catcher caught at the screen behind home plate. So his baseball logic is questionable. The Nats are right in letting Harper move on to Harrisburg or Triple A. The PNats still have a great product without him.

    Stewart is a great county supervisor. He’s done a great job, especially in dealing with illegal immigrants and county developments. His stance on Hot Lanes was excellent! But his ideas on building a new stadium closer to I95, doesn’t make sense. Beach traffic on Thursday night, Friday night, and Sunday afternoon in summer on I95 would still hinder fans coming games on time. PNats would still be like Dodger fans, who never arrive until third inning of a game.

    The present location of Pfitzner Stadium is good. The scoreboard does need to be moved to center field instead of left field. The hitter background needs to be improved. By building left field bleachers could solve that problem. A good drainage system might dry out a wet outfield.

    The locker rooms are cramp, so moving the clubhouses out to left and right field corners might allow players more space. The PNats need a good weight room. The press box needs to be refurbished. The concourse need to be wider, which is solvable by moving cyclone fences out. A roof over the grandstand should soften the infield a little. Parking for fans is ample and once road construction on Prince William Parkway is done then arriving and leaving Pfitzner will be easier.

    Public transportation could entice more out of area fans to attend the games, which is doinable by running buses to Springfield metro station before and after all home games.Besides Ruby Tuesdays, there needs to be some good local restaurants to eat at before and after each game.

    The residents of Prince William County need to get behind the team more. Rizzo, Silber, and Stewart need to stop fighting and make this a “win-win situation” for reverybody.

    Send EmailAdd to ContactsEdit Contact
    Send SMS/MMSAdd to ContactsEdit Contact

    Rizzo, Silber, and Stewart all need to learn compromise.

    I live in Lake Ridge, Va and it is great place to reside in.

    Many people feel Bryce Harper should be in the big leagues this year. There is allot of pressure for Rizzo to bring Harper up now. So he’s wrong for blaming the PNats for delaying Harper’s callup to the “Show”. He traded for Gomes yesterday in order to delay the decision on Harper.If Skip Schumaker, and Louis Pojois could play at Pfitzner and surive Potomac, then some National prospects need to learn baseball basics in Prince William County.

    Silber is a good owner and PNats are great to see. They won two Carolina League Championship the last two years. Silber involved himself with the team. He even coaches first base at home games, but I saw a runner thrown out at first on foul pop-up that catcher caught at the screen behind home plate. So his baseball logic is questionable. The Nats are right in letting Harper move on to Harrisburg or Triple A. The PNats still have a great product without him.

    Stewart is a great county supervisor. He’s done a great job, especially in dealing with illegal immigrants and county developments. His stance on Hot Lanes was excellent! But his ideas on building a new stadium closer to I95, doesn’t make sense. Beach traffic on Thursday night, Friday night, and Sunday afternoon in summer on I95 would still hinder fans coming games on time. PNats would still be like Dodger fans, who never arrive until third inning of a game.

    The present location of Pfitzner Stadium is good. The scoreboard does need to be moved to center field instead of left field. The hitter background needs to be improved. By building left field bleachers could solve that problem. A good drainage system might dry out a wet outfield.

    The locker rooms are cramp, so moving the clubhouses out to left and right field corners might allow players more space. The PNats need a good weight room. The press box needs to be refurbished. The concourse need to be wider, which is solvable by moving cyclone fences out. A roof over the grandstand should soften the infield a little. Parking for fans is ample and once road construction on Prince William Parkway is done then arriving and leaving Pfitzner will be easier.

    Public transportation could entice more out of area fans to attend the games, which is doinable by running buses to Springfield metro station before and after all home games.Besides Ruby Tuesdays, there needs to be some good local restaurants to eat at before and after each game.

    The residents of Prince William County need to get behind the team more. Rizzo, Silber, and Stewart need to stop fighting and make this a “win-win situation” for reverybody.

    Send EmailAdd to ContactsEdit Contact
    Send SMS/MMSAdd to ContactsEdit Contact

    Rizzo, Silber, and Stewart all need to learn compromise.

    I live in Lake Ridge, Va and it is great place to reside in.

    Many people feel Bryce Harper should be in the big leagues this year. There is allot of pressure for Rizzo to bring Harper up now. So he’s wrong for blaming the PNats for delaying Harper’s callup to the “Show”. He traded for Gomes yesterday in order to delay the decision on Harper.If Skip Schumaker, and Louis Pojois could play at Pfitzner and surive Potomac, then some National prospects need to learn baseball basics in Prince William County.

    Silber is a good owner and PNats are great to see. They won two Carolina League Championship the last two years. Silber involved himself with the team. He even coaches first base at home games, but I saw a runner thrown out at first on foul pop-up that catcher caught at the screen behind home plate. So his baseball logic is questionable. The Nats are right in letting Harper move on to Harrisburg or Triple A. The PNats still have a great product without him.

    Stewart is a great county supervisor. He’s done a great job, especially in dealing with illegal immigrants and county developments. His stance on Hot Lanes was excellent! But his ideas on building a new stadium closer to I95, doesn’t make sense. Beach traffic on Thursday night, Friday night, and Sunday afternoon in summer on I95 would still hinder fans coming games on time. PNats would still be like Dodger fans, who never arrive until third inning of a game.

    The present location of Pfitzner Stadium is good. The scoreboard does need to be moved to center field instead of left field. The hitter background needs to be improved. By building left field bleachers could solve that problem. A good drainage system might dry out a wet outfield.

    The locker rooms are cramp, so moving the clubhouses out to left and right field corners might allow players more space. The PNats need a good weight room. The press box needs to be refurbished. The concourse need to be wider, which is solvable by moving cyclone fences out. A roof over the grandstand should soften the infield a little. Parking for fans is ample and once road construction on Prince William Parkway is done then arriving and leaving Pfitzner will be easier.

    Public transportation could entice more out of area fans to attend the games, which is doinable by running buses to Springfield metro station before and after all home games.Besides Ruby Tuesdays, there needs to be some good local restaurants to eat at before and after each game.

    The residents of Prince William County need to get behind the team more. Rizzo, Silber, and Stewart need to stop fighting and make this a “win-win situation” for reverybody.

    Send EmailAdd to ContactsEdit Contact
    Send SMS/MMSAdd to ContactsEdit Contact

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