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Rival baseball executives hate Mike Rizzo, hope the Nationals never win

Oct 11, 2012, 8:46 AM EST

Mike Rizzo AP

Based on how the comments around here have gone lately, I’m sure someone will soon chime in to say that USA Today’s Bob Nightengale made these quotes up and that the world is biased against the Nationals. But until then, let us marvel at what a rival general manager — or maybe two, it’s hard to tell based on how he attributes it — said about Mike Rizzo and the Nats after yesterday’s Nats loss:

“If we don’t win the World Series, I don’t care who does,” one general manager told USA TODAY Sports, “as long as it’s not those guys.

“They don’t deserve to win it. Not after what they did.”

Said a National League GM: “I hope they go down in flames. I hope it takes another 79 years before they get back to the playoffs. That’s how strongly I feel about it.”

The bile — which Nightengale says some other executives besides this one feel — is based on both the Strasburg shutdown, which apparently gave other execs the impression that Rizzo thought he was smarter than everyone else, and Rizzo’s statement after the Nationals clinched that there would be “a couple more” such division titles in the future.

It’s kind of crazy that someone would actually come out and say that. Especially the first part of the quote which, from context, is not the most anonymous quote in the world.  Based on the “if we don’t win it” line, it seems that would have to be an NL GM whose team is still in the playoffs, right?  Which means it was either the Giants Brian Sabean, the Reds Walt Jocketty or the Cardinals John Mozeliak. So which of them is throwing poop on Rizzo?

The playoffs, man. It makes folks crazy.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Guaranteed one of those rival executives was RAJ. Behind the calm exterior is a man unhinged waiting for the precise moment to do something crazy…..like when he gave Ryan Howard that contract.

    • cardsfanindelaware - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

      Don’t hate on the Phillies for they all have big televisions to watch this postseason on…

      • protius - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:41 AM

        Don’t hate on the Phillies? Oh please, during the off-season, the Phillies live in heated in-door cages and throw their shit at each other. What’s not to hate?

  2. natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    It’s funny how Rizzo’s trading partner is the other smart GM, Billy Beane. And if any player on the Nats is using the Stras shutdown as an excuse for leaving 2,147,903 guys on base, HE GONE.

    • indaburg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:55 AM

      Hey, natslady, how are you today? Rough way for your team to go down. As a Rays fan, I have witnessed my team leave about 2,148,000 guys on base, so I know how it feels to watch an impotent offense on a regular basis.

      • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        indaburg, hi! I am going to watch a postseason game–in person! We may not win, but we are there. You can trash the GM all you want, people, but in the end, players gotta play. GO NATS!!!!!!

      • indaburg - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

        You tell ‘em, sistah. It’s true. Although, I think Rizzo could have handled Stras better so he would have innings available for the post-season, that’s not why you lost yesterday. Teams don’t win many (and by many, I mean any) games by scoring no runs. Have fun at the game! Make noise no matter what.

      • willclarkgameface - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:02 PM

        Players gotta play? Oh yeah? And how is that possible when they are getting shut down because of some bogus insurance policy cop out?

        Nats go down today, golf tomorrow, champions never.

  3. goskinsvt - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    lol dang, umad bro?

    • theawesomersfranchise - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Since were using outdated meme, where’s the beef?

      Seriously dude, it’s 2012 out there, using meme is sad enough, using near decade old meme is common and weak.

  4. no14mike - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:55 AM

    Wow, someone’s really salty for nothing.

  5. heyblueyoustink - Oct 11, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    Playoffs+Election Season x Playoff baseball actually being in Washington= People needing to up their happy meds.

    • Old Gator - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM

      We depend entirely too much on medications. A little nooky always worked fine for my generation.

      • sophiethegreatdane - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        Your generation did fine in chemistry class.

      • umrguy42 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:19 AM

        Maybe so, OG, but too many people in and around DC get in trouble for having “a little nooky” :p

    • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      The political commentariat in DC is in definite need of something. They’re torn between their bipartisan love of the Nats, and their partisan biases over tonight’s Vice-Presidential debate (which will cause many to miss the game).

      • heyblueyoustink - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:40 AM

        There’s a chance the debate might be more entertaining than the game. Especially if one follows my proposed drinking game: drink when Biden says something stupid, drink when Ryan says something angry or ignorant.

      • mazblast - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:54 PM

        heyblueyoustink,

        I suggest you hide the car keys tonight, because you’re going to get VERY drunk with that plan.

  6. jayscarpa - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    What are these guys, 2 years old?

  7. chadjones27 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    I don’t think that first quote necessarily means it’s a NL team currently in the playoffs. I’ve said almost that exact same quote and my team is at home watching Who’s The Boss re-runs.

    • Detroit Michael - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      Plus,the first two paragraphs could have come from an AL general manager.

    • number42is1 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:06 AM

      who’s the boss is baseball related so it works….

  8. Carl Hancock - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:11 AM

    It’s easy to judge these comments as a fan sitting at home and discount them, but then again… nobody commenting has ever interacted with Mike Rizzo and these GM’s have.

    I’m sure they know a lot more about how he carries himself and interacts with the rest of the league than the commenters on this post and it sure does sound like he isn’t popular.

    But what does that matter you say? It could certainly matter when it comes to trade partners. Keeping good relations with the other GM’s in baseball can come in handy when trying to unload or acquire players.

    • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Sort of true. But if GMs are stupid enough to consider that when a trade may benefit their team, then, they are, well, STUPID.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:36 AM

        Oh, I think you are way too dismissive of that point. True, if Mike Rizzo says “I’ll give your Strasburg and Gonzalez for 4 Top prospects”, and a team says “screw you jerk”, then yes, that other GM would be an idiot. But it is never that cut and dry. Most trades involve risk on both sides, and there involves a lot of back and forth between the GM’s, and frankly, there has to be a lot of trust.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM

        Yes, it would be ridiculous for GM A to not deal GM B out of spite. But GMs, like the rest of us, are human beings. And, like the rest of us, they sometimes make decisions based on emotions.

      • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        You could be right. But as a smart person, I vote for smart people. The world is not built for smart people, and that’s sort of sad. True, but sad.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      I’m sure they know a lot more about how he carries himself and interacts with the rest of the league than the commenters on this post and it sure does sound like he isn’t popular.

      Entirely possible, and maybe the reporter missed something in his notes, but why the comment about “what they did?” If it’s the Strasburg shutdown, as Craig mentions, that’s possibly the dumbest, most childish, excuse a grown man could come up with. For one, it has zero effect on any other teams. Two, other teams have done this before, and it’s becoming more prevalent. As nolanwiffle mentions, this sounds like a bunch of 13 year old girls acting like 13 year old girls.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:57 AM

        this sounds like a bunch of 13 year old girls acting like 13 year old girls.

        Wouldn’t that be a bunch of middle aged men acting like 13 year old girls?

      • indaburg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

        Please leave 13 year old girls out of this. I was much more mature when I was 13.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:53 AM

        Sally you are the exception to the rule. Trust me I knew some wacky mean 13 year old girls in my time. But then that was another country in another time.

  9. DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:14 AM

    “Based on the “if we don’t win it” line, it seems that would have to be an NL GM whose team is still in the playoffs, right?”

    Well, seeing as Brian Sabean also is known to blow a gasket (threatening Scott Cousins), I am going to go with him

  10. goskinsvt - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    The funniest part is that Rizzo is a virtual lock to win NL General Manager of the year

    • goskinsvt - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:18 AM

      sorry ‘Executive’ of the year.

    • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      Yup. And the last time he was seen in public was at Game 162 getting a standing ovation from the fans. And the previous time–at the clinch game getting doused with champagne and beer by the players. Not one of those players would be getting a share of playoff $$ if it weren’t for Mike Rizzo.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

      GM of the Year…..wow. You know how many times RAJ has won that award? Yea…..neither do I.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:58 AM

        Isn’t that the award Baseball America hands out? I think it’s based on the entire organization’s performance, including how good the team’s farm system is. Given the organization’s improvement under Rizzo, he’s certainly deserving. Though Billy Beane and Dan Duquette should get a shout-out or two.

        No, I don’t know who won the award last year, much less how many times Ruben Amaro has won. Seems to me, he should have won it at least once.

      • goskinsvt - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM

        2006 – Dave Dombrowski, Detroit Tigers[17]
        2007 – Jack Zduriencik, Milwaukee Brewers[18]
        2008 – Theo Epstein, Boston Red Sox[19]
        2009 – Dan O’Dowd, Colorado Rockies[20]
        2010 – Jon Daniels, Texas Rangers[21]
        2011 – Doug Melvin, Milwaukee Brewers[22]

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        Hmmmmm…..apparently that award did not provide Jack Zduriencik much job security.

        Just guessing, no idea what became of him. Or who he is. Or how to pronounce that name

      • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM

        Thanks for the info. I’m a little surprised Ruben Amaro didn’t win.

      • brewcrewfan54 - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:20 PM

        Jack Z is still the GM of Seattle unless they fired him this year and I missed it.

      • chadjones27 - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:39 PM

        natstowngreg, that’s because RAJ took over a team that just won the World Series under the tutelage of Pat Gillick. Since he’s taken over, the team went from WS winners, to WS losers, to DS champs, to DS losers, to Ryan Howards contract, to not making the playoffs.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

      Virtual lock for making a horrible draft pick and spending a ton of $ on it? Or virtual lock because he traded a ton to get Gio G? I mean when the A’s and many other teams would still gladly do the trade, you really haven’t made that great of a trade. He gave equal value to get equal value. Or virtual lock for not being smart enough to sit Stras early in the season, rather than late?

      Ya Rizzo was a magician this year, made bad picks, made an equal trade and didn’t have faith in his team to begin the season….

      • nolanwiffle - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        Maybe if Rizzo wrote it on a brick and hit you in the face with it, you might finally understand.

        His plan in April was to limit Strasburg’s innings and consider this a TJ surgery rehabilitation season. 2013 is when he hoped to have Strasburg at full strength. It’s the same approach he took with Zimmermann.

        Like most GM’s, I’m certain his long-term goal is to field a team that will be competive and perhaps vie for the playoffs year-in-year-out. The 2012 Nats, as even Rizzo would admit, were not expected to make the playoffs, let alone have the best record in baseball. He chose not to deviate from his Strasburg plan even though the team exceeded expectations.

        Also, the best trades are the ones that work out for both teams. I don’t think any GM is looking to fleece another when a deal is consumated. Gio Gonzalez is a Cy Young candidate and was the Nats best pitcher all season. Rizzo would make that deal again every day of the week.

        He’s not a magician. He’s been a pretty good GM though.

      • kellyb9 - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:24 PM

        @ nolanwiffle – I understand Rizzo’s point, but wouldn’t you consult someone with some kind of medical background before making a decision that might effectively limit your team’s ability to win in the playoffs… like consult the guy who actually did Strasburg’s TJ surgery? They have a great team this year, but that’s no guarantee that they’ll be good next year. I find his decision to follow through with the Strasburg plan to by irresponsible. I find arguments actually defending the Strasburg plan to be completely absurd. And believe it or not, I like what the Nats are doing, and I’m a Phillies fan. I hope it turns into a nice rivalry. But mark my words…. If the Phillies ever shut down a pitcher like that, their GM would be fired.

      • nolanwiffle - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:02 PM

        I would have to think that he consulted extensively with medical personnel. I doubt an organizational decision like this is made by playing a hunch.

  11. mplsjoe - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    Brian Sabean is an ass. I’m profiling, but I’ll guess it’s him.

  12. nolanwiffle - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    These rival GM’s could have been more discreet by passing a note during gym class. When did 13 year old girls start running major league baseball franchises?

  13. paperlions - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    How self important do you have to be to interpret another team taking a different approach to their players health than you do as some kind of arrogance or slight? Damn, anonymous GM, get over yourself.

    Rizzo may not be likable, but his handling of Stras has nothing to do with you or your team. Sounds like sour grapes from a GM that is threatened by the team the Nationals have built.

  14. pdowdy83 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Rizzo is brash and outspoken. He has gotten fined for arguing with an umpire after a game and he has gone to the media to bash an opposing player. I’m sure these things don’t exactly sit well with opposing GMs. As a fan sometimes I question what he says but he has put together a good staff and a solid young team so I give him the benefit of the doubt. However, I think it may be jumping the gun to assume the quote is one of the remaining playoff teams though. It could have been any GM making a general statement saying “if we don’t win it this year, I don’t care who does as long as it isn’t them.”

    I find it quite ridiculous that the quote says “after what they did.” It makes it sound like Rizzo went out and killed someones dog. If that is referencing the Strasburg shutdown then someone needs to go ahead and lump Sandy Alderson, Jed Hoyer and any other GM who has shut down a young pitcher with a limited innings base. Whether you agree with the decision or not is one thing but to act like the shut down of Strasburg is a criminal act against the other GMs in the game is a bit over the top.

    I find it funny that he has two quotes (which could even be the same GM) from GMs talking bad about Rizzo but then ends the article with this…

    “The shame is that general managers, executives and scouts greatly respect and admire Rizzo. He’s a scout’s scout, the one who turned a laughingstock into one of the most talented organizations in baseball.”

    • paperlions - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:46 AM

      That’s the thing….if you firmly believe that limiting innings of young pitchers their first full year back from TJ surgery is the best approach for their long-term health…then you believe that whether your team is in contention or not…because being in contention doesn’t make the risk you perceive go away. This is obviously a young team with the potential to compete every year for a division title, in that situation, going all in on one year is foolish….especially when the playoffs are a virtual crap shoot anyway.

      • pdowdy83 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        Agreed for the most part. The thing that keeps getting misconstrued I believe is that the shutdown was only based off of TJ surgery. In 2010 the Nationals were going to shut down Strasburg before the end of the season at around 160 innings (similar to the Cubs and Mets did this year with Samardzja and Harvey) because he had never pitched that many innings in his career. The injury happened and derailed that plan. Strasburg pitched less than 50 innings last season. Now all of a sudden people want to ramp him up to 200-220 innings. Seems foolish to me especially coming off surgery.

      • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:53 AM

        There are not enough thumbs up for this, paper. But you have mine. Thanks.

        Rizzo is not being arrogant. He had a plan, he stuck with the plan, on the best advice he could get.

      • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        There is this argument among the Nats/Rizzo haters, that this could be the Nats’ only chance to win the championship. People holding this argument are glass half-empty types.

        My glass is half-full. Mike Rizzo has built a good organization. It’s great that the team has gone from the pits to contention in 3 seasons. It’s great that I get to watch playoff baseball in person for the first time (though it’s a major bummer that they have played so poorly). Will they win 98 games again next season? Very unlikely. But thay can win enough to make the playoffs.

        Is Mike Rizzo arrogant? Seems so. Does Mike Rizzo have occasional people skill lapses? Yes. Should we Nats fans care? Not really. The results are there, and it’s not like we fans interact with Rizzo.

      • Francisco (FC) - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        It’s great that I get to watch playoff baseball in person for the first time

        Just want to point out that this phrase doesn’t prevent you from traveling to other baseball cities to watch OTHER team’s playoffs in person… :)

        Living in Toronto, if the Jays ever get their act together I’ll definitely try to get to a game or two. Playoff Baseball is Playoff Baseball man!

      • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

        @ FC: Indeed, sir. But it’s not the same as watching a playoff game in your own park. Trekking up to Baltimore (when they were in the playoffs and Washington had no team) just wouldn’t have been the same.

      • earthling72 - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:17 PM

        as a phils fan, i’ve seen my boys play at fenway, wrigley, shea, citifield, nats park, marlins new park, and i’ve also checked out old yankee, new yankee stadium, and pnc park and watched 2 teams that i have no rooting interest in play because i LOVE BASEBALL. that’s why i was so angered when rizzo, who can rarely sell out his ballpark, publicly un-invited the phils fans. at CBP in philly, our announcer thanks all fans in attendence from both the phils and the away team. rizzo is an ass monkey.

    • voteforno6 - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      Indeed. Considering how he handled the Riggleman situation, I wouldn’t be surprised if to hear that Rizzo has been less than diplomatic with other G.M.’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the G.M.’s quoted in this story was the one for the White Sox – apparently they were a little irked at Rizzo, when they thought that they had a deal to trade Edwin Jackson for Adam Dunn, which then fell apart.

    • earthling72 - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      the strasburg debacle is exactly that, a debacle. also trash talking the phils fans who buy tickets hot dogs and beers and publicly un-inviting them is ridiculous. rizzo is an ass pirate.

  15. dwrek5 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Couldn’t just as easy be one of the AL GM’s? It says World Series, not pennant…

  16. ningenito78 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Anybody want to explain to me why the Nats sitting Strasburg would piss off opposing GMs? Because they think he thinks he’s smarter than everyone else? That doesn’t make any sense since it seems a vast majority thinks he’s a drooling idiot for doing so.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:50 AM

      I imagine some GMs could see this as a sop to Scott Boras, and worry that Rizzo has made their jobs harder in that other agents may later feel like they have a place at the table when decisions about player usage are made.

      • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

        Could be true. But IMO, a player’s agent should have a place at the table when discussing how a player is used–or abused. That’s his (Boras’) job. If it makes it more complicated for other GMs, well, gee, so sorry they have to do their jobs.

      • pdowdy83 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:56 AM

        I can see that side of it but then they would have had to get mad at him last season for Jordan Zimmermann. Boras does not represent Zimmermann and the Nationals shut him down last season. Yes they were out of contention but that set the ground work for Strasburg this year. To involve Boras in the conversation is a moot point. If Strasburg continues to pitch out the season he may have been in contention for a Cy Young award and he would be able to get into the Tim Lincecum arbitration numbers. Granted that is a hypothetical scenario but it is just a hypothetical as those saying if he was pitching now the Nationals wouldn’t be down 2-1 (not saying you are one of the ones saying that Craig.)

      • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        It feeds into the nonsensical perception that Scott Boras runs the Nats. I could see how certain GMs would be mad at Rizzo because he can work with Boras, and perhaps they can’t.

    • cur68 - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:07 AM

      Not only the above reasons apply. There’s probably some basic human nature at play here. The other Execs could easily interpret this as Rizzo saying “you guys are wrong to treat your TJS pitchers the way you do. When fresh off of TJS, limit their innings”. In essence, they might feel he’s called into question how they handled their staff by taking the tack he has. Makes them look bad. Its a challenge to conventional wisdom. For those happy in their ruts, its not unlikely for some to get all up in the grill of those out of the rut and trying new things.

  17. dkphilly1122 - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    I love the fair weather Nat fans defending their GM. One winning season and they want him as GM of the year. Have two winning seasons than worry about the rest. Not to mention the fake fans who hopped on the bandwagon this year. Where were these “fans” when they sucked?? Non Existant. Now they have sellouts. The previous 5 years or so the only way they’d have a sellout was when they were playing the Phillies, from all the Phillies fans who took there stadium over. Pathetic.

    • goskinsvt - Oct 11, 2012 at 9:55 AM

      “Not to mention the fake fans who hopped on the bandwagon this year. Where were these “fans” when they sucked?? Non Existant. Now they have sellouts. ”

      Congratulations, you’ve just described every fan base in history.

      • mazblast - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:18 PM

        I’m old enough to remember seeing “crowds” reported at around 5,000 (and probably around 2,000) on television at Yankees home games c. 1970. Fans will jump the ship in droves if the team stinks and management doesn’t seem to care, except for perhaps a team like the Cubs, whose fans revel in losing.

        Conversely, a winning team will draw sellouts despite the indifference of a fanbase (example: Marlins in 1997 and 2003).

        Let’s face it–Until now, since the team moved to Washington, the Nationals hadn’t done anything to really deserve the fans’ support. The Jim Bowden “We’re here therefore you must love us no matter how crappy we play” approach clearly didn’t work.

    • pdowdy83 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

      From 1996 until 2002 the Phillies were at least 300,000 tickets below league average yearly. Then the new park opened and the team began to win. The attendance went way up. Don’t act like your fan base is any different than any other team. Winning records equals high attendance. Those same people that are “on the Nationals bandwagon” now are just like any other team that goes from crappy to good.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        “Don’t act like your fan base is any different than any other team”

        That lecture works both ways. 3.6 million Phillies fans a year go through the turnstiles. But by all means, lets talk about the kid who ran on the field, the loser who threw up on a fan, and the two guys who clapped when Werth got hurt. And when all else fails, lets talk about the Santa episode in 1968 at an Eagles game (which never gets told correctly, but that is a difefrent story)

      • chadjones27 - Oct 11, 2012 at 2:49 PM

        Wow, I think this may be the first time a Phillies fan was the first one to bring up the dude that puked on a girl,and the Santa/snow ball incident. I didn’t know we were talking about that. I thought this was about ballpark sellouts, not stupid crap fans do. Oh well, at least he didn’t mention the JD Drew/ battery incident.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      I’ve been here for a while. Even when I was the only Nats fan commenting regularly on this here blog right here. Others have come here this season, but they also endured the horrible seasons.

      You seem resistant to facts, but here are a couple:

      1. Nats’ average home attendance rose by about 5,000, to almost 30,000.

      2. Yesterday’s paid attendance was 45,017. That is 108.4% of Nats Park’s capacity.

  18. runteddyrun - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    People need to get over it. The fact that a GM, a professional in this business, said that is sad. They knew from the beginning of the season that Stras was going to be shut down – I don’t completely agree with it, but I got over it. And what is Rizzo supposed to say? It’s his job, and every GM’s job to make the playoffs every year. Yes, it’s a tough division, but why beat him up for backing his team? In any case, if the Nats do not win tonight, it’s not because of Strasburg not being on the mound – it’s because the Nats are not executing at the plate. Strasburg was not the best pitcher in this rotation – Gio has stronger numbers and there were times that Jordan Zimmermann pitched better.

  19. ndrocks2 - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Bottom line they didn’t do everything possible to win this year and being in the same division as Phillies and Braves they may not get back there anytime soon. If they don’t win the second guessers will have a field day including members of the Nationals organization.

  20. Chris Fiorentino - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    I don’t get the whole “They don’t deserve to win it for what they did” nonsense…but regarding how they feel about Rizzo in general. Well, sometimes a person is just a dickhead. Period. If one person thinks it, then it could just be a difference of personalities. If multiple people think it, well, then it is more likely to be true.

    But to say “they don’t deserve to win it for what they did” is just stupid. They had the best record in baseball and deserve to win it all as much as, if not more than, anybody else. Whether you want to see them win it is one thing. But to bring in “deserve” because you don’t like the guy is just plain stupid.

  21. kevinleaptrot - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:43 AM

    I’m a Nats fan and I like Rizzo and I think he’s a smart GM. Can’t believe all the bile being flung his way just because he expressed confidence in his team. True you can’t count on getting to the post season every season, but the Nats are one of the youngest teams in baseball and they’re playing really well (NLDS aside) right now. Most of the players are under team control for several more years and the farm system seems to be well stocked too. There’s no reason to think that the Nats won’t contend for several more years. Hell, the Phillies just had a 5 year run as NL East Champs, why not the Nats?

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:58 AM

      Well, they may. But for every time you see the “Phillies ’07 – ’11” story, you will also see a “Mets ’06 – ’10” story. Wait until teams are gunning for the Nats every series. Wait until every 1 for 15 means (fill in the blank hitter) is toast. Wait until 4 games back in July means they have to answer constantly “what went wrong this year?”. It is a ton of pressure to stay on top. How will the Nats handle it? Dunno, nor does anyone else.

      The Nats had no pressure this year. Neither did the ’93 Phillies

  22. hushbrother - Oct 11, 2012 at 10:50 AM

    The GM is upset because every time he calls about a trade, Rizzo calls him “jerky.”

  23. psilenttype - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    The bitterness towards the Nats are childish… If those GMs could turn around a bad team like the the Nats that Rizzo did then maybe they can talk! Has anybody question any of Rizzo’s decisions in the past 3 years?! NO! Including the same method he used on Strasburg to shut Zimmermann down the previous year! NO! People and Media FAIL to realize the decision was made b4 the season started! Meaning that he had a plan and he was going to follow it PERIOD!

    • earthling72 - Oct 13, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      i’m bitter at rizzo because he publicly un-invited all phils fans from his park. that sounds pretty childish on his park, but i still wanna say… HE STARTED IT! hahahahaha i was so happy when they lost so dramatically last night, it truly was a shadenfreude moment!!!

  24. senatorsguy - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    One of the things I love about sports is the emotional and connected mental gymnastics that accompanies being a fan. My comments don’t specifically pertain ot this situation with the Nats – they fit with most MLB teams – or teams from any sports and their related fanbases.

    Sports are filled with hierarchy and aristocracies. There doesn’t necessarily need to be reasons why – sometimes there is a history and a reason, sometimes its just perpetual motion or inertia.

    In the minds of many fans, teams are “good” because they perceive they have always been that way – it is their destiny or proper place. Other teams are “bad” because of a past deficiency that precludes them from ever being “good”. In a perfect world, teams play a part; good guy, bad guy, winner & loser. And most of “us” like it that way.

    We are comfortable with the roles teams like the Royals, Mariners, Nationals, Pirates, Orioles, etc have played for the recent past, and project the results into the future, and further back into history than the truth would allow in most cases. But, it is convenient, and comfortable – especially to fans of the recent “winners” like the Phillies, Red Sox, Cardinals or Yankees.

    And when a team breaks out – and makes a case that they are no longer a “bad” team – it jars our reality. Nobody hated the Nats 3 years ago because they held the poistion of loser that was expected of them. Challenge the comfort zone of the Phillies and Braves fans (or insert any similar siutation and related teams if you will) and suddenly there is a litany of reasons to despise that upstart. I hate their fans, they are so….. I hate their team, they are so…. I hate their GM, because he did something that falls outside my belief system.

    Of course, there is no such thing as perpetual motion – and everything changes at some point. Team A falls – typically unexpectedly, and Team B, the upstart, rises and is better than most ever thought possible.

    So – go ahead and freak out at some verbal slight made by a dopey big-mouthed player, or be offended at an entire fan base because some drunk at the last game you attended wore that team’s jersey. Or – cut through the noise and enjoy the endless characters: players, executives and fans – and relish the search for the next “entitled” team to fall apart and the next upstart to put together a 5 to 10 year run. The rest is just noise.

    A change is gonna come.

    • natslady - Oct 11, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      Excellent post. Mike Rizzo did things that should be ADMIRED. He brought a team from LAST to FIRST–ahead of schedule. He was a scout, and drove the thousands of miles that a scout drives and we fans here, we love him. He shut down Strasburg to save a young player’s arm instead of blowing it out in a game of craps.

      • zacksdad - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        Well then maybe he should shut it down all next year. It might get blown out next year. I just do not agree that in the beginning of the year they can say it should throw 180 innings to not damage his arm. I think a pitch count would be more accurate. Also maybe doing a MRI or some medical look at his arm to see if there is any stress on it. We will never know what would have happened or what will happen. But if they lose today, there will always people stating it could have been better.

      • nolanwiffle - Oct 11, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        I can’t recall hearing one medical professional that is familiar with arm injuries say that Mike Rizzo has handled Strasburg poorly.

    • mazblast - Oct 11, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      Great post. Rizzo took a POS assembled by Jim Bowden (who can put together a POS team like few other GMs in recent history) and made a playoff team out of it in just a few years. He ignored the Known Wisdom on two fronts–One, that the Nationals are supposed to be a loser franchise that contributes wins and players to the Designated Winners; and Two, that it takes years and years to overcome disastrous prior management.

      THAT is what actually ticks off execs and fans of other organizations. He may be a jerk at times in the process, but citing that as the reason for disliking the Nationals is just a smokescreen.

  25. jrod2173 - Oct 11, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Ide bet a lot of money it wasnt Sabean. That dude hardly gives anything of substance to the local media and papers let alone USA Today. Even when he does

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