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Nationals set to hire Matt Williams as new manager

Oct 25, 2013, 9:15 AM EDT

Matt Williams AP

Bill Ladson of MLB.com reported yesterday that Matt Williams was the front-runner to replace Davey Johnson as Nationals manager and now Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Washington plans to hire the Diamondbacks third base coach.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo is hoping that Randy Knorr will agree to serve as Williams’ bench coach after filling the same role on Johnson’s staff and interviewing for the manager gig himself. Knorr was the candidate several Nationals players voiced support for publicly, so it could be a tricky situation potentially.

With zero big-league managing experience and a hard-nosed approach–he was on Kirk Gibson’s grit-filled staff in Arizona, after all–the 47-year-old Williams certainly appears to be a lot different than Johnson. He also played 17 seasons in the majors, appearing in six All-Star games and finishing runner-up for the MVP in 1994 before getting into coaching.

  1. skids003 - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    As a Braves fan, I hope they don’t hire him. He’s a good man and would be a good manager. Please stay in another division, Matt.

    • natstowngreg - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:15 AM

      Thanks. I was OK with this choice. However, if it makes Braves fans uncomfortable, I might start to get a bit excited about it.

    • paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:23 AM

      That is fine, and I am not bringing this up to denigrate Williams, but….if Williams is a “fine mand” and you are in favor of him being a manager, you can’t blast anyone that uses steroids as being other than “fine men” for the use of PEDs as it is documented that Williams used steroids and HGH during his career.

  2. oriolesmagic69 - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    matt Williams would be that fire this team needs. they are a champion team without them but with him I believe you would be looking at the 2014 world champions. im a orioles fan so im glad they will be in the nl. but I am looking forward to the beltway series. Hell I look forward to any series at this point. Hurry up spring

  3. runteddyrun - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    I like Knorr, however, the environment in the clubhouse will not change with him in the driver seat. I believe the relaxed coaching staff hurt us throughout the season, especially in the first half. Hopefully Williams will bring some of Gibson’s approach to Washington and light a fire under these guys from day one.

    • mspauto - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:41 PM

      I have always said that the key to winning in any sport is to stress playing 110% and winning no matter what game it is. It does not matter if it is spring training or September. You play hard and play to win. More pennants are won in April and May than September. You lose them in September but win them in April. Matt Williams or whoever signs on to manage the Nats will need to instill a winning Natitude in this ball club. Go out, play hard win and have fun doing it.

  4. cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Has Matt apologized on National TV yet and had people like Jeff Pearlman calling to ban him from baseball? Or does that only apply when the steroid using couch hits 500 home runs?

    I find the disparity between the reactions to McGwire becoming a batting couch and Matt Williams becoming a manager amazing. McGwire basically apologized on national TV, was dragged through the mud, had repeated calls for him to not resign, the Cardinals were condemned…the fake internet outrage machine could barely keep calm about it. But Matt Williams, who was caught buying steroids in 2002? Meh.

    Just so we’re clear: 500 home runs + steroids + batting coach = OUTRAGE!
    300 home runs + steroids + manager = Whatever.

    • raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

      Maybe a little overstated, there were a couple outraged commenters for yesterday’s post. However, basically yes, and it is an obvious double standard.

      • cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        No, not really overstated at all. Think back to 2009. For God’s sake Brian Williams of started the Nightly News by giving an editorial condemnation of McGwire!. There were many editorials condemning this written on major news sites. Overstated? It was a pretty huge media circus when it happened. If you think this is overstated, you are remembering it wrong.

      • cohnjusack - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:19 AM

        Want some highlights about how “overstated” this was:

        Boston Globe — 11/1/2009
        “So the commissioner of baseball thinks it’s peachy-keen and okey-dokey that Mark McGwire will be the new batting instructor of the St. Louis Cardinals?

        Mark McGwire did great damage to the game Bud professes to love so much. He was the most colossal tease baseball has ever known, creating what we thought was a true Golden Moment in the sport’s history, when, in fact, it was a gigantic fraud. What McGwire did from 1995 through his retirement in 2001 was a textbook example of Greater Hitting Through Chemistry, and Bud has to know that.”

        USA Today — 10/29/2009
        “Sadly, the commissioner blew his lines. He shouldn’t have welcomed McGwire with open arms. From his bully pulpit, Selig should have sent a message throughout baseball, and to the millions of children who follow the game, that McGwire’s stunning lack of cooperation in the nation’s struggle to address the scourge of steroids would face serious consequences.”

        Not to mention the countless articles demanding that he apologize, and then the countless articles condemning him after he apologized.

      • raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:22 AM

        …and for those who might not remember, Pearlman called for the banning of McGwire this summer. I’m still waiting for the article from him calling for Williams to be banned.

      • raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Cohn–we are agreeing with each other. I only meant the “a little overstated” in that there are a small number of people who did react. I’ve no doubt that if it had been Mark McGwire being hired as a manager somewhere, we’d have a 24/7 rage fest over it.

    • bigbenh8tr - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM

      I think it has a lot to do with the Cardinals. Nobody likes their petty BS outside of Missouri.

    • asimonetti88 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM

      Look, it’s inevitable there’s going to be some couches who used steroids, so you might as well get used to it. With Americans becoming more obese ever year, there are no natural means for couches to be able to continue to support their ever growing rear ends.

      I might be biased though, I will admit. My couch used steroids. I knew it when I watched the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy back to back to back and didn’t so much as make a dent in my couch.

      • raysfan1 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:15 AM

        Now THAT was funny! However, the out loud laugh has made it harder for me to pretend to be working.

      • delsj - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        What choice did your couch have? It was either steroids or the curb. He would have either wound up in the dump or worse yet, supporting some young stupid rears in the basement of some dingy frat house.

      • sumerduckman - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        “Ford, I think I’m a sofa.”

    • chinahand11 - Oct 25, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      One thing that stands out to me is that this is the land of second chances, is it not? McGwire has taken his public scolding so let us move on, let the guy coach.

  5. Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Am I late to the “Nationals looking to add a dose of grit to their team” party?

    Yes? No? Too early, maybe?

    • paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:27 AM

      Nah, you are on time. Right now we are having appetizers at the “Williams used PEDs and everyone is ignoring it, man, what a bunch of hypocrites” happy hour.

      –paperlions @ IIATCWS

      • Jason @ IIATMS - Oct 25, 2013 at 12:20 PM

        Shoot, count me in. I hear PED’s make a tasty spread on pita chips.

      • mspauto - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        I was going to reply that my mama wouldn’t let me have PEDS because they would rot my teeth out. Then I remembered that was PEZ.

      • paperlions - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

        That is a sad story. If you have not enjoyed the wonderment that is PEZ from a PEZ dispenser, you should take advantage of the time of year and get yourself a nifty Halloween-themed PEZ dispenser and an entire bad of PEZ candies to make up for lost time. It’ll be therapeutic.

  6. stex52 - Oct 25, 2013 at 10:38 AM

    I would still be interested to see Brad Ausmus get his first gig. Since he declined the shot in Houston, he may have to take a coaching job and work his way into it.

  7. jeffharwell3 - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Who cares about the stupid steroid topic anymore??!! Get over it. People used them. For a long time. Its whatever. All you people knew it and loved when the hr race was going on… Get off your high horse and stop hating.

  8. gabeguterres - Oct 25, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    I remember an interview with Williams, like, 20-ish years ago, where he was talking about his desire to manage one day. When asked about his future coaching staff, he said he’d want Kevin Mitchell to be his bench coach. That possibility alone makes me excited about Williams getting this gig. Mitchell does have managerial experience, by the way. He skippered the (late, great) Sonoma County Crushers for a season. So … super equipped for a big league job if Randy Knorr decides to leave.

  9. chiadam - Oct 25, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Bryce must need some extra help getting big as a house.

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