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June 24, 2011

The BP Broadside

The Hubris of Riggleman

by Steven Goldman

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Vanity is a sin not because our self-approval hurts others, but ourselves. It blinds us to our own limited value, which is a particularly handicapping set of blinders to wear in the workplace. Many of us have fought the impulse to quit a job with which we have grown frustrated, thinking, “No one else does what I do here, or can do it as well as I do it even if they tried; let’s just see how they get along without me.”

Don’t ever let yourself think that; unless you’re the star of an eponymously-titled television program, the business might experience some temporary turbulence as the result of your absence, but chances are it’s going to be just fine in the long term. Most of us are, no matter how talented, dispensable. There might not be someone exactly like us ready to take our place, but Mr. or Miss Close-Enough is always right around the corner, and in most cases close enough will do just fine.

In baseball, there is the well-known tale of Charlie Dressen, best related by Bill James in his underappreciated Guide to Baseball Managers. Dressen, a former manager and longtime coach with undeniable baseball acumen, took over a successful Dodgers team in 1951 and won two pennants in three years, narrowly missing the third when he bollixed up the playoff game against the Giants that ended with Bobby Thomson’s “shot heard ‘round the world.” At this point, his Dodgers record was 298-166 (.642).

Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley liked to keep his managers on one-year contracts. Maybe he was thinking back to the early 1930s, when the team fired both Max Carey and Casey Stengel before their contracts were out, thereby paying them to take a year’s vacation. Dressen had a problem with the policy and insisted on a three-year deal. He was a good manager, or at least an intelligent one, and he knew it. No doubt, like Jim Riggleman, he felt that as a man in his 50s he was too old not to receive the respect implied by a long-term commitment. He likely felt he had played an important role in the team’s success, and didn’t want each new season to be an on-the-job audition for the following one. This is entirely understandable. It was also, in one important respect, wrong.

O’Malley said, “Hey, we’d love to have you back, but not on those terms, sorry.” The impasse was never resolved. O’Malley turned the team over to Walter Alston, the manager of his International League team. Dressen, shut out of the majors, headed off to the Pacific Coast League to manage the Oakland Oaks for a year, then resurfaced with the Washington Senators where, as good a manager as he might have been, he couldn’t rescue a team whose ownership wasn’t overly invested in having a farm system or African Americans (as either players or customers). James convincingly argues that this series of decisions likely kept Dressen out of the Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, though Alston was, as one writer put it, “23 years of bad managing,” the Dodgers rolled on to seven pennants and four championships during his tenure. He in no way possessed the brilliance of Dressen (Jackie Robinson called him “a wooden Indian”), but it turned out the Dodgers didn’t require more than a steady hand. When he was hired, a sportswriter remarked, “The Dodgers do not need a manager, and that is why they got Alston.” To some degree, this was true; the team, with its strong farm, executives, and ownership (remember, we’re talking about the O’Malleys, not the McCourts) might have been better off with a more nimble tactician (particularly in 1962), but it was generally going to put a good product on the field that needed gentle guidance more than radical sculpting. As Leonard Koppet wrote, the Dodgers “let him… manage the team on the field and in the clubhouse, with no hint of larger responsibilities.”

After Alston had signed the last of his 23 one-year deals, the Dodgers switched to Tommy Lasorda and added another four pennants and two titles. Lasorda was a very different manager than Alston, but the strength of the organization remained consistent and that allowed the outcomes to remain consistent despite the change of emphasis brought by the new skipper. A manager can be the making of a team in small but important ways, but in most cases (with some notable exceptions), the team is the making of the manager.

Riggleman might have considered the way managers and teams interact before presenting Nationals GM, and thereby ownership, with an ultimatum. His career record doesn’t testify to his being a transformational figure, and the recent Nationals turnaround is potentially an ephemeral little soap bubble. Bob Brenly won 92 games and a World Series (two things Riggleman has yet to do), and it didn’t prove he was a good manager. A 15-6 June no more made Riggleman indispensible than the team’s 23-31 record over the previous two months was grounds for immediate dismissal. Note that the Nationals have gone 7-1 in one-run games this month. That’s not progress, that’s a series of lucky breaks disguised as real progress.

Like Dressen, Riggleman had a good thing going but overrated his advantage and destroyed himself. Only the future will tell if he did so more thoroughly than his predecessor, who did, after all, go on to manage in the majors for all or part of another nine seasons. Perhaps, like Billy Martin saying, “One’s a born liar and the other’s convicted” of Reggie Jackson and George Steinbrenner in 1978, he had an emotional need to get fired but, unable to push himself to jump, maneuvered so that his being pushed became an inevitability.

That kind of psychological explanation would be preferable to what might turn out to be the plain ol’ vanilla truth: that Riggleman believed the Nationals couldn’t get along without him. With the fruits of the farm system starting to fall into place now and in the future, he will have a long time to contemplate whether he mistook an evolution that should have been credited to the organization for his own handiwork. For Dressen, that moment came quickly: The Dodgers won their elusive first World Series title in 1955, as their former manager watched from the sidelines, having brought the Senators in at 53-101.

Riggleman’s comeuppance will probably be further off, but that’s all right. As the saying goes, act in haste, repent at leisure. Some lucky skipper will get to manage Wilson Ramos, Danny Espinosa, Ryan Zimmerman, Bryce Harper, and Stephen Strasburg to an NL East title or two—don’t scoff; the Phillies are aging, the Mets lost, the Braves always a player and a dollar short, and the Marlins just don’t care—and he’ll reap the rewards that could have gone to the man who thought he was so important that his reward couldn’t wait another day.

Steven Goldman is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Steven's other articles. You can contact Steven by clicking here

Related Content:  Managers Of The Year,  Jim Riggleman

43 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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MightyMoGreen
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

It was interesting that Paul McCartney's sad little shot across John Lennon's bow was referenced in the front page blurb for this article. It's not an apt comparison on any level, but it was interesting. First, the song was terrible. Cats screeching-level bad, like the rest of McCartney's post-Beatles song catalogue. Paul was tied for least talented in the group, after John, George and the fifth Beatle.

Riggleman is no John Lennon in terms of his influence on the group. The strength of the Nats has been built upon the same foundation as the Tampa Bay Rays - extended futility alchemically transformed into first-pick gold.

Comparing Rigs to Dressen is way off base as well, their records and careers could hardly be less similar.

I'm a little confused as to why BP is all alone racing to attack Riggleman and defend Rizzo. Perrotto slammed Riggleman without the benefit of facts, Goldman comes up with a couple of "out of left field" comps that in no way further his argument .... this sort of stuff is reflective of BP's seeming editorial decision to place snark and opinionated blather over nuanced analysis.



Jun 24, 2011 04:35 AM
rating: -10
 
marjinwalker

Interesting comparison to the Rays, though not for the reasons you suggest. To say the Rays have been built upon fumbling their way to the top of the draft is highly misleading and has largely been discredited elsewhere. The only Rays players who were drafted #1 overall were Delmon Young, David Price, and Tim Beckham. Only one of those three has played a significant role on the strong Rays teams of late. Meanwhile astute scouting and player evaluation has lead to the Rays winning ways-- Shields, Hellickson, Joyce, Zobrist are just a few of the names that were finds due to the hard work and expertise of the front office and development personnel; and with a stocked minor league system (that has been largely acquiring players since the team's rise to the top of the AL East), they'll be more than ok for a while.

Likewise, much of the Nats' bright future has been through hard scouting work and deft player analysis. Sure, Stras and Harper give the team a hope for the future that few other teams have; but the two Zimmermen(n), Espinosa, Ramos, Desmond, and some more arms on the way down at the farm have more than a minor role in that future as well, and all are the products of scouting and development, not lucking their way to draft gold.

Jun 24, 2011 07:17 AM
rating: 6
 
MightyMoGreen

Oh, so trading Delmon Young (total draft misfire, btw) for Matt Garza didn't help the Rays? So it didn't help build the team to get B.J. Upton 2nd overall in 2002, Evan Longoria 3rd overall in 2006? Rocco Baldelli and Jeff Niemann were also chosen 6th and 4th overall.

The Rays have done an excellent job of restocking their farm system even after they no longer had a top-6 pick, something the Nats will be hard-pressed to do.

The larger point that you seem to be ignoring is that Mike Rizzo is simply not a competent baseball executive, and he was hired by one of the biggest scumbags baseball has seen recently.

Jun 24, 2011 07:43 AM
rating: 0
 
MightyMoGreen
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Ryan Zimmerman - 4th overall pick. But once again, don't let facts get in the way.

You sound personally invested, you wouldn't be a plant by any chance, would you?

Jun 24, 2011 07:47 AM
rating: -11
 
marjinwalker

Ah, but you said first-pick gold. And I'm the one letting facts get in the way?

All of those guys-- Zimmerman, Longoria, Baldelli, and Niemann-- were far from slam-dunk sure things when they were drafted. They were all calculated risks that other teams passed on for whatever reason.

No plant, just a guy who should be getting back to his day job. TGIF.

Jun 24, 2011 08:03 AM
rating: 2
 
MightyMoGreen
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I never said anything about having the first "overall" pick of the draft. Please go back to doing a horrible job at your day job.

Jun 24, 2011 08:24 AM
rating: -24
 
marjinwalker

"extended futility alchemically transformed into first-pick gold."

Will do, boss.

Jun 24, 2011 09:22 AM
rating: 3
 
MightyMoGreen
Other readers have rated this comment below the viewing threshold. Click here to view anyway.

Every team has a first pick. Extended futility makes that first pick higher. Higher picks come with higher probabilities of future success.

But don't let that stop you from doing a bad job at two things at the same time.

*Sigh* My real problem in life: I can't stop arguing with monkeys.

Jun 24, 2011 09:47 AM
rating: -18
 
geoharky

Thanks for keeping the conversation classy!

Jun 24, 2011 10:38 AM
rating: 6
 
marjinwalker

If by "every team has a first pick" you mean that every team participates in one way or another in the rule 4 draft, and one of their picks has to be their first in that draft, well, that's like saying "water is wet." But if you mean every team picks in the first round, that's demonstrably false.

"Extended futility makes that first pick higher." Nope. A team's draft position depends upon how they finished the previous year, not "extended futility."

"Higher picks come with higher probabilities of future success." Perhaps, but it's not always as much as you assume, as this article suggests-- http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=4368
What is clear is that teams that do pick higher still have to do work-- scout, develop, etc.-- if they want those picks to eventually become foundations of championship level teams. If it was just as easy as lucking into having the best amateur prospects fall into your lap, explain the Orioles and Pirates.

Jun 24, 2011 11:20 AM
rating: 6
 
Matt Kory

It's pretty much time for you to be quiet now.

Jun 26, 2011 07:25 AM
rating: 5
 
cordially
(917)

Much as I'm loathe to take the side of MoGreen, since he's being something of a wang, this argument is pretty weak. His point pretty clearly was the Rays have benefitted a ton from very favorable draft positions over the last few years. Restricting it to first overall picks is missing the point. Saying Delmon Young did nothing for them is also false since he netted them Garza. I'm very curious to see what the Rays minor league system will be like in a few years now that they're not getting tons of high picks.

Jun 24, 2011 11:10 AM
rating: 6
 
marjinwalker

But they still had to utilize scouting and player development/analysis of resources to capitalize on Young by trading him and Brendan Harris for Garza (and Bartlett). To use Delmon Young as evidence that the Rays front office has lucked into prominence is highly suspect to me.

Jun 24, 2011 11:33 AM
rating: 2
 
Randy Brown
(189)

My opinion is that stating that Young magically turned into Garza is the part of this conversation that is missing the point. How many other teams would have had the balls to trade their 1st overall pick after one season in the majors (and a guy universally seen at the time as a perennial .300 hitter in the making) for a 3rd starter?

Your statement about MoGreen being something of a wang, however, is spot-on.

Jun 24, 2011 11:39 AM
rating: 10
 
BP staff member Steven Goldman
BP staff

1. While I agree that as a supposed shot at Lennon the McCartney song was a weak effort, I like it on its own merits and it seemed to fit. As for the rest of Paul's output, Ben Lindbergh and I will be disagreeing with you from the comfort of field-level seats at his upcoming Yankee Stadium concert. I think your "least talented" remark betrays a pretty weak understanding of how the Beatles functioned as a unit. Still, tastes vary, so fine: you registered an opinion.

2. The Dressen comparison is a parallel in terms of a manager who confused his own importance in what is, as you actually point out, an organizational-level success that results in part from good drafting (or in the Dodgers' case, scouting and open-mindedness). That they are not identical figures in terms of what got them to this point doesn't matter at all. It's that they arrived at roughly the same place.

3. Look around the web, turn on your radio. I am not alone in being critical of Riggleman, I'm sorry. Even those defending him don't endorse how this was handled. And John's piece hardly qualified as a slam.

4. Finally, I get really, really bored of hearing "snark over analysis," which has been a favorite of some readers since I got here in 2003. There is no snark in this piece. There is a historical comp. We reject [anything] over analysis on the rare occasions we get it. While I respect and appreciate every reader who takes the time to read and comment, I have long since come to the conclusion that sometimes, to invoke another 60s songwriter, a man will hear what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. Sometimes a writer starts with a certain intention but doesn't execute, so his motives are not well understood by the readers. That's his fault. But you can carry through exactly as you meant to and still not be understood, because as with opinions on ex-Beatles, levels of comprehension vary. I have learned to be happy simply that people are galvanized enough to say something, so again, I thank you.

Jun 24, 2011 12:11 PM
 
MightyMoGreen

I am a huge Beatles fan, and freely acknowledge that Paul was absolutely integral to that unit as a counterweight to Lennon's excesses. His post-Beatles career was less than inspiring. I own every Beatles, John, and George album, but all of the Wings stuff is godawful. In my opinion, of course. "Too Many People" was not a supposed shot at Lennon, it was a definite Broadside (like how I worked that in?)

The snark comment was more directed at Perrotto, although I still do not feel you did a balanced or reasonable job in your analysis.

Mike Rizzo has done a horrendous job as GM, as one would expect from a Bowden hire. The Jayson Werth signing will hamstring that franchise financially for a long time. Announcing yourself as a major free agent player by dramatically overspending on a lukewarm talent is not a good strategy for a mid-market team in a contested market. Then simultaneously keeping his manager on a second one-year contract (for $600k, not a lot for an MLB manager at all) without even extending him on the cheap ... talk about pennywise and pound foolish. The contrast is just too glaring.

Would it have been that difficult to tell that side of the story as well?

Jun 30, 2011 07:51 AM
rating: 0
 
jedjethro

Less than MightyMoGreen,

"Paul was tied for the least talented in the group" ... and then you put on a blast on the writer for putting opinionated blather or nuanced analysis?

While he wasn't my favorite Beatle, to suggest that Paul McCartney is anything less than incredibly and immensely talented is either crazy or a lame attempt at trolling. Either way, you're a moron.

Jun 26, 2011 15:35 PM
rating: 2
 
MightyMoGreen

Extremely jedjethro:

Yes, I was opinionated while criticizing the analysis. In ... the ... Comments ... section. Where opinionated blather belongs.

Paul McCartney was very much less than incredibly and immensely talented. If that makes me a crazy lame trolling moron, so be it.

If that makes you a crude, insulting ignoramus, well yes it does. It does.

Jun 30, 2011 07:55 AM
rating: -1
 
kmbart

Mr. Goldman's analysis of the situation may be spot on, but as he notes only time will tell. While I believe that quitting one job before you have another - especially in THIS economy - is an unwise decision, I'm not at all certain that the Nationals have as rosy a future as Mr. Goldman suggests.

How many months ago was he lamenting the excessive contract given to Jayson Werth? Are there guarantees that Desmond, Espinosa and Ramos will all continue to progress? Would any GM in baseball have passed on Stephen Strasburg or Bryce Harper or did Rizzo take a pair of "gimme" putts earned by finishing at the back of the pack repeatedly? By the way, is Tommy John surgery always successful? Will Bryce Harper's act play in The Show? Is there any historical reason to believe that fans in Washington will start to show up in serious numbers?

With no players stepping up in his defense, it appears more and more likely that Riggleman felt that he NEEDED that management backing to maintain control in the clubhouse. As a contractor I like to have my next gig lined up before I leave an existing one, but there have been jobs where being out-of-work was better than the situation I was in.

Jun 24, 2011 05:49 AM
rating: 6
 
CRP13

I agree with what you're saying. However, with all respect, there is a gulf of a difference between being a contractor and being a major league baseball manager.

He was getting an annual salary that, while low for baseball standards, is more than 99% of this site's readership. In a job that only 30 men out of the world's six-plus billion people can hold.

I think it's pretty slimy that Rizzo held him on one year contracts for so long, but the reality is, he just walked away from most fans' dream job.

Talk about cutting off his nose to spite his face.

Jun 24, 2011 06:46 AM
rating: -1
 
WaldoInSC

But isn't it possible that Riggleman truly felt the principle was worth more than the extra cash? In a radio interview I heard, he expressed no animosity for team brass, sought no sympathy and seemed content to kick back and watch baseball as a fan.

Maybe Jim Riggleman just doesn't need managing that badly.

Jun 24, 2011 17:42 PM
rating: 4
 
Matt Kory

For what it's worth, the interview I heard was spent trashing a Washington Post columnist for perceived slights.

Jun 26, 2011 07:29 AM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

Oh sure. I really don't know how I feel. If I was in his position, I'd at least consider doing the exact same thing. But you can't deny the implications on the rest of his career.

Jun 27, 2011 06:37 AM
rating: 0
 
Ric Size

Without knowing any of what went on behind the scenes, I have to agree that this was a shortsighted and hubris-motivated move on Jim Riggleman's part. Basically, he comes off looking like he quit on his team over a tantrum. The fact is he had a contract to manage the Washington Nationals through the end of the season, and he decided not to honor it, apparently because they wouldn't negotiate an extension at this time. This raises serious questions about his character, his decision-making and his ability to selflessly lead others. When the dust settles, I don't see Jim Riggleman getting another opportunity to manage a big-league club.

Jun 24, 2011 06:34 AM
rating: 3
 
Matt Kory

It's hard to say what 29 other owners will do, but were I one of them I wouldn't consider hiring him ever.

Jun 26, 2011 07:30 AM
rating: 0
 
marjinwalker

Good article, but I'm not completely comfortable calling what Riggleman did an act of hubris. I agree that, essentially, the situation in which he works (and, in the larger picture, we all work) made him disposable. But should people be disposable? Why should we fault someone for wanting to be more than disposable? If you've given a company a number of good years of your life, I think you have at least some right to claim some semblance job certainty.

W/r/t Rizzo's arguments, I'm a bit skeptical as well. I'm not sure where Riggleman's managerial salary falls when it comes to the salaries of his peers. Perhaps $600K is well below market value, perhaps not. But Rizzo's argument-- that it would unfairly saddle the Nats to extend him for three years-- is a common one GMs (probably rightfully) use in player evaluation and strategic use of a team's limited resources. But applying that argument to managerial evaluation seems like it could be somewhat misleading. Is $600K *that* much to spend on a manager? Will that money/duration really be essentially a sunk cost that unfairly saddles a team when it attempts to acquire the talent it needs to be competitive? Because that is essentially what Rizzo is arguing here.

Jun 24, 2011 07:56 AM
rating: 4
 
kmbart

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, Riggleman's $600,000 salary would have been the third lowest in baseball - IN *2007*, the last year they have full figures.

Coupled with the polite and less-than-vigorous farewells given by his players in the post-game quotes, it's apparent that Riggleman's authority in the dugout was every bit as tenuous as he thought.

I wonder if the Florida managerial situation impacted the Nationals' front office (i.e. Rizzo's) decision making process, perhaps pushing Riggleman so that he would clear out and allow Washington to go hard after Valentine before the Fish could make a play.

Jun 24, 2011 11:25 AM
rating: 1
 
mickeyomostly

I am strongly disappointed in Rizzo in this case. I am a Phillies fan but I get and watch the Nat's games and that included Riggleman's post game news conferences. I saw him when they were in a rut and on the recent high and the hubris conceit does not hold up. In yesterdays Phillies pre-game ,Charlie Manuel was asked about the resignation. He said he understood J.R.'s decision. He referenced his own situation in Cleveland as being very uncomfortable. Even with his great success here over the past few seasons he had to hold the Phillies' feet to the fire .this Spring to get an extension. I think you are wrong about the number of managers who are "special". There are clearly difference makers for a variety of reasons. In the restaurant world, long ago, when I was in it, the management held that attitude toward waiters that I now see in this case: replacable. Interchangable. I think there are a lot of very vanilla , mediocre managers and that Riggleman has shown in his steady way at this point in his career with this group, he was the perfect fit. The Nats have money and they may have really taken a giant step backward. Remember, all he wanted was a conversation about their plans and they (i.e. Rizzo) would not budge. Maybe the hubris is on someone else's foot in this case. Michael fahey, Newark,de.

Jun 24, 2011 11:32 AM
rating: 3
 
kcboomer

There are a heck of a lot guys in their 50's with former major league manager on their resume than there are jobs available. These guys are almost indistinguishable from one another. As BP used to say they are "fungible". $600K might be low compared to his peers but it is way above what he is going to get elsewhere.

And the thing is Riggleman had to know this. If Rizzo wishes to be intractable on the option year he rides out the season and becomes a free agent with something to talk about (assuming the Nats finish around .500). Now nobody will touch him because he walked off the job in mid-season. He will be lucky to be making $100K next year.

Jun 24, 2011 11:58 AM
rating: 2
 
pobothecat

Really? I'm not sure that Riggleman's stock has ever been higher.

It's not like Rizzo is held in the highest regard among other GM's. After the Edwin Jackson/Adam Dunn bait-and-switch with Kenny Williams last year, and the crazy Werth contract, I'd think that Riggleman's agent is having a lot of very friendly conversations today.

Jun 24, 2011 12:26 PM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

That's kind of like saying that back in the mid-90's, Creed's stock had never been higher, when compared to other bands.

A very brief period of semi-fame cannot hide the suck that lies beneath.

Jun 24, 2011 12:37 PM
rating: 5
 
pobothecat

Yeah, I do see what you --- and others --- are saying: self-sabotage, "quitter" label, over-estimating his own value, etc.

I just wanted to toss out the idea that there'll likely be several front-offices predisposed to taking the opposite side of any disagreement involving Mike Rizzo.

Secondly --- something I didn't realize until the Johnson signing --- Davey was already on board as the dreaded "special consultant".

Doesn't it seem clear now that it was this that Riggleman was responding to? Saying, essentially, "Am I really the man here, or am I just a placeholder for this star-power guy you've got lurking around the clubhouse?" He forced Rizzo's hand. That's all.

And didn't Rizzo show his true colors, criticizing Riggleman for his "lack of loyalty" to the team when it was exactly the team's lack of loyalty to its manager that sparked all of this?

Jun 27, 2011 10:38 AM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

You may be right. Riggleman is of an age that many who can, do retire. He is notedly single. Maybe he wants to settle down, with or without a job. If the case is that he really doesn't need the job (even the worst paid MLB manager makes good coin) than good on him for standing up for himself. If hew did this thinking that the grass will be greener on the other side, well, the other side may not be what he thought it would be.
I think he's shot his wad as far as MLB is concerned, but would be a great "get" for an ambitious NCAA squad.

Jun 27, 2011 12:13 PM
rating: 0
 
CRP13

I agree with every word of this. The problem is, this is a situation where nobody is right. But Riggleman definitively loses in this case, and Rizzo isn't harmed, and Johnson wins.

All Riggleman really did was stiff himself out of about $300K and minimized the possibility of future major league jobs.

So yeah, I agree, but the only person harmed here is Riggleman.

Jun 27, 2011 14:22 PM
rating: 0
 
mickeyomostly

Creed? Creeedance Clearwater? Go back to The Andrew Sisters..what could they have done to stop the fact that time waits for no one. Let's keep it in the present and not look at , as my fellow Amerians so often do: Wow! what a hit to Riggleman's lifestyle. 600k vs 100k...there goes some magazine subscriptions at the very least..no more high octane , cheaper vodka.etc ...There was a union election in Ohio in my lifetime where the issue was not debated: the company admitted that the job conditions were cancer causing. If the Union voted to force the installation of the necessary safety equipment, the company (a big tire outfit) was leaving. They voted to keep their jobs(and lose their lives earlier). The issue here is not about Jim's wallet. He knows that stuff, dontcha think? He is not a kid. He has got this managing stuff down and he wants the respect he feels he is due. Can you get past the paycheck part and even imagine someone making a decision based on something other than a paycheck? I can see the Cubs for one giving him a call. Real soon. MF

Jun 24, 2011 14:22 PM
rating: -2
 
CRP13

what?

Jun 27, 2011 06:37 AM
rating: 1
 
kmitchell

OK

But I agree with the first poster, kmbart. This is clearly an act by a guy that's fed up with not being the guy in control by some clubhouse situation.

In USAToday's edition - Sports 4C - Riggleman is quoted as saying: "In today's sports, it's not a good environment to work in. You have to send a message to professional ballplayers (that) this man's the manager."

It's all well and good to call this overplaying your hand but I think it smacks more of somebody that's had enough.

Jun 24, 2011 17:41 PM
rating: 4
 
TaylorSanders

Maybe Riggleman suspected that they weren't going to keep him around after this year and he just accelerated their decision.

Jun 24, 2011 20:17 PM
rating: 2
 
sordfish

Right-0n on Riggleman. Whether principal or a dumb attempt to cash in on a perceived good immediate position, it was dumb. He'll be lucky to ever get a bench coach job. And it was amusing to see Dressen brought up as your prime example (I'm old enough to remember when both he and Durocher were coaches trying to backstab Alston). But the snide take on Alston, come on!
“23 years of bad managing,”, "seven pennants and four championships during his tenure". Aren't those two items t a little contradictory. Just try to tell me that someone who won a WS with Sweet Lou Johnson as his cleanup was that bad a skipper - skeptical response may be presumed.

Jun 25, 2011 17:32 PM
rating: 0
 
apollo

It was not hubris. JR had enough and he resigned rather than play out the string. He didn't bash anybody when he gave his reasons. He may not get another managing job? Well he's 58 and that may well be what would happen anyway. He probably understands how resigning in this matter might play out. Older employees might value things differently than younger ones

Jun 25, 2011 19:37 PM
rating: 3
 
Hendo

Good point. Once or twice as he was doing the circuit of radio interviews on Friday, Riggleman stated that if he didn't get the conversation he wanted, he didn't feel as if his heart would have been in his job. Whatever the substance of that rationale, it seems as good a reason as any for moving on.

The abrupt timing of his announcement would make me more apt to accuse Riggleman of insensitivity than of hubris, but I'd be most apt to admit that very few of us know the full details of his relationship with the club.

Jun 26, 2011 07:13 AM
rating: 0
 
Matt Kory

Good discussion, but I wouldn't place too much stock in radio interviews. As anyone would do, Riggleman is attempting to place himself and his decision in the most positive light possible. It's understandable but just because he said it doesn't make it so.

Jun 26, 2011 09:51 AM
rating: 0
 
Ctmnt08

Love the historical comparison, love the extrapolation, and (as usual for BP and for Mr. Goldman in particular) I love the way it was put forward.

In fact, I'm on board with this whole article right up to the point where the Nats win the division in the near-future. I just can't see that happening any time soon. It's not like the team suddenly declined between Montreal and Washington; this team hasn't been competitive in quite some time. Valid points are made in the last paragraph, but the Phils have the fans and the money to replace the aging vets (assuming Ryan Howard's $25 mil a year doesn't turn out to be an anchor of a contract), the Mets seem to be more competently run right now, and the Marlins are always capable of buying a World Series then immediately dismantling the championship team (1997, 2003).

The "dollar short" analysis of the Braves (despite them being my favorite team) is, unfortunately, pretty dead on...

Jun 26, 2011 00:13 AM
rating: 0
 
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