Posted on: June 24, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 6:43 pm
Jim Riggleman isn't helping himself.
His second-day explanation of why he abruptly quit as Nationals manager makes no more sense than his first-day explanation.
Riggleman told MLB Network radio Friday morning that he didn't resign Thursday because the Nationals didn't pick up his option. He said that he resigned because general manager Mike Rizzo refused to meet with him to discuss the contract option.
Sorry Jim, that's no better.
"If you're gonna tell me that we're not even gonna talk about it, then I'm not gonna go [to Chicago]," Riggleman said, according to the Washington Post.
Riggleman made a tour of radio shows Friday, apparently in hopes of telling his side and boosting his image. But with each show, and each outburst, he ate away at that image a little bit more.
He ripped into Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell. He said that the Nationals had given him a "ridiculous contract."
Please Jim, stop.
Sparky Anderson would always tell managers about to be fired that the only thing they should do was to thank the people they had worked for.
"Don't say anything bad about them," Anderson would say. "Because the next guy thinking about hiring you is watching, and he knows that he might end up firing you, too."
With Riggleman, there won't be a next guy. If he didn't guarantee that with his actions Thursday, he's helping to guarantee it with his words Friday.
Stop, Jim. Stop now.
You're only making things worse.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 10:19 am
The home team is honoring Sparky Anderson this weekend at Comerica Park.
So are the visitors.
The Tigers will finally, belatedly, retire Sparky's No. 11 in a ceremony on Sunday. The Diamondbacks -- the first-place Diamondbacks -- will show that baseball as Sparky taught it still works.
It's ridiculous that the Tigers waited until this year, until Anderson died in November, to do this. It's great, and perfectly fitting, that they chose to do it this weekend, with Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell and the team that they have tried to craft in Sparky's image in town to see it.
"Sparky meant the world to them," Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said, and anyone who knows Gibson or Trammell just a little bit knows that's 100 percent true. "He was their mentor, and their idol."
In the three years Trammell managed the Tigers, with Gibson at his side as a coach, they tried hard to teach the game as Sparky had taught it to them. For various reasons, mostly a lack of talent on the field, they lost 300 games and were never in first place after April 17.
Now Gibson is in his first full year managing the Diamondbacks, with Trammell at his side as bench coach. And this time, the Diamondbacks are in first place, ahead of the World Series champions, in the final days of June.
This time, with better talent, baseball as Sparky taught it is working the way it worked all those years for Anderson.
"I think Gibby gets the majority of the credit," Hall said. "I'd also give a lot of credit to [new general manager] Kevin Towers, and to the coaching staff. They're all on the same page like I've never seen a coaching staff."
They play baseball the way Gibson teaches it. He teaches baseball the way he learned it from Sparky.
Is there any better way to honor a Hall of Famer?
On to 3 to Watch:
1. When he took over for Mike Hargrove four years ago in Seattle -- after Hargrove stunned everyone by quitting in the middle of a long winning streak -- John McLaren said: "I have always wanted to manager, but not on terms like this." OK, John, how about these terms? The Nationals have won 11 of 12, and Jim Riggleman just stunned everyone by quitting. Oh, and this time, the team is saying you're only the interim manager until they find a new interim manager, maybe by Monday. Have fun, and bring us a win, in Nationals at White Sox, Friday night (8:10 ET) at U.S. Cellular Field.
2. The last time Tim Wakefield pitched in Pittsburgh, Jim Leyland was the Pirates manager. And Barry Bonds was in left field. The Pirates were a playoff team. And Wakefield was pitching for them. He's appeared in 574 major-league games since then, none of them in Pittsburgh. Now he returns, in Red Sox at Pirates, Saturday night (7:05 ET) at PNC Park. As an added bonus, perhaps Red Sox manager Terry Francona will put Adrian Gonzalez in the outfield, for the first time in six years and just the second time in his big-league career.
3. Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers said that Gibson has been looking forward to this weekend's series in Detroit, but mostly because he'll get to see his family. But you've got to believe it means something to him to take a first-place team into town, and you know that the Sparky Anderson ceremony, to be held before Diamondbacks at Tigers, Sunday afternoon (1:05 ET) at Comerica Park, will mean a lot to him. You also know that Gibson's main goal this weekend is to win games. "That's the way they were brought up by Sparky," Towers said.
Posted on: June 9, 2010 1:25 am
See what happens when you push the envelope just a little?
See what happens when, as Stephen Strasburg said, you give him "a little bit longer of a leash"?
What happens is the seventh inning Tuesday night. What happens is the inning that turned Strasburg's debut from outstanding to stunning. What happens is the moment of the baseball season so far, ahead of two perfect games and another no-hitter, ahead of Jason Heyward's opening day home run, ahead (yes) of Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce.
The seventh inning was three more strikeouts, giving Strasburg 14. It was a sellout crowd standing and chanting, "Let's go Strasburg!" It was a 99 mph fastball for strikeout No. 14, with Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty simply clapping his hands, along with the 40,315 fans.
"That was one of those memorable innings," Riggleman said later. "You just don’t get that many of those."
Later on this season, perhaps even on Sunday in Cleveland, Riggleman is sure to drive us crazy by pulling Strasburg early. Later on this season, even if Strasburg helps get the Nationals truly into the pennant race, the team is determined to shut him down if he reaches a predetermined innings limit (thought to be about 100 for his major-league season).
Maybe that makes sense. Maybe it doesn't. But it's going to happen. Scott Boras, Strasburg's agent, admitted Tuesday that he and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo discussed exactly those limits during last summer's negotiations after the Nats took Strasburg with the first pick in the draft.
Boras strongly believes that young pitchers need this kind of protection. He points to Dwight Gooden and Larry Dierker, and he says that pitchers who throw too many pitches at 21 run too high a risk of getting hurt and ruining careers by the time they get to 30.
"We want these performers to be elite as long as they can," Boras said.
Argue with him if you want. Point out that pitchers need to be pushed a little, allowed to push the limits a little, to become the best they can.
But understand this isn't an argument that you're going to win. The decisions have already been made, and the Nationals are going to do this Boras' way.
Even Tuesday, Riggleman admitted that he was never going to let Strasburg's pitch count hit 100. He admitted that he thought about pulling Strasburg after six innings and 81 pitches, before allowing him seven innings and 94.
"He could have gone 195," Riggleman said. "We'll make sure we don't do that."
There will be days when Strasburg shows frustration with the limits, as he did the night at Triple-A Syracuse when the Nats allowed him just 52 pitches in five innings.
Tuesday, they allowed him seven innings, and it's great that they did.
Great for him. Great for us.
One more thing about Strasburg's debut: The Nationals decided not to give him a scouting report on his first-night opponent, the Pirates.
They'll leave that for later.
Tuesday, Strasburg just let catcher Pudge Rodriguez call the pitches. Including, as Rodriguez said with a grin, "one changeup I shouldn't have called."
That would be the one Delwyn Young hit for a fourth-inning home run.
Posted on: June 19, 2008 2:01 pm
Edited on: June 19, 2008 5:38 pm
First the general manager. Now the manager.
It's been quite a week in Seattle, hasn't it?
The Mariners aren't as big a soap opera as the Mets, but they might be an even bigger mess. One scout who just watched them play said the only way to get things turned around would be to trade Ichiro. Don't expect that to happen.
Already Bill Bavasi is the ex-GM, and John McLaren is the ex-manager (replaced today by Jim Riggleman). What's clear now is that almost anyone else wearing a Seattle uniform could be gone, too. Erik Bedard, Carlos Silva (if anyone will take his salary), maybe Miguel Batista, maybe even J.J. Putz (if he can prove that he's healthy). They can't trade Richie Sexson, but they could release him.
Interim GM Lee Pelekoudas explained today's firing of manager John McLaren by saying the M's "owe it to ourselves and our fans to do everything we can to win as many games as possible."
No they don't. They're 17 1/2 games out. They're not coming back. They need to tear apart this team so they can start all over.