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Friday, June 24, 2011

A Manager Quits a Team That's Exceeding Expectations -- What's the World Coming to?

About a week ago, Edwin Rodriguez resigned from his post as manager of the Florida Marlins because the Fish were 1 for June. That was unfortunate, because the Marlins are in a perpetual state of flux and have one of the two shortstops in all of baseball (let alone the NL East) who are as enigmatic as they are talented and productive. So, blame Rodriguez if you must, but then the front office and the guys on the field should shoulder some of the load, too? Right?

Wrong, because it's far easier to jettison the skipper than a dozen players or the owner.

And then you have the Nationals, who, while not baseball's version of the Washington Generals (we'll leave that for the Pirates) have been something close. Yet, they've made some bold moves, have a few guys who can play, and, under the guidance of their skipper, Jim Riggleman, found themselves at a 38-37 mark (which is great in and of itself, but they also benefit from the unstable equilibrium that is the Marlins and the Madoff- and almost any other type of malady-bitten Mets). So, if Rodriguez were to get the blame for the Marlins' demise, you would think that Riggleman would get some share of the credit for the Nats' upswing (especially without #3 hitter, Ryan Zimmerman and last year's once in a many generation pitching wunderkind draftpick, Stephen Strasburg, both lost on account to injuries)? After all, Terry Collins, who is managing a Mets' team that has a funky combination of no-names, fading stars and upstarts, is getting some credit in the Big Apple for helping the Mets avoid the abyss, which is, in this case, unfavorable comparisons to the Piraes.

You'd be wrong again.

Riggleman approached the Nats' powers and asked them to exercise his option for 2012, given the Nats' great start. The Nats' front office's response? Nuts! (Okay, so that's what the 101st Airborn'es Anthony McAuliffe told the Germans when they asked him to surrender after surrounding him in Bastogne in World War II). Actually, it was probably a polite, "no," or "no, not at this time," but whatever it was, Riggleman decided that he'd rather spend the summer at some place he'd be appreciated than in the sweltering heat of D.C. So, he quit. Just like that.

There's probably more to the story, but you don't have to be a genius (and there are quite a few self-appointed ones in Washington) to deduce that somewhere someone has whispered into Riggleman's ear that because of his success in D.C., he could be a hot commodity for other jobs come season's end. Otherwise, why resign?

Just when things were starting to improve for the Nats, they lose their manager. Right fielder Jayson Werth opined that it really wasn't a big deal, because the players do the hitting and the pitching. Perhaps Werth thought he was showing public leadership for his younger teammates, who do need not to get unnerved at the loss of their skipper. Or perhaps Werth was just being inarticulate, as he has been at times in his career. Or, worse, Werth really means it, which meams that if Werth is the exemplar of veteran leadership in the Nats' clubhouse, the Nats' might have some deeper problems than the reports out of D.C. have hinted at thus far.


Anonymous putas said...

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8:39 AM  

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