WASHINGTON, D.C. — Walking out of Nationals Park yesterday with my dad, I was pretty ecstatic. The Washington Nationals had just beaten the Seattle Mariners to improve their record to 38-37, the first time they had a winning record in the summertime since 2005. They did with 8 innings of shutout pitching by Jason Marquis and Tyler Clippard pitching a scoreless 9th. Marquis even had a no hitter for over 5 innings, but it was broken up by Michael Pineda, the M’s pitcher.
The bottom of the 9th was one that Riggleman will hopefully savor, because the Nats got to BUNT TO WIN. A hit, two bunts loaded the bases, Laynce Nix flied out to left to get the game-winning RBI.
Of course, by the time I had transferred to the Yellow Line at L’nfant Plaza, I had gotten a text message from former Pentagon City Bureau Chief that Riggleman resigned. RE-SIGNED OR RESIGNED?! I got clarification and was shocked that Riggleman would do something so rash, especially as he was seemingly building leverage. Sure, he didn’t have a contract for next year, but he still had one for this year. Some suggest that he quit on his players, but based on his remarks that some of them were probably thrilled by the news, perhaps he felt they quit on him despite the recent winning. Still, Riggleman seriously overplayed his hand here in demanding a conversation or extension (depends on who you ask) by the close of business, for lack of a better term. I can understand why he’s frustrated that the Nats and GM Mike Rizzo apparently thought of him as nothing more than placeholder manager and paid him accordingly, but that’s what you get when your career managerial winning percentage is one of the worst in history. Sure, Riggleman never had great teams given to him, but that’s the way it goes. He finally had some players with an upside and he was getting a lot out of them right now — best way to market oneself.
Now, Riggleman isn’t the only one who screwed up here. Once again, the front office communicated poorly with others in the organization. Mike Rizzo has certainly one a solid job in negotiating with Scott Boras over #1 draft picks and found some gems (Jordan Zimmermann and Michael Morse), but his social graces are quite lacking. This is really an indictment of the whole organization, not just Riggleman.
Of course, if they take 2 of 3 from the White Sox over the weekend in Chicago, nobody will much care.
I probably should be mad about all this, another one step forward, two steps backwards moment for the organization, but I’m not — in fact I am quite entertained. Yesterday evening was quite entertaining, whether it be on Twitter or the Nats radio post-game show or just my own cocktail party suppositions with my wife about all of this. She was a good sport about it by the way.