by Charlie Miller
I admire a man with principles. I really do. I especially admire men who stand firm on principles.
Do I believe that Jim Riggleman should be unhappy with his contract situation? Yes. Do I agree with his principles? Not entirely.
It’s been interesting reading so many columns in support of Riggleman. And I understand that he has a point in that he has earned another year, and obviously the organization is not completely sold on the veteran skipper.
The Washington Nationals are over .500. How many of us expected that this season? Next season, with the services of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, maybe. But not this season. So I agree that Riggleman has earned another year at the helm. But does that mean the right thing to do is bail out on his team?
Every day baseball managers ask their players to put aside their contract situations, show up and play the game hard, the right way. They ask players to forget about not having a contract extension and dive for those game-deciding line drives. They expect players not to worry about their batting averages during on-going negotiations when asked to give themselves up to advance runners. They expect players to prepare themselves to perform at high levels everyday.
So shouldn’t we expect the same from the manager? Isn’t a double standard to expect that of players, but give the manager a pass?
And it’s not like Riggleman is a Hall of Fame manager. I mean, he isn’t even close. Prior to this season he’s led a winning team just twice — in 1995 and in 1998, when he led the Cubs to the National League wild card. The Cubs were swept by the Braves, so he’s never won a postseason game.
I would be surprised to see Riggleman in another dugout anytime soon. Really, who would hire a manager who just quit on his team?