Davey Johnson told Kelli Johnson before this season started that if the Nats miss the playoffs, he should be fired.
Cal Ripken complimented him on that stance Friday afternoon, during Johnson’s appearance on Ripken’s MLB Network Radio show.
“I really meant that,” Johnson responded. “If we don’t get there, they should fire my ass.”
I laughed out loud, which I don’t usually do. Johnson also told Cal that everywhere he goes, he sees a Ripken League of some sort.
“If you need a manager some day, my tenure here’s not gonna be long, so I’ll be available,” Johnson said.
Most of the interview was tremendously entertaining, likely due to Johnson’s chemistry with Cal and his co-host, Billy Ripken. Like, they asked Johnson about Steve Lombardozzi, and for some reason Johnson started talking about their joint weight-lifting sessions.
“Shoot, I’m in the weight room with him and he’s throwing around 50-pound dumbbells, 80-pound dumbbells. I’m thinking holy moly. When I came up, we weren’t allowed to lift weights. I’ve been trying here lately, and man, 30, 40 pounds is my maximum. Even my second baseman, 80-pound dumbbells, just throwing ‘em around.”
Or when Cal asked Davey how long Ian Desmond will be sidelined with his oblique injury.
“There are 500 obliques,” Johnson said. “I don’t even think I have an oblique. An oblique? I mean, he’s got an oblique? I think five or six guys have had an oblique this year....We used to take a week off and we were ready to go, but they’ve got these injuries now, I don’t even like to go there. And the treatment now is just rest.”
There were non-punch line moments, too, like when Johnson was asked about managing Bryce Harper.
“Well, he’s kind of like that old Oriole tradition that we all learned,” Johnson said. “He plays the game hard, he plays the game right. Shoot, he’s had balls hit him off the foot, he won’t come out of the lineup. [Thursday] before the game he couldn’t hold any food down, I was gonna sit him, give him a day of rest. He said no no, I’m fine, the food just didn’t agree with me. I mean, he doesn’t play like he’s 19. He’s all in.”
And, of course, Johnson was asked about shutting down Stephen Strasburg.
“He’s definitely my number one, and I hate to think about shutting him down, but that’s the policy,” Johnson said. “He doesn’t want anything to do with it. He was hacked off having to be out for a year with that surgery....And it seems like he’s just getting stronger as the year goes on. It’s not gonna be up for question. It’s just gonna be whatever the general manager says.”
(Quotations taken from live radio and might contain slight inaccuracies, but the meaning is obviously correct.)