If I had to choose one word for Jim Riggleman’s public posture in the 24 hours after he quit the Nats, I’d probably go with “defiant,” with honorable mentions to “unbowed,” “combative,” “defensive,” “obstinate” and “straight-up off-his-meds insane.”
We haven’t really heard from Riggleman in the nearly three weeks since his resignation, but he resurfaced on Wednesday in an interview with Dan Patrick. And, having listened to pretty much the entire Riggleman canon in the 24 hours after he quit, I feel safe saying that his posture has changed. This time, he sounded reflective, and contemplative, and even a little bit sad.
“It really wasn’t a plan,” Riggleman said, when Patrick asked how long the manager had planned on making that stand. “It was more just something that was building, and it’s unfortunate it came to this point. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation. Certainly I wish I was there managing the ballclub, but at the same time, I don’t want to be there under the circumstances, so it is a lose-lose situation. It’s just something that was building. I can’t say that it was something that I knew that I was gonna do two months earlier or a month earlier, but certainly in the last couple weeks that I was there, even though we were playing good baseball, it was building. And it just got to the point where I felt this was a decision that I needed to make.”
Riggleman was similarly reflective when asked if he made the right decision, saying “I think it was the right decision for me” and that while everyone has thoughts about such a public move, “the only person that you’ve got to answer to is yourself.”
To his credit, Patrick then said that he had been among the many commentators who criticized Riggleman for quitting on his team, and that he believed the manager should have improved his negotiating position by maximizing his team’s performance.
“I certainly understand you or anybody else taking that opinion,” Riggleman said. “But you know, when you’re there every day and you’re living it, it’s a little different. And I do feel that when you’re asking players to give everything they have, that’s a huge commitment you’re asking from them. And if you yourself are in a state of mind where it’s gonna be tougher for you to invest everything you have, then staying on is maybe not the right thing to do.
“Because you’re not gonna be in the right frame of mind to lead the ballclub, you’re doubting as to whether the organization has plans for you to continue on after the immediate future. So as I said, it’s a no-win situation. You’re not gonna be projecting yourself in a manner that players are gonna be motivated to play for you, because you’re starting to doubt your own status in the organization.”
To that end, Riggleman again said that he never presented the Nats with an ultimatum about extending his tenure, but that he merely insisted they had to have a conversation.
“There was no ultimatum of pick up my option or I’m not gonna continue to manage, because that was definitely not gonna lead to a good place. I knew that,” Riggleman said. “I felt like I was investing myself 100 percent into the ballclub and wanted to see what it was gonna take for me to move forward with the ballclub in the future, and that was only gonna be found out if we talked. I think everybody in the game who is a manager or an executive is the game is investing 100 percent, just as I was, and want to know if you’re a part of the future. And those discussions are done privately; they’re not public. People don’t even know those discussions are taking place, and that’s what I wanted to do. I just wanted to open up a discussion about what do I need to do to move forward with this ballclub, to give myself a chance to be a part of the future of the ballclub....
“And it did not have to do with we had won a few ballgames lately. I know that was a very small sample of ballgames. It was just a general feeling that maybe the organization felt that I was a guy who was gonna manage this ballclub here now but down the road we’re gonna still be looking. And that’s just not a comfortable feeling, when you know that maybe they’re looking for somebody else while you’re doing the job. ”
Which led to a discussion of Riggleman’s future in the game of baseball. He said he would be going to San Francisco on Thursday to meet with Giants manager Bruce Bochy and GM Brian Sabean, and that the Giants duo “have been just extremely welcoming for me to come out and talk to them.”
“I’m hoping that there’s something that works for them and works for me and we can move forward in that direction,” Riggleman said. “And then when the season’s over, if they feel that there’s something I can do for them in the future, fine. If not, I certainly appreciate the opportunity to work for them in the meantime.”
And will quitting on his Nats team keep him from ever getting another managerial job? Riggleman seemed to admit that it very well might, but that he understood that possibility before he walked away.
“Well again, this is something that I had considered,” he said. “You know, I knew that the consequences of walking away from it, the effect that can have on people and what they think, but nobody knows what you’re really going through in those situations. I just have to live with those consequences. I made my own bed and I’ll sleep in it. I certainly love to manage, but if people have questions about it, about me in the future, then I can’t do anything about that. I just have to live with that.
“You know, there’s been some people in the game who have made this same decision through the course of a season and they’ve come back and done very well as managers. I don’t think it should be the defining moment for somebody, but if it is, then again, I have to live with that. ”
(Via Reader Mark.)