Davey Johnson and Mark Lerner on Davey Johnson’s retirement

Here are two people talking about Davey Johnson’s final year with the Nationals. They’re talking about the same thing, and using the same communication methods — mouths and words and all –  but golly, the implications seem somewhat different.

Here’s Davey Johnson, talking to Kilgore about being in his final year: “That sounds like finality. Obviously, it’s my last year managing the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are more comfortable with that than me, because I don’t really go to that point. I think you basically work till you die.”

And here’s Mark Lerner, talking to WUSA about the same thing: “He made that decision with his family, and we respect that. We hate to lose him, but hopefully we finish it with a ring on his finger. I think that’s what he wants. He’s been pretty strong out there about World Series or bust. I’m not going quite there; I’ve got to get to the playoffs first. But he’s an incredible manager, just an incredible person.”

I feel like I’m missing something here. Because if Johnson isn’t comfortable leaving and wants to work until he dies, and the Nationals hate to lose him and are only deferring to his wishes, it would seem like there’s an opportunity for common ground. But don’t ask me; I just write about hot dogs and mustaches.

In other Lerner interview news, he appeared on MASN before Monday’s game. The questions were somewhat more lenient than what you might face at, say, a kindergarten quiz bowl.

“You have quickly emerged as, if not the best owner in the game, right at the top,” Ray Knight said, during the interview. “Just the fact that this team has soared under your leadership. And Mike Rizzo and those guys have done a tremendous job, but I know playing for owners, it starts right there. Because you have to make the decisions whether ot not to make those acquisitions. And Mark, you’ve done such a tremendous job with this organization. We thank you, Johnny and I thank you, the whole state – or the whole District – thanks you.”

All questions should start with that.

And in one final bit of opening day inquisition, Lerner also talked to SiriusXM MLB Network Radio about his relationship with Rizzo.

“I love sitting and listening to Mike,” Lerner said. “Like at the Winter Meetings, I love just sitting in the corner of the room and listening to these guys, because as a fan, how cool is that? Mike and I will have our little chats, and mostly I’m just asking him questions. But on the big moves, he consults with us, and it’s been a great relationship. We’ve never ever turned him down on anything, once. We make him work for it sometimes, but I think our relationship is as good as it can be. It’s his job, and we let him run with it.”

(Bottom image via @kevin_reiss.)

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg | April 4, 2013