Jim Riggleman’s homage to Charlie Sheen took a particularly delicious turn Friday afternoon when he appeared on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio with host Bruce Murray.
I’m frankly stunned. For two years I wouldn’t even listen to Riggleman radio interviews, so sure was I that he would provide as many Web clicks as an image of wet cassette tape liners. And now he’s turned into Gilbert Arenas on truth serum.
I mean, he gets more and more quotable with each successive radio interview. This one was a gem, especially when Murray pointed out that Riggleman was suggesting his ultimatum to Mike Rizzo had a much longer back story than the media have reported.
“I’m not suggesting it; that’s a fact,” Riggleman said. “But I read the papers. I read that nonsense Tom Boswell writes, and I’ll say this: Tom Boswell has tried to be the impetus behind me not being the manager here for a long time. He is a master of the half-truth. A half-truth can be more dangerous than a lie. He prints just enough nonsense that can paint a picture.
“But he’s become such a snake and such an impetus to have me out of there, [and] he’s just written so many snide remarks. That type of stuff from such a well-respected columnist throughout the country, to get away with that nonsense, I’m just bringing it to your attention, that that’s the kind of stuff that gets written that is totally false.”
So then Murray asked whether Riggleman thought the Nats’ front-office was unduly influenced by Boswell.
“No. Not at all,” Riggleman said. “I think that the people who buy The Post and read it, you know, they see some of that stuff. And there’s just enough truth in there to get somebody’s attention, but he never tells the full story. He’s never interviewed me, he never talks to me and asks me these questions. He just writes negativity.
“And in his own words, he grew up at the knee of the great Earl Weaver. And nobody respected Earl Weaver more than I did. I’m a Marylander, I loved the Orioles and Earl Weaver. And he loves Earl Weaver, he thinks Earl Weaver invented the game, and that the Oriole Way is the way to go, and let’s get an Oriole in here. Never mind Jim Riggleman. He never thought I was the right guy for the job, and he likes to think he was the impetus of me not being here. But his opinion is so non-respected around that ballpark that I shouldn’t even be mentioning his name.”
(Boom. Boom. Boom.)
Then Murray asked Riggleman whether he thought he would be gone the moment he made his gambit on Thursday.
“I thought I would not be the manager today, that’s right,” Riggleman said. “And it had nothing to do with our season. Long before our season started, I felt like in today’s world in professional sports, I would challenge you – you won’t need to use both hands to count how many head coaches and managers in the four major sports are on a one-year contract. So I thought my contract should have been dealt with in October....With all respect to the Lerners and Mike. That’s their call. They don’t have to do that. They chose not to do it. I chose not to work under those conditions any more.”
So, is he a quitter?
“Well, I don’t use the word quit,” Riggleman said. “There’s been times where a player’s been unhappy about situations and stuff, and it’s been very rare, but now and then you’ve had a conversation where you tell a player you know what, if you don’t like it, why don’t you quit? And they don’t quit. They stay and they sulk and they complain, and they take the money.
“If I stayed under the circumstances and was unhappy and complained and carried around an attitude that was not gonna be productive for the ballclub, I think that would be quitting on the team. So I felt like the thing to do was to walk away from it. I could give the club the nine innings of managing the ballgame, but the before and after I think it was starting to affect me, my attitude about the organization, and that’s not a way to go to work and take the money.”
And about that back story that the papers aren’t printing? Riggleman said he approached Rizzo in Spring Training and twice during the season, and all three times he was brushed off.
“The last time I had spoken to Mike, I’d mentioned that you know Mike, there’s gonna come a point where I come in and I say you know what, be prepared to have someone else take this, because if we’re not gonna at least talk about my situation, then I’m not gonna stay on. That’s the one thing about it: to be portrayed as I gave him nine innings to make this decision, a knee-jerk reaction? I kind of planted this seed with Mike for months that we need to be talking, and we weren’t, so I said you know what, enough’s enough.”