So it turns out that Cal Ripken was never even a candidate for the Nats managerial job. I still think it’s okay that we all briefly went crazy with Ripken speculation, because Jayson Werth said that was his top choice, and Ripken didn’t say anything to quash the possibility, and he’s a beloved figure for many fans here.
But before Matt Williams is officially introduced, there’s still time for one last bit of Ripkenalia.
GM Mike Rizzo was on ESPN 980’s The Sports Fix on Thursday, talking about the Williams hire. Before the interview ended, Kevin Sheehan asked whether Ripken had ever been on the team’s short list.
“No, you know, we didn’t interview Cal,” Rizzo said. “We had a mutual decision that it wasn’t the right time for Cal. Cal is a guy I know very very well, I respect a lot. I’ve had a lot of candid conversations over the last couple years with him. He’s been at a lot games here and has sat with me a few times. And he’s got great baseball acumen. But we mutually agreed that this just wasn’t the right time or place for him.”
As for Williams, Sheehan also asked how he would be with the media, seeing as how he’s following a guy who was possibly D.C.’s best sports-radio interview over the past few years.
“I think he’ll be upfront and honest and kind of tell it like it is,” Rizzo said. “I think he’s fairly media savvy; he was a member of the media for a couple of years, I believe; did some broadcasts with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’s an upfront and honest guy that I think is extremely articulate and intelligent. So I think he’ll come across very smooth, and he’ll be very good for the Washington market.”
“You know, Matt Williams may be good with the media, Mike, but he ain’t gonna be Davey,” Thom Loverro said to close the interview. “I’m just telling you.”
“Oh, there’s no doubt,” Rizzo agreed. “Davey was a unique manager and a unique man, and a guy I loved and admired for a long time now.”