Nationals Baseball: On Rizzo

Friday, June 24, 2011

On Rizzo

Before this gets turned into a "Harper hates Rizzo" thing a few notes

  • I think Rizzo has done a good job so far, maybe even very good
  • I don't know the man. He could be a great guy. He just comes off to me in public as an ass. I prefer guys that don't.
  • My complaint is that he wouldn't come out and explicitly tell Riggs that he was a seat-filler. He doesn't have to keep Riggs on. He doesn't have to respond to demands. A conversation would have been nice but from what we hear from Riggs it wouldn't have been much of one on his end, so that whole 3rd point on last night's post becomes moot.
The fact that this is a mess is Riggleman's fault. This is Riggleman's mistake.


John O'Connor said...

Maybe Rizzo hadn't firmly decided Riggleman was just a seat filler. This year the team is playing better, but Marquis probably hates Riggleman and Werth might also, so there's some good and bad to consider in deciding whether you want to sign up for another year with Riggleman. Maybe by the end of the year, you'd have a better sense on whether this group of players is likely to respond to Riggleman in a positive way next year. I don't think it's unreasonable to say you don't want to make that decision after 75 games, which is basically what Rizzo said.

Section 220 said...

Agree with John. Riggs hasn't done one single thing at any point in his long career to justify a guarantee. So, maybe Rizzo was just waiting to see how the year went before making a decision. I don't see how Rizzo is a bad guy for not telling Riggs something that was pretty painfully obvious - that the organization was not willing to commit to Riggs longterm.

More importantly, to me, Riggs quit. You sign up to play 162, you play 162. If his delicate feathers were so ruffled by the "uncertainty" of not having a guarantee that he hadn't earned, he should have had the decency and basic baseball character to have quit before the season. What you do not do is throw a hissy fit and quit in the middle of the season because of what you think you're entitled to. I'm repeating what I've said on other blogs, so I apologize, but there is a long and honorable tradition of playing out the string in baseball. Riggs should have known better. I hope he enjoys his permanent retirement (I wouldn't hire him to work at a concession stand), comforted by the warm memories of blowing out Kerry Woods' arm, losing far more often than he won, and quitting on a third place team in the middle of the season like a gutless, arrogant, cranky hack.

Sorry for the rant. I just can't get past the quitting on the team angle, and it frustrates me to no end that, in a season where the Nats were finally looking like something other than a punchline for sportswriters who had run out of snarky things to say about the Pirates and the Clippers, THIS happens.

Anonymous said...

Harper love your stuff but not sure how you can say Rizzo "seems like an ass". To me he seems like a guy who doesn't put up with any crap and doesn't sugar coat how he feels about things. Had I been Rizzo yesterday, and some jackass comes into my office -- someone I HIRED and went to bat for despite a losing managerial record -- and put that ultimatum to me, I would have said "F you, I accept your resignation right now, McLaren can manage this game."

I have my issues with some things Rizzo does, but I actually think he bent over backwards yesterday to be charitable to Riggs, even giving him a chance after the game to change his mind. this is 100% in Riggleman. He is a quitter and is finished.

Harper said...

JOC 220 - maybe he hadn't decided. I don't really believe that though. It's like if your dating someone who's moving away and they keep saying "I'm not sure if we'll be together. Let's just worry about that later" You buy that that could last?

and 220 - Not only did he quit but he made nothing better by doing so. Not the team, not his life. Let that be a lesson kids, don't quit! (unless you are being sexually harassed and plan to sue!)

Harper said...

Anon - As a recovering ass, part of not being one IS learning to sugar coat. But we're all going to have our own impressions. He's not out and out a jerk so I'm not going to argue if you see him differently.

Harper said...

He's no Bowden. In which case I'd say you were dead wrong.

Hoo said...

At times Rizzo goes completely out of his way to belittle folks and burn bridges in an Olberman type manner.

Most people don't like it when people belittle the dead so when Rizzo pops off it rubs folks the wrong way.

I completely agree that it's Riggleman's fault and Riggleman is a fool. I've never been a fan of his, but I was giving him credit this year and thought he deserved an extension. But then he pulled this stunt and validated my opinion of him.

But the Rizzo treatment of Riggleman is pretty much par for the course and a natural progression of Rizzo's behavior. Rizzo has a bit of a bully in him that is unappetizing. Many of us remember Rizzo's uncalled for disparaging comments on players he cut. These players had little talent and weren't really MLB players. But to trash guys who weren't apparent locker room cancers is petty, spiteful and vindicative which people find tasteful.

Wally said...

I think that you have been consistent on your views on Rizzo. 'He may, or may not, be an ass, but he certainly comes off that way sometimes.' This is an example. 'I got tired of watching him' is another one. And, coincidentally, I share your views of Rizzo.

None of it impacts his ability as a talent evaluator, maybe not even as a GM, although it might. I think that Rizzo has a little insecurity problem of his own going, so he hasn't lost the urge to give in to the pissing match and bravado. I wish it were otherwise, and I think that he would be a more effective GM if it were otherwise. Maybe he'll grow out of it.

Ollie said...

"is it lazy if it's true? Riggleman's decision may be more undertandable but it isn't more "right" if that makes any sense. (Unless he's ready to get out of the game, or coach high school or something)

Like I said don't expect a name or a winner. A fair retread or more likely a young guy getting his first chance. Someone that will understand the pecking order Rizzo has set up."

Not at all. I just think its more nuanced than that, until/unless we get a larger sample size to prove the justify the "Rizzo's an ass" meme. I do agree that he comes across as a bit of a douchebag sometimes. I just think columnists tend to go to one extreme or the other to generate arguments, whereas this situation (as with most) is different. I thought Kilgore had an excellent blog post earlier today, way better than Boz's column.

Jim Knudson said...

Riggs deserved an extension. 700K is chump change for an option considering what he has done. Nats were pathetic before Riggs. Nationals management has no loyalty. Bailing on Brevard County, Fla too-their Spring training site. Rizzo and owners fools re Riggs, a tough guy who knew he was dealing with bad guys in chg. OTW no way he quits. Do you Rizzo supporters understand what Riggs brought to that team? They even know what base to throw to now!

Donald said...

I disagree that Rizzo should have had the decency to let Riggleman know he was just a seat-filler. Riggleman's biggest gripe was that without an extension he lacked clout in the locker room. Calling him a seat-filler would have destroyed what little clout he had and made him feel that much worse. At least by keeping quiet it gave some chance that he could be around longer.

Also, unless Riggleman's an idiot, he knew when he took the job, based on the contract he got, that he was basically a seat-filler and that the only way he'd keep the job would be to over-perform. A single 2-week stretch in his entire stint doesn't cut it.

bigguyarch said...

Rizzo is an arrogant ass! Look at what the team has done since Davey Johnson has jumbled things to hell! Rizzo had all opportunity to sit down with Riggleman and refused to even talk! Fire Rizzo NOW!