Former Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman has been hired as the Manager of the Double-A Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Cincinnati Reds organization, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. This ends the five month mini-saga trying to predict where the former Nats skipper would land next.
As every Nationals fan remembers vividly, Riggleman abruptly resigned on June 23rd following the team’s 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners. It was the teams 11th victory win in 12 games, and they were above .500 (38-37) that late in the season for the first time in quite a while. No one, and I mean no one, saw it coming.
It was a disgraceful moment for Riggleman, who abandoned a team and a city that finally saw hope in its baseball team. It took the Nats a while to truly recover from the incident until they exploded with victories in September under new bench boss Davey Johnson.
In Pensacola, Riggleman will attempt to rehabilitate his tarnished image with a minor league affiliate when he could have been a manager of a playoff contending Washington Nationals MLB team in 2012 with nearly endless talent, aggressive owners, and a huge budget. All he had to do was stand by the players he was under contract to support. He couldn’t.
Over time, some other organizations may afford Riggleman the chance to manage again, but I just can’t imagine it can ever be at the MLB level. He has many more losses than wins as an MLB manager, and worst of all, he walked out on his team for personal, selfish reasons. He didn’t hold up to his end of his contract. It’s a moment that DC baseball fans will never forget, and most other teams won’t either.
But in the mean time, Riggleman will put on a uniform again as the skipper of a baseball team, and he’ll try to convince the players on the Blue Wahoos’ roster that he won’t walk out on them like he walked out on the Nationals on June 23, 2011. Good luck with that, Jim.