Worst Moments of 2011 – #1: Jim Riggleman Resigns As Washington Nationals Manager

In the final installment of the Worst Moments of the Washington Nationals 2011 season, we recall the day that Nats fans will remember forever: Jim Riggleman‘s abrupt resignation as Nationals manager on June 23, 2011.

A day that will stick in the minds of DC baseball fans forever started on an optimistic note.  On June 23rd, the Nationals beat the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on a Laynce Nix walk off sacrifice fly in the 9th inning.  They swept the Ms, and it seemed that nothing could slow down the 38-37 Nationals team that had won 11 of its last 12 games.

Then, the message that will forever stick in my mind appeared on Twitter from MLB.com’s Bill Ladson: “I just learned that Jim Riggleman hjas [sic] resigned as manager of the . .”  At first, I was in shock.  I thought Ladson had made a mistake.  Then, some on Twitter, including our own Editor-In Chief, started saying thinks like “re-signed? or resigned?” since it was well known that Riggleman was waiting to have his option for the 2012 season picked up.  But it wasn’t to be; Riggleman didn’t get to address his over .500 team one last time; he didn’t get his last manager’s press conference.

All of this was over the allegations that Nationals GM Mike Rizzo refused to discuss Riggleman’s option with him on the upcoming road trip to Chicago.  Riggleman said it would be his last game in the manager’s uniform, and so it was.  Over a contract dispute, Riggleman left behind the team that he was hired to lead for his own personal issues.  He wouldn’t even stay to see out his 2011 contract as he was hired to do.  In what he thought was the best career move for him, he may have single-handedly ruined his changes as an MLB manager forever.  Hopefully, Riggleman fired whoever advised him that this was a good idea.

After this, the ugly got uglier as Riggleman was spotted drinking with some young attractive ladies at a bar called Caddies in Bethesda, and it ended up on Twitter.  Riggleman later said he regretted going to the bar, but the damage to his character had already been done.  This entire ordeal, even after winning 11 of their last 12 games, left the Nationals as the joke of the national media once again, making this the Worst Moment of the Washington Nationals 2011 season.

Want to read the rest of our disappointments?  Check them out: No. 5, No. 4, No. 3, No. 2. Also, check out the first episode of our new podcast!

About Joe Drugan

Managing editor of The Nats Blog and co-host of the Nats Talk On The Go podcast.

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