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Riggleman Takes A Walk

June 26, 2011 - Al Stephenson
There is an old axiom in baseball that a walk is as good as a hit. When Washington Nationals manager Jim Riggleman walked away from his job last week, he took a hit that he'll be feeling most likely for the rest of his career. That is, if he ever has another baseball managing career.

Riggleman was in the middle of the final year of his contract. The club had an option on his services for next year which would give him a $50,000 raise to $700,000 in 2012. He never made it that far. Riggleman wanted a face to face talk with his immediate boss General Manager Mike Rizzo concerning the option year. Rizzo suggested it was not time for a chat. The manager felt disrespected and decided to resign his job and he quite possibly tossed his baseball career away as well.

So what posesses a man to confront his boss. Pride and a lack of respect will do it. I did it myself. In my case I felt some rules were bogus and risked a day's pay to prove my point. I fought the "law" like Riggleman did, and guess what. I lost too. My situation did not involve walking away from my job, but the thought entered my head. I too felt disrespected and decided to try to do something about it. I'm still unhappy about the outcome, but I would not change what I did. If you don't stick up for yourself - who will?

As I watched the Riggleman saga unfold another thought occured to me. My colleagues and I used to play a game called "what would you do for a million dollars?" Some very disturbing possiblilites were put forth and it was interesting to see who was willing to "cheapen" themselves for the cash haul. One of the questions was "would you sell your dog for a million dollars?" I wouldn't even consider it. My dog is part of my family. Others wanted to know if the dog was going to go to a good home. Still others said "are you kidding? He's just a dog and he's gone. With a million bucks I can get another!"

Many other gross situations were discussed and what each boiled down to was how much respect you had for yourself. Many people will put up with a lot if the money is right. Some will not and I guess that includes Jim Riggleman. He felt his ten plus years of managing in the major leagues could get him a face to face chat about his future with the GM. He thought wrong and his pride told him to walk away from one of only 30 jobs in the entire country.

He decided it was not worth a million bucks (or close to that) to be disrespected and work on a short lease and he walked away. The view from my seat suggests that I'm in Riggs corner on this one. I'm impressed that he would stand up for himself and say sayonara. I can full relate to what he went through. It's great that he had the character to demand respect. When it was not forthcoming he did what he had to do. He will be the one to suffer, but he will be able to look in the mirror and feel good about himself.

I hope Jim Riggleman resurfaces as a big league manager. He deserves another shot.

He's also not likely to get one.


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