Earlier this month Mike Rizzo spoke about his displeasure of the field conditions at Pfitzner Stadium, home of the Potomac Nationals. The Single-A+ affiliate has been receiving complaints from opponents, umpires and even its own players on just how horrendous the field conditions have become this season. The Washington Times indicated that several games have been postponed this year because of the sloppy mess.
As NBC’s Hardball Talk points out, Rizzo’s comments bashing the field have riled up several people including Corey Stewart, Prince Williams County Board of Supervisors. Check out his quote:
“Rizzo ought to focus on doing his job, which could probably use some improvement. He’s talking out of his rear end. He doesn’t know what’s happening because he didn’t bother to check. Frankly, he’s not a good manager. He’s received a lot of criticism for his performance for the job he should be doing. He should stick to the job he’s supposed to do instead of getting involved in something he doesn’t know about.”
I normally wholeheartedly support Mike Rizzo and his decisions, I really do. The winning baseball being played by the Nats in 2011 is a reflection of the direction he has taken the team since taking over several years ago. This is an instance where I am having a hard time defending Rizzo’s actions though. He has caused a bigger problem than the actual Potomac field itself now by detaching himself from an affiliate.
Whether Rizzo likes it or not, the Potomac Nationals are a part of his organization. By calling out the club in such a public fashion, he’s publicly denting another relationship just one month after the Jim Riggleman fiasco. Potomac Nationals owner Art Silber responded calling the comments “very unfortunate.” I agree that the field conditions are a concern, but leave them as an in-house issue.
The real issue I noticed out of this whole disaster was Bryce Harper. Potomac will be the only affiliate in the organization not to receive a boost that the potential superstar has brought to Hagerstown and Harrisburg. Potomac could have potentially had sellout crowds and the team definitely should feel like it missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity, because they did. Some of the current angst by the Potomac front office towards Rizzo may stem from the Harper decision.
Can you blame Rizzo though? He had never planned on Harpers knees gracing the outfield in Potomac, something I have no problem with. I’d rather Harper be overmatched and batting .171 in Double-AA then see him on the DL next to Strasburg because he’s blown out his knee.