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
#Nats. #MLB." 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.
I totally agree that Riggleman leaving was a great moment for the long term. Davey Johnson is an amazing manager and it opens the door for possibly a guy like Terry Francona or someone else in a few years down the road. Riggleman was a place holder, he knew it, we knew it, and the players knew it, that was the problem.
At the time though, this event just hurt so much that it was the worst moment of the year.
I was wondering what was going to be #1 lol.
I believe that short term, who knows, he could have maybe won a few more games than Davey getting closer to contending for a wild-card spot. Since it did take Davey a while to get a look at his players in different situations.
But Long term, I like the positive atmosphere that Johnson has added to the club. It was clear Riggleman was not going to be the skipper long term, he just fits more as a Double A manager than a Major League manager.
Can't wait to see more moments of 2011!