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Jim Riggleman Talks About His New Job

(By John McDonnell - TWP)

Nats interim manager Jim Riggleman has strong roots in suburban Washington and Western Maryland, from attending high school at Richard Montgomery to going to Frostburg State (where he's a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame) to having family members sprinkled from Mount Airy to Frederick to Damascus. And thus, Riggleman gave what I believe to be his first interview this morning with Sean Morrissey from ESPN 1230 in Cumberland.

The audio is available online; here's the transcript of Riggleman's remarks.

On being named manager in his home town: "Well, certainly I have mixed emotions right now because I love to manage, I'm looking forward to managing and it is kind of the team I grew up with, in the Washington Senators back in the day. And [I have] so many close friends and family in the area. But when something like this happens, that means that a good man lost his position in the organization right now. And that's Manny Acta, who I worked very closely with and have grown to really admire and respect the work that he's done. I know Manny's gonna land somewhere else at some point and get another opportunity, so it's with mixed feelings.

"But certainly if there's a place that I would pick to manage in my life it would be right here in Washington, because it is my home town, and with family and friends here, couldn't get any better than that."

On his approach with this club: "Well, I think the only thing you can do is just do what you always do. Whatever your style of managing is, whatever your thought process is during a ball game, when that umpire says play ball, your adrenaline is flowing, your competitive juices are flowing, you want to go try to win that ballgame. But at the same time, it's a young ballclub for the most part, especially the pitching staff. So you've got to keep in mind that there's a long-range plan, we're gonna try to develop for the future and hopefully we can all be a part of that future.

"So it's a two-fold thing, you're trying to do the right things for the future of the organization, but on that given day, you're trying to beat that other ballclub. And that's what the fans pay to come to see, they want to see a competitive team out there, and we're gonna try to be competitive."

On his team's talent level: "You know, it's interesting, as you name a lot of the good players on the ballclub you think, 'Well, how in the heck are you mired in last place?' But, you know, sometimes that's just the way it happens. I don't think Manny could have squeezed another win out of that ballclub, but yet we do have a lot of players that we feel like are gonna be part of a bright future, starting with Ryan Zimmerman at third base. We've got a catcher, Jesus Flores, who's hurt, but we think he's gonna be a real good player for a long time.

"The pitching staff, predominantly the starting pitchers-- Jordan Zimmermann, John Lannan, and Stammen and Martis and these guys, Detwiler-- that we feel like are gonna be good pitchers for a long time. We just haven't been able to nail down wins for 'em at this time. But I think a lot of ballclubs around baseball would like to have those guys and we think they're gonna grow into being a real good, polished staff."

On his plan for the All-Star break: "At this point I'll be down at the ballpark later this afternoon and pretty much spend all my time down there. Conversations with Mike Rizzo and some other people down there to get ready for this upcoming series, but also to kind of get a direction that we want to continue with and some other ideas that he may have. And we'll be trading ideas, so there'll be a lot of baseball conversation for me in the next couple days."

On visiting Nats Park: "Well, first of all it's a beautiful ballpark. I think in the future the area around there's really gonna develop, and it's gonna be an even better place to be. But right now, just the ballpark experience itself, I think all the teams that come into play us rave about the ballpark, the conditions at the ballpark, the setting. It's just a beautiful place, it's a great fan experience for everybody to enjoy it, and we're hoping more and more people from that area up there in Western Maryland do come down and see games. I know it's a little bit of a ride down, but I think it'll be worth it."

By Dan Steinberg  |  July 13, 2009; 1:24 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Nats  
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Next: Hello, and Goodbye, to James Lang


I already dont like him...

He should be calling out the team as a whole..and say that we have no excuse to play sharp and focused every day and inning on the field...If someone doesnt seem into the game, we will put them on the bench until they are ready to play hard between the lines.

Posted by: SA-Town | July 13, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

SA, I'm not saying that it's Riggle style, but a good manager privately balls out bad players - not publicly. So we can't really call him out on that yet.

Posted by: charley42 | July 14, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I just wish that he had said something like Bruce Boudreau did in his first press conference. Taking over a team in last place, that had been in last place for the previous couple of years, where the management and media storyline was “we’ll be better down the road, but we don't have enough good playeres and we’re not very good right now”, Boudreau said something along the lines of: we have good players, we should be winning, I expect to win and I expect the players to expect to win.
Instead of saying something like that, and similar to what Manny would do, Riggleman just gave the players another free pass with the old “it's a young ballclub for the most part, especially the pitching staff. So you've got to keep in mind that there's a long-range plan, we're gonna try to develop for the future and hopefully we can all be a part of that future.” Once again the players know that they don’t have to perform today; they don’t have to be good now because the manager says they’re not good.
He doesn’t have to abuse the players individually in public, but I do think someone needs to raise the expectation level.
I wanted a managerial change, but until someone has the guts to expect the players to expect to win, and say it publicly, I doubt it’s going to happen.

Posted by: rgibson25 | July 14, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

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