John McLaren, manager for a moment
On Friday night, John McLaren managed his first game since June 18, 2008, the day before the Seattle Mariners fired him midseason. Upon McLaren's dismissal, the Mariners filled their vacancy with McLaren's bench coach, a former big league manager named Jim Riggleman.
For one night, McLaren was the one replacing Riggleman. The Nationals' manager watched the game from a suite high above the field at PNC Park, disallowed from any communication with his team. McLaren could do what he wanted, but would he stick to Riggleman's methods or use his own ideas?
"That's a good question," McLaren said, laughing.
The truth is, McLaren and Riggleman think alike. They both love dissecting games and talking baseball from all angles, but they usually end up at about the same spot on decisions. That's why McLaren hired Riggleman as his bench coach in 2008, and it's why Riggleman hired McLaren this year.
"I manage every night with Jim," McLaren said. "I think along with him every single night. I try to stay basically with what he would do. Jim is a very sound baseball man. I'm not going to try to reinvent the wheel by any chance. I just try to stick to our basics, do what we usually do. Guys that run, run. And so forth."
A baseball manager can't make too large of an imprint in one game, and you really didn't notice anything different. When McLaren put Sean Burnett in for Tyler Clippard, he made sure to double-switch -- Nyjer Morgan came out of the game in favor of Roger Bernadina.
"John McLaren and the other coaches, they all know my feelings on how the game is run and how our team operates," Riggleman said before the game. "I think we'll do it the same way."
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