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Question of the Day: Was Jim Riggleman justified in quiting the Nationals? [Updated]

June 27, 2011 |  9:45 am

Riggleman_275 Writers from around the Tribune Co. discuss the midseason resignation of Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman. Please check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.

Dan Connolly, Baltimore Sun

Was Jim Riggleman justified in quitting? No.

He had a commitment to the Nationals players, and he walked away from that midyear. Unless there were serious health issues involved, it's unacceptable.

The only other exception, perhaps, is what happened with Orioles pitching coach Mark Connor, who resigned earlier this month because he didn't feel he could continue to give his all in the position and recognized that wasn't fair to the players. That's not the case with Riggleman, who wanted a longer commitment.

Still, I'm sure there is more to this than just a simple extension dispute. At least one person who knows Riggleman well says he must have been exceptionally ticked off at management to abandon a game he's loved for so long. That’s totally out of character for a baseball lifer.

Tom Housenick, Allentown Morning Call

Jim Riggleman had a beef with Washington Nationals management. He should have continued to pursue it with his bosses. He should not have quit on his team. We’ve chastised players for doing it. Yes, they make a lot more money than managers, but what’s wrong for one is wrong for the other.

Now, let’s not get crazy. Riggleman is no Manny Ramirez, who shouldn’t have to wait five years to go into the Hall of Shame after quitting on the Tampa Bay Rays because he tested positive again for steroids.

Riggleman is going to have a hard time finding another major league managing job because of this moment of poor judgment. But if Michael Vick and Plaxico Burress can get another job in their business, so too should Riggleman.

[Updated at 11:02 a.m.:

Dave van Dyck, Chicago Tribune

Justified? Depends on who’s making the decision. Would most people quit their jobs if they weren’t shown love by bosses? Probably not. But Riggleman is no innocent newcomer to baseball’s inner workings. He’s been manager before, he’s been interim manager before, and he’s been fired from all of them.

So there’s nothing wrong with a 59-year-old lifer taking a gamble and pushing in all his chips while he’s on a hot streak for that once-in-a-lifetime jackpot. His bluff was called, which likely means he wouldn’t have returned next season anyhow.

No one needs to feel sorry for Jim Riggleman or the players he left behind (who, after his exit, won two of their next three games). In fact, he celebrated his resignation in style, apparently. At least he went out his way, forcing the issue instead of being forced out –- again -– knowing he probably would never manage in the big leagues again.

Was he justified? Who knows. Did he feel he was justified? Yes.]

[Updated at 1:17 p.m.:

Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

If the players can pout and whine and complain about their contract situations, frequently taking the team down with them, why can't the guy who is actually in charge of the team do the same? Why can't managers be selfish?

The answer should be obvious: Because they're supposed to be the leaders. Should they get paid more? Probably. But so should teachers. Managers and head coaches are rightly held to a higher standard than players -- just as parents are held to a higher standard than their children. When you think about it, it's basically the same relationship.

If Jim Riggleman didn't want the job, he shouldn't have taken it. But once he did, he should have fulfilled the terms of the contract.]


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Photo: Jim Riggleman. Credit: Paul Connors / Associated Press