I want the story to be about something else. Really I want it to be about how Rizzo is kind of an ass, just like Kasten was kind of an ass.* People being asses bother me far more than someone being overly proud.
*That Boz story about how Kasten told Rizzo... ‘Forget the [expletive] contract. Own the job. Just be the [expletive] GM. Prove you’re the guy.’ ” What a pompous ass, right? I mean I would have turned around and said "Either you believe I can be the GM or you can't. Don't jerk me around for a year so you have an scapegoat if things don't go well. Make a decision. Own your job."
But that's not the story. Riggleman is the story because he's the one that made the terrible decision. He's the one that screwed up, not Rizzo.
We can all understand why Riggleman wanted to do what he did. We've all been disrespected. We've all worked hard and watched it seemingly go unrewarded. But it's turning that want into action with complete disregard for the consequences that drives this drama. Riggleman wanted to quit feeling he was in an untenable situation. By doing so though he would severely screw up his chances of managing anytime soon and he would disrupt the very team he was looking to continue to support as their manager. To most people, those consequences would outweigh whatever burden they felt they were under and they'd stick it out. They'd probably walk as soon as they reasonably could but, again, they'd stick it out. Riggleman didn't and it doesn't make a lot of sense unless his own pride was more important to him than those consequences.
If it IS that way than good for Riggleman. He walked away from a job he loved and ton of cash (hey $400K is not chump change) because those things weren't as important to him as his self-respect. But I get the feeling from what he's said that those things do matter. He does want to coach again. He does want this Nats team to win. It feels more like he backed himself into a corner and screwed up than he took a principled stand.
I have a hard time working up anything beyond gut-reaction anger at Riggleman because, well, it's baseball right? Every time I try to take the deadly serious "he let his team down" view I can't help but drift into thinking it's kind of like he walked away from being banker at a game of professional Monopoly. This doesn't seem like it will effect anyone's job. He's not ruining a player's dream, unless that player set his standards ridiculously low. He made a stupid decision. He screwed himself more than anyone. Let's move on.
So where does this leave the Nats? One thing we can be sure of is that they are firmly and completely Mike Rizzo's team. He's made it clear. He's in charge. But here's the deal. He lucked into having the #1 picks in back to back years when once in a generation talent was available. He's mostly built up a solid core finally backed by some cash from the Lerners. The expectations are playoffs sooner rather than later, certainly by 2013. Don't screw it up or the fans won't be calling for the next manager's head, they'll be calling for yours.