You know the song. The image of Aretha Franklin belting out her classic hit likely filled your brain.
Everybody wants respect … to feel that their contribution will be appreciated, supported and, as appropriate, rewarded.
Everyone wants respect. Not everyone has the ability to make a brief statement and walk away from their job.
That’s precisely what Jim Riggleman did on Thursday following a 1-0 win over the Mariners, the team’s 11th win in its past 12 games. The win moved the Nationals to a record of 38-37. That’s right. Riggleman had gotten the team above .500 despite the absence of Stephen Strasburg and the early-season injury to Ryan Zimmerman.
Riggleman was working in the second year of a two-year contract. He wanted his option for 2012 to be picked up and to have an opportunity to manage what the Nationals are set to become down the line. The prospects are coming, and fast. We know of Strasburg and Bryce Harper. Pitcher Brad Peacock has dominated Class-AA.
In an age of 10% unemployment, many people probably threw up their hands and wondered what he was thinking. Riggleman owned a career .445 winning percentage across four teams, so the climb to .500 doesn’t quite seem like the proper jump-off point.
Did he pull a Nicholson and wonder, “Maybe this is as good as it gets?” Seriously, the job is only half-done. I admire him for sticking to his guns and walking away. He set a date, GM Mike Rizzo didn’t flinch and Riggleman walked. It’s a bizarre set of circumstances, to be sure.
Riggleman is the second manager to resign in the past week. Edwin Rodriguez resigned on Sunday in the midst of the Marlins’ free-fall. Eighty-year old Jack McKeon returned to the Florida bench.
I can’t help but think of the old standard, “You’ll never work in this town again.” The old adage rings true here. Riggleman’s managerial career is probably at its end.
I would have liked to see Riggleman attempt to lead this underdog through the stretch run. The Nationals are a .500 team. The Pirates are a .500 team. The Indians, though fading, are still above .500.
At the same time, I do like that his competitive spirit prompted the clash with Washington management. Managerial stand-offs just might be handled a tad differently going forward.