Ask Boswell

Jun 27, 2011

Washington Post Sports Columnist Tom Boswell answered your questions about baseball, local D.C. sports and more.

Past Ask Boswell chats

I'm sure I've had too much Kool-Aid lately, but should the Nats be buyers or sellers in July? What moves would you try to make??

If they keep playing well, they may become "Non-Sellers." Certainly most people thought the Nats would be sellers at July 31st __maybe Marquis or Livan or some veteran bench players. Now, maybe they are a "stand pat" team.

What would you trade for __that's actually available? They have five starters and a couple extra in AAA. They have a deep bullpen. Bernadina is playing/hitting better and takes care of CF as well as anybody you'd get. If Werth, Z'man, Desmond start hitting at their career levels, where's the Big Obvious Hole to fill?

Maybe they just play it out with the hand they are holding and a new manager. 

While I feel sorry for Jim, I can't imagine any Nationals' fan who is not turning cartwheels over his having been replaced with Davey Johnson. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face! Go Nats!

The Nats sure landed in a soft spot after a bad fall.

Johnson's career win percentager .564. Riggleman's .445.

Put another way, Rig lost 824 games, Johnson 888. Not too far apart in loses. But Davey won 1,148 games while Jim won 662. Or 486 more wins for Johnson.

Is it mostly the difference in players? Of course it is. But there's a big gap in managerial skill, too, imo. If you asked 100 baseball people, I think 95-to-99 would say that the Nats are better off taking a chance on finding out if Johnson is still one of the best managers in baseball vs. finding out whether Riggleman could go from an average (.500) manager (if you give him the benefit of every doubt) to a good one.

My view on Rig, very similar to my view of Frank Robinson, is that their career managing records didn't do them full justice __Frank .475 and Rig .445 which is really low for such a big sample size. But you can only rate above their record to a small degree. You can't "give" either 100 extra wins and say, "That's what his record really should be."

Rizzo was very lucky Johnson agreed to come back. Every year, if I bump into him, I asked Davey if he wants to manage again and every year he laughes like I'm crazy.  Several years ago, he almost died. He's fully recovered but that will make you want to spend more time with wife and family. However, in Viera this year, Davey kept talking about a heart procedure he'd had over the winter that got (I think) his heart in better "sync." He didn't know he'd had a problem. I'll get the facts on this from him later this week. The point: He said, "I haven't had this much energy in 20 years. It's amazing. I think saying, 'Don't overdue it.' But I just don't get tired."

I probably said, "But you're still not dumb enough to come back to managing, are you?" He'd get the joke because he took the job soooo seriously and when things didn't work out to his standards or he got in a flap with a boss, it truly madfe him miserable. I think he laughed off the question. But even after Riggleman resigned, I didn't think Davey would come back. Why risk denting an excellent reputation and a good life? But he's really connected with Rizzo and the Nats in the last two years. And it probably wouldn't bother him to be part of building a winner in the backyard of the team from which he resigned the same day he was named Manager of the Year in '97. 

Stengel only won when he had the horses. With poor to middling teams, his stats were atrocious.

There's an eternal debate over how much managers are worth. Their salaries probably give you a tip. If they were worth 5-6-7 extra wins, wouldn't the best ones be paid >$100-million like A-Rod, Teixeira, etc? You'd think so, wouldn't you? But if a good one is worth 1 or 2 wins and a poor one costs you 1 or 2 wins, then maybe salaries would be about what they are for managers. 

If you think there is such a thing as a "replacement player" then maybe there is a "replacement manager." The kind of player/manager who is always available. When the Nats turned to Riggleman in '09, that's what he was __a caretaker manager with a hometown connection who could hold the fort and let an awful seasaon have a chance to reboot. But he'd moved up since then in any sensible evaluation. I've only written two columns on Riggleman in the last 18 months, but these were the headlines on them: 11/13/09 "Riggleman Is The Man For The Plan" and 5/7/10 "Whether He Likes It or Not, Washington Nationals Manager Jim Riggleman Deserves Praise." So, I sure didn't think of him as a replacement manager anymore.

Boz, Why don't the Nats just put Bernadina at the leadoff and leave it alone? No one else in the lineup suits lead off duties, even though he isn't the ideal. For some reason, they don't have confidence in him. Hence, the batting of the pitcher eighth in the lineup so they had two shots at a leadoff batter getting on base for their run producers. If he's not the guy, I see center field as their biggest need, with Ankiel not producing thus far.

I think Bernadina in CF and at leadoff is now obvious. But that's easy to say now that's he's started to hit, bunt and rob Adam Dunn of a two-run homer by leaping way above the wall in CF in Chicago on Friday night.

Dunn almost won that game twice __with the near HR and a double in extra innings. When he ended up 1-for-6 in a loss, it just looked like he was in a total funk, culminating in the 4K game Sunday.

One of the most interesting things we'll see with Davey is what lineup he uses. Will he have Werth at either No. 1 or No. 2 tonight? His biggest immediate job is to get the confidence of Werth, Z'man and Desmond back to normal. They are hitting .228, .232 and .226. If they held the bat by the barrell and swung the handle they could probably hit .225.

One thought: Bernadina, Espinosa, Z'man, Morse, Werth, Nix, Ramos, Desmond and pitcher/DH. But this is a tough team to align. I'm more interested in what Johnson will do than in what I think. That's when you think a team has a good manager: You're trying to learn what he's doing rather than trying to figure out what he's doing wrong.

 

Do Riggleman's conspiratorial jabs at a sportswriter -- you -- only tend to support your thesis about his suitability for the job? Or this kind of press paranoia more or less normal for many managers, and we just don't hear so much about it?

That was a tough 48 hours for Jim. He made a tough life-changing, career-changing decision and took some flack for it. I don't think his wcomments were worthy of him. And, in general, they aren't worthy of comment by me. Two exceptions. I interviewed him plenty, as he knows, including a lot of things that were off the record and, of course, will remain that way. As for taking a jab at his managing every once in a while, that's just part of my job. He didn't like it when I wrote Weaver's quip about Mauch: "Play for one run early, lose by one run late." But we laughed about it the next day.  I liked Riggleman, still do. Thought he was an adequate manager, better than his record and served his home town well the last two years. I think it was a bad idea to quit in mid-season. Only four other managers ever quit in-season with their team in hot streak like 11-1 or 10-2. Two of them (Bowa and Hunter) did it with only one or two days left in the season. Christy Mathewson did it in '18 with his team 61-57. (I forgot to ask him "Why?" Must have been covering Harry Vardon that day.) 

The other is Mike Hargrove in mid-season '07 when he said he just got fed up with managing. I believe McLaren replaced him as Seattle bench coach and...drum roll,,,Riggleman replaced McLaren as bench coach.

Have you noticed that Evergreen Park, IL (the birthplace of Tom Gorzelanny) and Milton FL (the birthplace of Boo Weekley) are on the exact same longtitude line? This is starting to freak me out.

You gotta love the chatters on here!

I know you stand by the accuracy of everything you wrote in your column published Friday. I'd like to ask a different question: is there anything you wish you hadn't put in that column?

Nice thought.

My wife read it and, as soon as she finished, used one of the favorite expressions in our family for making hard decisions when you are mad or annoyed: "Would you rather be right? Or would you rather win?"

I smacked my head because I'd like to have incorporated that concept in my column to give a sense of Rig's decision.  So, maybe I'd have added something like this.

...

     Do you want to be right? Or do you want to win?

      Do you want to be morally indignant and make the world see that you have been wronged? Do you want the emotional satisfaction of yelling, “I’m right. They’re wrong.”

      Or do you want to bite your tongue, play the percentages and figure how you can turn the situation to your advantage so that, in the end, you win? And maybe “they” lose, too.

      There is no one correct answer. There has to be some point, some issue or principle that is so central to you that you don’t care if what you do is “smart;” you don’t care if you give yourself the best chance to win in the long run. You just have to take a stand.

       Neither position is noble or ignoble, courageous or cowardly. It’s just personal. You decide where to draw the line and what price you’re willing to pay when you do. Because taking a stand usually has a price. It’s inherent in really tough decisions that, if you take the tough line, you’ll probably “lose” in some way, otherwise it wouldn’t be a hard call.

       To Jim, his ability as a manager, and his reputation as one, is enormously important. He also knows all the codes of the game. When Manny Acta’s job was hanging by a thread he never tried to undermine him, even though Rig was the obvious choice (since he was the bench coach) to finish out the season and get a shot to end up with the ’10 job.

    Jim decided that this was the time that he'd rather "be right" in his own view, rather than play the longer-term game of hoping the Nats, say, went 82-80 and he got rehired, then found himself with a big-time team on the rise. That could have happened. Average managers get some great rides with the right players. Remember, Earl Weaver didn't manage the '83 Orioles to a Series win. It was Joe Altobelli.   

      

     

     

   

I heard him speak at the Orioles' Fanfest both years he was their manager and was just blown away by his intelligence. Sure he may be a little too full of himself, but that's not necessarily a bad thing in a manager, And can he manage a pitching staff! I can't wait to see what happens.

Davey made his first million in real estate, not baseball. He has a masters degree in mathematics from Trinity (in Texas). That's a serious advanced degree in real math. Davey was a scratch golfer for many year, may still be. Don't know. He was/is a pilot, I believe. He played in Japan, so he knows the game there. In '84, he was the only person in baseball who was aware of a book by a Johns Hopkins prof on applying advance math to baseball. I saw it in his Mets office. We barely knew each other but were having a good talk about baseball theories. As soon as I said that I also had a copy of Earnshaw Cook's math/baseball book, he clammed up and barely said anything the rest of the interview. He was so far ahead of the Sabedrmetric curve. My Total Average came out in April of '78 in the Post but it was child's stuff compared to the things in the Cook book (which were largely beyond the math I'd taken in college).

So, for years, Davey had a hard time hiding that he was probably the smartest or most accomplished person in the room. But age will take some of that out of you. He'll come back as a better manager than he ever was. or not as good, for some reason I can't guess. Or about the same. And I really have no idea which it will be. "Worse" like Joe Gibbs is obviously possible. But "better" is one of the possibilities, too. If he's "pretty much the same, but a little more mellow," then DC is in for a fun ride.

1) Johnson is considered a master at running a pitching staff. What changes are likely for the Nats, if any? 2) Is the Werth batting leadoff/pitcher batting 8th experiment now dead? If so, where does Werth bat? 3) The Nats went into the weekend 2nd in the NL in sacrifice bunts. Is small ball dead? 4) Which player(s) is(are) likely to benefit most from Johnson's arrival? 5) Are expectations for the Nats inadvertently raised for this season, now that the Nats are within sniffing distance of playoffs, and Johnson is now in the dugout?

I'm writing about this for tomorrow. Thanks for framing some of the questions for my column!

I was his neighbor in Seattle, don't purport to know him well, but this seems so out of character. I had no idea he was so tightly wound, It's sort of the opposite of laughing all the way to the bank. I hope he has the financial resources to keep his head above water during what may be a long hiatus from the game.

I know exactly how you feel.

Jim talked to me about three times, starting in Feb, about how much his contract bothered him and how much he thought it hamstrung him in dealing with players. I sympathized, but only to a degree. After we had a talk after the Marquis incident, I said something like, "Why don't you just do it your way and not give a damn about anything else? If they don't want you back, go out on your own terms. And if it works, you'll be back." FWIW, I thought he gave Marquis just what was coming to him. But it didn't help him. Another example of "Would you rather be right or win?"

FWIW, right now there are six managers in baseball who have contract with just as short a leash as Riggleman had and four of them have won the World Series: Bruce Bochy (SF has option for '12), Ozzie Guilleen (same), Jim Leyland (contract up after '11), Jack McKeon (same) and also Bob Melvin (Oakland) and Brad Mills (Houst).

So, while a short contract leash isn't a plus for a manager, the Nats were far from alone in dealing with Rig's contract the way they did. He made it seem like some kind of unique disrespecty.

Okay, enough about the past, even if it's only four days ago, and will be rehashed a lot. The future is a whole lot more interesting. 

Boz, I'm genuinely excited about Davey Johnson managing the Nats. I was in college during his success in Baltimore, and I thought Peter Angelos got what he deserved (abject, unrelenting failure) for forcing Davey out. But should I be curbing my enthusiasm about Davey a bit? I was in grade school and high school during Joe Gibbs' first tenure with the Redskins, and I was ecstatic when Joe came back in 2004. But his second tenure proved far less successful than the first, and I remember you actually prophesying that in one of your columns that shortly after Gibbs came back. You were very hopeful that he would succeed, but your hopes were tempered by your concerns that Gibb's return to Washington would end up like Earl Weaver's failed return to the Orioles in 1985-86. Do you have any similar concerns regarding Davey managing the Nationals after so many years away?

It's possible that Rizzo and Johnson have such a good relationship that they will simply sit down after the season like two adults and say, "What's best?"

Does Davey still love it? Is he still (roughly) as good at it? Family consideration? How well did the team play for him or not? What other managers are available? Believe it or not, I think Johnson is one of the few people who might actually be able to might say, "Mike, you gotta go get THIS guy. He's great. And he could be ypour manager for a long time."

Or maybe it ends ugly. I sure hope not. Or igt turns out some other way that you don't expect. But Johnson does not have to be a big success as manager for the Nats to do very well the next few years. He and Rizzo, two smart guys, have to sit down and figure it all out after the season. Maybe the right choice will be obvious.

Do you think there will be significant strategic differences in how the Nationals play now that Davey Johnson is taking over? Fewer bunts, sacrifice bunts? Or will the changes be more subtle?

I'm going to go look up his tendencies with the bunt and SB in his years as a N.L. manager w the Mets and Dodgers.

His former pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre once told me that Johnson does some really out-of-the-box things, but only in game-on-the-line situations in the nith inning or extra innings. "Like what," I said.

"Like putting on the 'take' sign for every pitch of the first three hitters of the 10th inning with the No. 7-8-9 hitters coming up."

What happened.

"Before he took the 'take' off, we had two men on base and one out." Then he added that Johnson would never do things like that in the middle of the game because it might take away from the confidence of the player.

My guess is that he'll still steal and bunt because he has players who can do it, but he will "give away" less outs with the sacrifice. More likely to bunt for a hit or hit-and-run. I think he'll encourage his lineup, which has a lot of power, to go for the pump in hitter's counts __2-0, 3-1 and even 3-0 (a count that isn't used nearly enough to try to get extra base hits). We'll see.

Why is it at every point of this organizations growth that the owners of this team continue to derail it's growth with a no confidence vote to players and coaches. Again, as we start on a roll, we have to find a replacement for an outstanding leader. Who would want to come and play for us here in DC. Why, don't the owners pay their staff and players their worth? Truely a slap in the face to us fans.

Ownership gets some blame here, too. When they went after a manager in '09, they provided a low budget __not really enough to go after a Bobby Valentine competitively, for example,  if they'd wanted him.

The Lerners do not give away what I would call "happy money." That is, extra money just to keep key people "happy" in their job. They negotiate contracts __in their businesses and in baseball__ aggressively, then they expect everybody to live by the letter of the contract. Their reputation is that, once the deal is done, they live by their end of it, too.

There have been plenty of times when The Baseball Way and The Lerner Way haven't been the same. There's been a learning curve, lets say! They've changed their views, to a degree. I think they now 'get it' that baseball isn't a "contain costs" industry (like their other enterprises), but rather a "grow revenue" industry. And you have to spend money first to grow the revenues later. How much? They debate that on a case by case basis.  

If this is the same Davey Johnson that managed the 96/97 Orioles, then this is a great hire. He was a master of psychological motivation then and got the most out of veteran players who were on cruise control until he got there. It never failed to amuse me how every few weeks he would stick a pin in Cal Ripken by saying something about him to the media that he knew Ripken would hear.

Davey moved Ripken from SS to 3rd at a time in late-'96 and all of '97 when Cal wasn't happy about it. But it established Johnson's authority. He made Bobby Bonilla, his cleanup man, a DH at times in '96, rather than a full-time outfielder. Bonilla, a big star slugger, didn't like it and asked why. Johnson told him it was because he wasn't a very good outfielder and sometimes it was better for the team for Bonilla to DH. Bobby was a DH for 44 games that year and drove in 116 runs as the O's went to the ALCS. 

But Johnson is also big on boosting the confidence of those who need it. He's had big stars everywhere. So, he won't be out of his element __at all__ with guys like Werth, Z'man, Strasburg, Harper. In fact, compared to the accomplishments of a lot of the players he's played with or managed, they have a long way to go to get to that level.  

I guess we know a lot more now than what we did earlier, but it seems clear that Riggleman was not likely to come back as the manager next year, no matter how well they did this year. To me, it looks like Riggleman and Rizzo were like a high school couple that both thought they could get a better date. With the Nationals surge, Riggleman thought he earned a longer contract, but Rizzo thought this proved that the Nationals were close enough that they could grab a better manager. It seems to me that all along the plan was for Riggleman to get the Nationals to the level of respectability, with Davey Johnson then taking them the next step to contenders. The only thing that didn't go according to the Nationals plan was the timing of it all.

When Davey joined the Nats in '10 there was no chance whatsoever that he'd have taken the managing job under any conditions, imo. His health wasn't good enough, in his view. As I explained earlier, it is now.

I completely disagree with your view on Riggleman. Even Presidents don't have any respect when they are lame ducks. Why shouldn't Riggleman want a contract that lasted more than 3 more months so he could have respect in the dugout? The Nationals are so cheap they should have extended his contract by 1 year (only $600k is a pittance to Werth) just to prove to outside candidates that they don't screw their employees. They could have always fired Riggleman at the end of the season anyway. Now, the owners look really bad, which means they will eventually have to overpay for qualified candidates (e.g. Synder regarding Shanahan).

That's a perfectly defensible view. as I've said in chats before, why not extend Riggleman for '12 because you can always fire him. But if he turns out to be a great "match" for this particular team, you can keep him and be happy about it. Apparently, Rizzo didn't think it was looking like a dream "match," despite the 38-37 record.

GM takes a wide range of skills __baseball judgment, management of employees, dealing with media, etc. Kasten made Rizzo's job much more manageable while helping mentor him in various areas that Mike was the first acknowledge he wanted to learn. 

Hey Boz, You certainly didn't deserve the tongue lashing from Riggleman. I'm still on the fence regarding whether what he did was right, wrong, or was he pushed? Anyhow. The number of years that Davey will manage has been a question all week on various blogs and messageboards. Now I hear that he's only a temporary solution for 3 months? For 3 months couldn't McLaren have done the job and then decide on Davey amongst other candidates at year end! Or didn't McLaren want it, now that his pal Riggleman was gone. Am I wrong in thinking that all this Media attention regarding Davey for a meer 3 months is a lot of PR when he's only going to be with the team a few months instead of a few years? I mean, if he's a candidate long term, then he can't really be an advisor on the process now can he? Isn't that a conflict of interest? What is really going on here?!

McLaren is really a class act. He and Riggleman have worked together so closely __almost interchangeably as manager/bench coach with both of them in both roles at different times__ that it probably wouldn't have been tenable for Mclaren to stay in the dugout. Or at least it sure wouildn't have been standard baseball practice. Mac looked terrible when I talked to him Thursday just minutes after he (and the team) got the news.

The Nats really wanted to win the White Sox series for him. He threw a fabulous tantrum in his ejection on Friday night. He had enough anger stored up to mtake care of all four umps and give each of them a 'second helping." I estimated that he "earned" at least eight ejections in one outburst. Really impressive. 

After Sunday's game, Sean Burnett nailed it about McLaren: "It's been a tough couple of days, but he's handled everything as professionally as he possibly could. Kind of sad not to see him around any more. It's unfortunate that one man's decision kind of affects other people's lives."

 

I went to the State of the O's session on Sat., and it's clear MacPhail and Showalter talk all the time. It's hard to believe the Nats were doing as well as they did w/the manager and GM hardly speaking. Apparently Rizzo and Johnson have a much closer relationship. Why do I have the feeling that Riggleman is really going to regret having done this?

Until the last few weeks, I think Rizzo and Riggleman talked a lot. I asked one Nat who Rig talked to the most. I thought he'd name which players. He said that he talked the most to Rizzo.

The last few weeks, after the 1-7 road trip that got the Nats down to a 93-loss pace, the same pace as last year, I thought there was a distinct chill between the two. It was a recent change (to me anyway). But you shouldn't read too much into such vague tea leafs.  It can mean nothing. "Everything changes everything" always applies in baseball. If the team gets hot, whatever is eating at people usually disappears (or submerges).

Rizzo needs to have excellent lines of communication with key people, especially his manager. In this case, there was, I suspect, a breaskdown in recent weeks. And I think that's one of the things Riggleman read as "it's not me." I still think that views in baseball are so fickle that if the Nats had ended the year, say, 79-83 __10 more wins than last year, for the second straight year__ they'd have picked up Rig's contract. I'm sure that's what I'd have pushed for. At something like 72-90, maybe they go another way. In between, who knows. But your basic stats __including managing stats__ usually carry the day in baseball.

Just a year ago I don't think I ever saw a team prez, GM and manager who seemed to get along any better than Kasten, Rizzo and Rig. All in the same foxhole. Now, two of them have resigned. Adam Kilgore had an excellent blog post on how thisx "would never have happened if Kasten" had still been around. I think that's right. If I felt a new chilliness between Riz and Rig after the bad trip and the Marquis incident __and it was just a hunch with me, I'm sure Kasten would have sensed it 100 times as much. On the day Rig resigned before the game, I passed one of the Nats on-air TV folks and Rig's name came up. Would he be extended? He'll be back next year for sure, he said. The elevator door was closing and I have no idea why I said it, but I heard myself say, "There's no way he's coming back next year." On the elevator, I felt stupid, telling myself, "You don't know that. And you don't prefer that. So,  keep your mouth shut."

Like you, I grew up in D.C. with the old Senators. I knew every baseball statistic when I was twelve. I have been a lawyer for thirty years. Over that time I have been able to read "between the lines" when people "go public". The Post today (columnist) said it was inevitable and Riggleman just wasn't Rizzo's man. I don't buy that. I think Rizzo is in over his head. I do not think Rizzo has people skills and was unable to give his subordinate - the manager- - some time and space. Rizzo didn't say enough obviously. He completely mishandled the situation and forced Riggleman to take a stand. I don't think in his heart of hearts Riggleman wanted to embarass Rizzo. He wanted some recognition and encouragement - not unlike every other supervisor/employee relationship. This one went sour because Rizzo was not able to handle his job responsibilities effectively.

This one is some complicated that there are a wide range of sensible viewpoints. So, this will let you give yours.

Tom, How is the Nats' bullpen holding up? Are they getting used more than you would like to see? Do you think Johnson will help with bullpen managment? Also, how long do you think J-Zim will pitch before they shut him down?

Really important point. Storen is on pace to pitch in 80 games! In his first full year as closer. That's just too much. He needs to be protected, at least to a degree. Johnson will manage for the long-term good of the franchise as he did with the Mets in '84. Marty Noble had a good piece on MLB.com about the comparisons between the Nats and the '84 Mets. Gooden-Strasburg. Strawberry-Harper. Keither Hernandez-Ryan Zimmerman. The Nats can only hope. That's asking a lot. Lets start off with smaller bites, like whether Strasburg makes a full comeback or if/when Harper is the goods.

Tom: I doubt you remember all the times I wrote to you in this chat room during the past 5 years to ask if there was any chance Davey Johnson would come out of retirement to manage the Nationals, but I remember your replies: He's done. He had a recent health scare that nearly killed him. Baseball has taken enough chunks out of his hide. He's happily retired, be happy for him.

Well, today I am happy for him and happy for myself because my dream has come true! This is the best moment for the Washington Nationals since July 3, 2005 when they swept the Cubs at Wrigley, hit the halfway point of the season with a 50-31 record and held a five game lead over the Braves in the NL East. If the Capitals had somehow talked Scotty Bowman out of retirement in 2008 to coach their team, they would probably have at least one Stanley Cup title by now. Some coaches just know how to win, and the Nationals have hired one of those coaches in Davey Johnson. He is arguably one of the top dozen managers in Major League Baseball over the past 50 years.

Rather than bash him, fans should thank Jim Riggleman for guiding the Nats from the depths of the Manny Acta era (26-61 when he was fired at the All-Star break in 2009) to a level of respectability, but they should also be thankful for him (intentionally or not) getting out of the way so the team could bring in a brilliant manager who gives them a legitimate shot at making a run for the playoffs this year.

I suspect there are quite a few people who feel this way. Including quite a few with the Nats who could never have imagined this turn of events a week ago.

The Redskins better watch out. Okay, half-joking, but only half. The Nats are stealing their thunder. With Johnson added to the list, the Nats have FAR more big name or potential star players than the Skins and look to be well ahead of them in getting where they want to go. Look out a few years and the balance in fan fanaticism between the two teams my be different. Look how fast the Caps took off. The Redskins have alienated a lot of fans for almost 20 years. Now, they aren't even playing.

And, finally, the Nats also seem to be talk-show material with lots of nice arguments, screaming debates. It's June and a lot of people in the DC area actually seem to be fascinated with baseball. What a shock. The long homestand before the All-Star game should be interesting.

Boz, your writing on the heels of Riggleman's resignation was some of your best yet. You neatly explained how Riggleman's future was his own and he could have proven himself to be an excellent manager. Now we'll almost certainly know only that he was a manager with a .445 lifetime winning percentage. Shame, really.

Thanks. That column was intended far more to give a sense of context to readers __how on earth did this happen and what's going on behind the scenes__ than to take a side on who's "good" or "bad" in the fuss since nobody involved in it is either of those extremes.

Just an observation more than a question: The Nats are the talk of the town and everybody is full of hope that they will continue to ascend to being one of the elites in MLB Good week for the Wiz. Everyone is optimistic about Ted L's clubs because he is the text book 'good owner' Terps may have found two good young coaches to lead the school for the next 10+ years. What am I missing.... Oh, the Skins are removing thousands of seats because they've driven away fans with a meddling insecure owner who sues fans and independent weeklies to show how 'principled' he is. Tom, look into your crystal ball to the year 2016 and rank these organizations 1-5

Just noticed this question. Guess I'm not alone in seeing some of these trends.

There are far more questions than I can possibly get to. Guess that Wiuz draft pick isn't going to get much analysis! Look forward to seeing everybody next week. Thanks for the great questions.

 

Tom Is it funny or maybe even a bit annoying to you (it Is to me), that some of the WP sports writers are now paying attention to the Nats? I can't remember Wise having ever written a word about our 6-year MLB franchise before today.

The more the merrier. And good pieces, I thought. I had to go to New England early Fri to Sunday to help with some long-standing medical issues in my wife's family. So it was great to see everybody joining the talk. But I've got to say that not one person in Red Sox Nation mentioned the Nats.

Christy Mathewson resigned as manager of the Reds in 1918 to go to war. He was gassed in a training exercise in France and never fully recovered. Noble reason for "quitting".

Thanks. I knew he died young (45) but didn't know why. Much appreciated. Multiple people have mentioned this. Pretty impressive chatters!

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Thomas Boswell
A Washington Post columnist since 1984, Thomas Boswell is known for the many books he has written on baseball, including "How Life Imitates the World Series" and "Why Time Begins on Opening Day."
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