September 10, 2009
So Washington interim manager Jim Riggleman says that baseball isn't "a physically taxing sport" and the entire baseball blogosphere launches itself into Wilson-style disagreement. Infidel! Liar! Socialist!
Let's take a lap, shall we?
• FanHouse's Pat Lackey believes that making such a claim won't get Riggs anywhere with the players he might hope to manage after this season.
• Federal Baseball uses the opportunity to take loud issue with Riggleman's insistence on continuing to play the team's veterans over the youngsters.
• Fire Jim Bowden goes a similar route, scoffing at the skip's belief that playing the old-timers gives the Nats a better chance to play a spoiler role that might not even exist in the NL anyway.
For those who are walking into this story blind, here's a snippet of some quotes that Riggleman may have well uttered while hopped up on a mixture of bubblegum, sunflower seeds and the stench of losing that hangs over the banks of the Anacostia:
"I never like to use that word 'fatigued' or 'tired. I think it gets way over used in baseball. We're not running up and down the court, we're not playing football with equipment on in 100 degree temperature. It's a baseball game; it's not a physically taxing sport.
"There is a drain on you as a player with travel, pressure of performing every day; it's not once a week or three times a week. There is a ball game every day and you're out there. I think a break needs to be taken every now and then, get a player a day off now and then.
"For myself, I tell players, if you're tired, you have to take better care of yourself, you have to prepare better. I don't believe that the 32-ounce bat should get heavy in August and I don't think you should ever concede to that."
Honestly, I don't have too much of a problem with what Riggleman said. He may not have intended it this way, but what he just did was send a message to his team that he's not going to tolerate the excuses that can pop up when there's nothing left to play for.
Riggleman, of course, won't likely be back in 2010 — Mike Rizzo will probably bring in his own guy — but I can think of a lot worse signals to send to a young team.