Thursday, October 26, 2006
Sad I became, upon reading that Our Washington Nationals had informed Assistant General Manager, Tony Siegle, that his contract would not be renewed for 2007. Siegle, now 66 years old, has worked in baseball for over 40 years, in various capacities--always behind the scenes, important work, yet out of the spotlight.
Siegle's baseball career began in 1965 when, for the Houston Astros, Tony helped operate the, then, brand new, 8th Wonder of The World, The Astrodome. From there, on to the Phillies, scouting with the Brewers in 1970, eventually running Milwaukee's Farm System from 1975-1979 (developing Harvey's WallBangers). Becoming the Astros Assistant General Manager in 1982. Later meaningful front office positions with the Padres, Angels, Giants and Rockies. Always behind the scenes, never complaining, never being named General Manager of any franchise. Though, wherever he went, winning followed.
Siegle was asked by Commissioner Bud Selig, to come on board the sinking Montreal Expos ship in 2002 as MLB was in the process of contracting the team. As Assistant General Manager, Tony was involved in all contract negotiations with all the players, known for his knowledge of the most arcane rules of baseball. Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga and Washington Times beat reporter Mark Zuckerman always turn to Tony for the details, the rulings.
When the Expos were traveling all over Canada, The United States and Puerto Rico in MLB's efforts to drain every last penny out of the franchise, it was Tony Siegle that made those difficult travel decisions work. At Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the Puerto Rican facility the Expos called home for parts of two seasons, it was mostly Siegle, on hand, pushing the works crews, to make it all happen, as seamlessly as possible.
Although Tony Taveres got a tremendous amount of credit for executing the transfer of the Montreal Expos to Washington, to play that infamous first game at RFK on April 14, 2005 (and deservedly so), it was Tony Siegle, there by his side, working in the trailers, outside of RFK, while renovations took place, getting the teams players signed, helping a new staff, moving the reconstruction of the stadium along.
For the past two seasons, Siegle has been with The Nationals on virtually every single road trip, representing the team, being there to work out any difficulties that might arise. The "GO TO" Man. The Answer Man.
Yesterday, Assistant Vice President and General Manager, Jim Bowden, informed Tony Siegle that his services were no longer needed--too many cooks in the kitchen seemed to be the reason. A crowded front office, filled now by Jimbo hires: Bob Boone, Jose Rijo, Jose Cardenal, Barry Larkin, Mike Rizzo, Andy Dunn, Bill Singer. Siegle apparently not in the Bowden inner circle.
That's really too bad. For all Siegle went through, truly helping make the Montreal Expos and then Our Washington Nationals a viable franchise, he should not be shown the door so unceremoniously. There may be too many cooks in the kitchen, but, I believe, we showed the wrong cook the door.