Monday, July 13, 2009
More Mike Rizzo Comments After The Presser
Finally late this morning, I again joined with The Federicksburg Free-Lance Star and DC Examiner Reporters for five extra minutes with Asst. GM Mike Rizzo to conclude the media availabilities following the official announcement that Manny Acta was relieved of duty as Manager of Our Washington Nationals.
Here are those questions & answers with Mike Rizzo:
Question: You mentioned that Manny's even keeled approach was an asset. Then mentioned after the slow start, it might have been a liability. Can you elaborate on that? Is that kind of a double-edged sword?
“What I think I said was that I meant to say on certain teams, the attributes of the manager are sometimes positive and sometimes negative. After the slow start, the evenkeelness wore a little thin. We could have used a little more of a disciplinarian type of approach to it. But ultimately, Manny’s demeanor and Manny’s personality fits well into a Major League Clubhouse.”
Question: Is that more specifically a veteran Major League Clubhouse? Is it tougher to match an even keel personality with a younger team?
“I wouldn’t say it’s tough to match it. But, I do think a younger developing ballclub needs a time to be patted on the back and sometimes they need to be disciplined more.”
Question: Mike, given that, you waited until this point to make the change. In those internal discussions, were you weighing Manny's future prospects that he will become a good manager at some point? How did you balance that?
“The internal thought process was we are balancing how to extract and reach the potential of the team we have presently. We were patient with Manny because we felt that we had the personnel in place and Manny was the manager in place to turn this thing around. We kept waiting for it to turn the corner and for us to start playing consistent and better baseball—and it didn’t happen.”
Question: What are your expectations of Jim Riggleman?
“To continue the developmental process of our core young players—specifically our young starting pitching. To get the club to play a good brand of baseball; To play the game the right way; To execute and to play good solid fundamental baseball.”
Question: You mentioned previously today you wanted to see the players get some tough love when you felt they deserved it. Manny was criticized for not doing that publicly. Do you want to see that publicly from Jim Riggleman? Or behind closed doors?
“No, Manny often times showed it behind closed doors. And I think that Jim is not going to call out any players or embarrass any players. I don’t think that is a healthy relationship between a player and a manager. But we do need to be more vocal on players at certain times. Like I’ve said before, some players need to be patted on the back and sometimes they need to be a little bit disciplined.”
Question: Can we expect different lineups that Manny might not have been putting out there?
“We are going to go into that, in depth, this afternoon (Riggleman & Rizzo). This all took place late last night with Jim. So that stuff will all be discussed today.”
Question: Were The Lerner’s present at the meeting last night?
“Last night? No, just Stan and I.”
Question: A lot of fans have said when are The Nationals going to be good—a winning team. What are your expectations?
“That is an almost impossible question because to put a timetable on things is very difficult. There are too many variables that go into it. So it’s a very difficult question to answer.”
Question: Were the players informed as a group or have you called them throughout the day. Or, let them find out on their own?
“I called the core leadership players personally and spoke to them. And it usually filters down from there.”
How long did you wrestle with this decision to let Manny go?
Mike Rizzo: “It was a very difficult decision to finally come to. We wrestled with it for quite a while. And we all ultimately came to this decision, begrudgingly, because of what we think about the man and the baseball man inside.”
Toughest baseball decision you have ever made in your life?
“Yes, without a doubt, it was a very tough night last night.”
With that final answer the availability ended, Interim GM Mike Rizzo headed back upstairs to his office at Nationals Park.