Thursday, August 20, 2009
Mike Rizzo Introductory GM Press Conference
Sohna and I watched with great interest this afternoon's Press Conference introducing Mike Rizzo as the permanent General Manager of Our Washington Nationals. We never believed all the false rumors written in the many unsubstantiated reports over the past few months that Team President Stan Kasten would go in a different direction. Because from the very first day Mr. Rizzo took the Interim Reigns, we feel he has done an outstanding job re-focusing Our Washington Nationals.
With time being late and tonight's game in about 90 minutes--here are some selected quotes from Mr. Kasten and Mr. Rizzo from this afternoon's presser:
Stan Kasten comments:
"I think this is something that is going to be positive and greeted with great acclaim, not just in our organization, but throughout everyone who is a Washington Nationals Fan. And I know that is how I feel. I know that's how Our Board of Directors, the entire Lerner Family feels."
"I don't think he (Rizzo) would have been a GM three years ago. He, CLEARLY, is a GM today because of what he has experienced and because of what he has done and what he has learned in the last three years."
"We were going this way (hiring Rizzo as GM) irrespective of how Monday turned out. And I can tell you that we said that to each other last week. In fact, let's face it. It this hadn't worked out (signing Strasburg) Monday, that would fall on me and maybe the owners. But that would have been me. So, let's just say Mike bailed me out (by signing Stephen Strasburg) on Monday."
Mike Rizzo comments:
"I would like to thank Stan for the guidance, the support and friendship he showed me--specifically the last five months--after taking over these new responsibilities, sharing his experiences, his wisdom--not to mention his sense of humor, making this a quick study for me as my internship into the General Managership."
(His biggest thank you for) "My father (Phil Rizzo--well known Baseball Scout), who is in his 80th year and still works hard every day going to the ballpark and really taught me everything I know about, not only baseball, but work ethic and life itself."
"Steven Strasburg is not the savior of the organization. He is one intregal part of the organization, but we have a deep, deep, sense of players we can draw on. We have a good core of young players and we are, I think, really on the threshold of putting things in the right order and being able to becoming a competitive ball club in the very, very, near future."
Mr. Rizzo almost tearing up when Radio Broadcaster Charlie Slowes asked Mike about his father's reaction: (Pausing) "Ah.... .it was good. Good reaction. He was very, very emotional and very happy, yeah."
"The Lerners have given me all the resources I have asked for in the past to get the people in place that we need. And I don't see that changing. No."
(On the biggest part of the job) "It's a vast job and you really have to learn how to delegate. And when you are use to doing everything yourself, to making all the decisions, that sometimes becomes one of your greatest dilemmas--to learn how to delgate and trust the people you put in place."
"We understand we have a very young, talented starting rotation. With that said, we need an anchor at the top of this. Some type of veteran starting pitcher would help. My philosophy is speed, defense--especially up the middle--and have your big mashers on the corners. So, we are going to take that into account. Of course, we have to stabilize a resurrgent bullpen, but not a bullpen that has performed up to standards. So, that is another priority."
On wanting to be a GM: "It all started with a conversation I had as a minor league player when I was released by The California Angels Minor League System. I talked to the baseball guy I knew best--my dad (Phil Rizzo). He was a scout and evaluator himself and I was leaning toward signing another minor league contract with another team and continuing my playing career. And he sat me down as any father would at the kitchen table. We went over my career path and he said: 'Mike, you could be a minor league bum your whole life, you are not going to play in The Big Leagues. You are not talented enough to do that. But you could still be a good baseball guy as a coach, a manager or scouting director, or ultimately a general manager.' So, I think it started early, early, in my baseball career and it was a driving force in me getting to the position I am today."
Advice from his father once he started this process: "Don't lie. That is the big piece of information he has given me. Don't lie. Always tell the truth and be true to your convictions. And those things I have taken in my career."
"I don't think there was ever a light bulb moment for me. I do know that you take it day by day out on the road. I was an area scout for 11 years. So, I tell future scouts, you better like yourself because you are with yourself all the time on the road. And that is about it. It's not a very glamorous lifestyle for those guys driving up and down the roads. You go at it day by day. I did get up every morning with an attitude I am going to beat somebody today. If that means going to an extra game at night or driving 200 extra miles to get to the next game tomorrow--that's the kind of the attitude you have to have to keep yourself going--to keep yourself motivated. And my self-motivation is probably what has gotten me to where I am right now."
Proudest Moment: "The greatest thing is today. The Lerner Family is entrusting their franchise to me. That is a humbling experience. And that is the greatest achievement I have had here."