If you somehow missed it when we wrote about it yesterday, former Nationals' GM Jim Bowden wrote on Twitter that he had received some interesting information from a source with knowledge of the goings-on in Washington, D.C.:
Nationals giving serious consideration to Cal Ripken Jr.as a Managerial Candidate according to source— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) October 9, 2013
If you didn't already read Washington Post writer Dan Steinberg's transcription, here's what Mr. Bowden had to say later in the day on Wednesday on his MLB Network Radio show Inside Pitch with co-host Casey Stern:
"I think the interesting news that I learned today is the Washington Nationals are giving serious consideration to our MLB Network Radio colleague, Cal Ripken, Jr., which I think would be fascinating," Bowden said. "I know the years that I was in Washington, how much the Lerner family respected Cal. How much they, even back then, I remember them saying, 'How great would it be if Cal Ripken decided to join the Washington Nationals, with all he could bring to the table.' And Cal's professionalism, the way he carries himself, certainly he's a special guy, and the other thing that I found interesting, Casey, I remember the last time you and I were covering the Cardinals in St. Louis in the World Series, I had a conversation with Cal and asked Cal if he would have interest in managing and he told me, 'Yeah,' that if it was the right situation, he would."
"Certainly I think his, probably, his dream job would have been with the Orioles," Bowden continued, "but we know Buck Showalter has got five years left on his deal and that's not happening, but right down the street in Washington, that is a World Series-caliber team that if Cal was given the opportunity, it would be a tremendous one. A job that doesn't usually come open. You don't usually World Series-caliber teams open up. And now that Joe Girardi is done in New York, all eyes right now [are] going to Washington, Cincinnati, Seattle and Chicago, the final four teams that still have openings, and I find it fascinating that there could be mutual interest in both Cal Ripken and the Washington Nationals for that job."
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo, who was brought into the organization as an assistant to Mr. Bowden during the latter's time in D.C., agreed on at least one point his former boss made when he spoke about the Nationals' search for their sixth skipper last week on ESPN980's The Sports Fix with Kevin Sheehan and Thom Loverro. Though Rizzo declined to talk about specific names, he did say that it's an unusual situation.
"I think it's a unique opportunity for a manager to come in," the Nats' general manager told ESPN980's Mr.'s Sheehan and Loverro. "Usually when there's a change in managers, it's usually because of a problem. A disappointing season, a losing roster, teams that are really struggling. And there [are] usually a lot of losses tacked on to a manager getting fired. It's not the case here." Rizzo said then that the Nationals were in the process of "whittling" a long list of candidates down to a final few so that they could request and conduct interviews. So will Cal get the call?
The Nats were rumored to have requested an interview with Joe Girardi before he signed on for four more years in New York. Randy Knorr is considered the top in-house candidate, and the Nationals did stay in-house the last two times they had to choose a new skipper though both of those decisions were made in-season with Jim Riggleman promoted from his role on Manny Acta's bench to bench boss and Davey Johnson brought out of an advisor's role to replace Riggleman. Rizzo was the "acting GM" when the first change was made, and he asked Johnson to return to managing after Riggleman walked away. Matt Williams, if you believe the rumors, is thought to be the top candidate from outside the organization.
BTW: Jayson Werth already offered his opinion on the Nats' manager search when he told Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore that Ripken would be his no.1 choice. Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman was asked this afternoon on 106.7 the FAN in D.C. by hosts Holden Kushner and Danny Rouhier what he thought of all the rumors about Ripken being considered as the Nats' next skipper and what he thought about Randy Knorr.
Zimmerman started talking about Knorr and why he thought he might be a good choice. "Obviously he's a good guy and knows baseball," Zimmerman said, "and a bunch of us think he could be a good manager. But I think we kind of see him as, he kind of went through everything players have to go through to become a manager. He started at Low-A, worked his way up, High-A; Double-A; Triple-A. He's been here for a couple years now. Sort of the catcher, back-up catcher kind of role that so many of these young new managers that have had success kind of were in the big leagues."
"It helps him know the game," Zimmerman continued, "know how to handle the pitching staff, things like that. And I think most importantly, all of us already have a relationship with him. We kind of know that we can talk to him about things. We can trust him. We know he's going to take care of us in the media, as much as you guys love to hear that, that's a big part of it. And he just knows a bunch of us. It wouldn't bring a big amount of change within the organization."
"When you get a new manager," the Nats' third baseman explained, "you go to Spring Training and most of Spring Training is kind of learning him, learning his staff and then you start to finally get comfortable towards the end. It would just be nice to kind of have, as a manager and I'm assuming he would mostly bring back, I would think, the same coaching staff, so that comfortability would be there and the way we played the last two months, I think that would be a smart move."
As for Cal Ripken? "I've met him a few times," Zimmerman said. "Obviously growing up he was my and millions of other people's probably favorite player and they respected what he did and how he played the game. I haven't talked to him at all about being a manager for us or just being a manager at all, getting back into the game, but I think his temperament and the way that he played the game, I don't think he would be a bad manager. I think it's tough to be out of the game and have never managed before and then to come right into it and be a manager in the big leagues, but if anyone could do it, I think he would be one of those guys that's on the short list of people who could."
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- Bowden: Nationals "Giving Serious Consideration" To Cal Ripken As Next Manager
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