Hall of Fame infielder Cal Ripken told Rich Eisen yesterday on "The Rich Eisen Show" that he would take the call if the Washington Nationals reached out to him to ask him about their managerial opening, but said he hasn't received that call yet...
Here's what Cal Ripken had to say when asked by @richeisen about the Nats manager opening. http://t.co/eqRZLSg4jy pic.twitter.com/M3jitYTuOp— Chris Lingebach (@ChrisLingebach) October 9, 2015
Asked what he could bring to a team with interest in talking to him about a job on a major league bench, the 55-year-old former Orioles' "Iron Man" explained what he thought he brought to the table.
"Certainly, the baseball background that I have -- you're a student of the game, there's a lot said about experience or lack of experience in managers coming through.
"To me it's all about your philosophy, how you handle things, what you're going to do and then it's being able to apply it. And so I haven't had a chance to apply that, so no one knows. So that would be a risk, I suppose. But I'm in the business world now, and all the time it seems like I'm asking for experts to come around and tell me what to do because I don't have that background to fall back on, but in baseball I have that background to fall back on and I would know how to deal with whatever situations there, because I've seen it."
Can Ripken's Hall of Fame-worth background and his history in the game make up for his lack of experience actually managing a baseball team?
Do the Nationals want to entrust a team that both General Manager Mike Rizzo this week and Ripken in yesterday's interview said is, "not that far off right now," from competing for a World Series championship, to someone who has never actually managed?
Rizzo and Ripken did, of course, discuss the Nationals' job back in 2013 before Matt Williams was hired as the Nats' skipper, and after the decision to go a different direction was made, Rizzo told ESPN980's Thom Loverro and Kevin Sheehan that they mutually agreed that it wasn't the right time:
"We didn't interview Cal. We had a mutual decision that it wasn't the right time for Cal. Cal is a guy I know very, very well, I respect a lot. I've had a lot of candid conversations over the last couple years with him. He's been at a lot of games here and has sat with me a few times. And he's got great baseball acumen, but we mutually agreed that this wasn't the right time or place for him."
Ripken later described those conversations as "serious discussions" though he said it never, "... got down to the point of choice and those sorts of things." Is it the right time now?
Ripken isn't the only one to express interest in the Nationals' job opening.
Former Phillies' skipper Charlie Manuel told Thom Loverro of the Washington Times that he too would take the call if the Nats gave him a ring.
Charlie Manuel to @ThomLoverro: "I would definitely be interested" in becoming #Nats manager: http://t.co/X9wmFWjmzs pic.twitter.com/AoJ61LqP9Q— WashTimesSports (@WashTimesSports) October 9, 2015
"I'm not the kind of guy who will pick up the phone and look for a job, but I would definitely be interested in that job," Manuel told Loverro. "Washington has a good team and they have some good baseball people there."
So will Ripken and Manuel's early, passive-aggressive approach to interest in the Nationals' opening work?
The Nationals thought they were on the verge of bringing a World Series championship to the nation's capital when they hired Williams, and as Rizzo told reporters this week after Williams' dismissal, they still feel like they're close.
"We feel that where we're at in our timetable in our time frame of winning a championship, we certainly would lean towards someone that has some type of managerial experience, especially at the major league level," Rizzo said.
"But again, we're going to be open-minded and look for the best candidate we can that allows us to win a championship here in the very near future."
Some of the other names that have come up early in the process?
Phil Nevin has interest from Nats, who have permission to talk to him http://t.co/tszOrDmoaG Also: notes on Ripken, Wakamatsu & Martinez.— James Wagner (@JamesWagnerWP) October 9, 2015
A Cubs official in Pittsburgh for the wild-card game said the Nationals have NOT asked permission to interview bench coach Dave Martinez.— Barry Svrluga (@barrysvrluga) October 7, 2015
Bud Black, a potential candidate for the Nats managerial opening, calls the job "very attractive." http://t.co/fyUNsMGbys— Chris Lingebach (@ChrisLingebach) October 7, 2015