Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo choked up a little when he talked about his father on the field in Minute Maid Park after the Nats’ victory in the World Series this past October. Rizzo’s feelings for his dad, a long-time scout and a senior advisor to his son in the front office in D.C. for the past 11 seasons, were clear, as was his joy over the fact that his father got to see the club win it all.
“It means a lot,” Rizzo told MASN’s Bob Carpenter.
“It means everything. For my dad who’s been doing it a long time, ‘Dad, we did it. Won it.’ It feels good.”
Phil Rizzo got to see his son’s greatest success in baseball, but the elder Rizzo passed away on Saturday, at 90 years old.
‘‘He made me the happiest father in the world,’’ the Nationals’ GM’s dad told Chicago Sun-Times’ writer Gordon Wittenmyer this winter when asked about his son’s accomplishment.
‘‘He did something that I was supposed to do, but I didn’t get it done. . . . I’m so happy, you have no idea.’’
Asked this winter what his father had to say to him after the World Series win, Rizzo told reporters that he couldn’t share the details of the actual conversation.
“Yeah, nothing that we can print or say on TV,” Rizzo joked, “but he’s beyond happy, he’s ecstatic, it’s one of the greatest days in his life and he’s had a bunch of them.”
Upon announcing the news on Saturday, the Nats’ General Manager released the following statement through the team:
Mike Rizzo on the passing of his father: pic.twitter.com/HSFfAL8SiV— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 1, 2020
“My dad is totally responsible for where I’m at today. Not only the way he brought me up in baseball, but that he gave me the love of the game, and we worked out hard together for me to become a good player. He taught me how to work hard, be aggressive, go after what you want and get it done.”
The Nationals issued the following statement:
It is with heavy hearts that the Washington Nationals mourn the passing of Phil Rizzo, the father of Mike Rizzo. pic.twitter.com/8aPZfdvBSU— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) February 1, 2020
Rizzo and his father worked together in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization, and, as the Nationals mentioned above, Phil spent 11 years as a senior advisor to his son in the nation’s capital, and more than 50 years in the game of baseball overall.