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Top Washington D.C. Sports Stories Of 201, No. 6: Jim Riggleman Resigns

The Washington Nationals were winning, and yet, frustrated with his own contract situation, Jim Riggleman resigned as manager of the Washington Nationals.

On the afternoon of Thursday, June 23, the Washington Nationals defeated the Seattle Mariners 1-0 on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Laynce Nix. It was one of the highest moments of the season. That's what made what happens afterwards even more surprising. Moments after the game, the Nationals announced that manager Jim Riggleman, upset at the slow progress of a potential contract extension, had resigned.

Riggleman, who had guided the team through all or part of the team's previous two seasons, was never a great favorite among Nationals fans, but it was generally acknowledged that he was a fine man for the job while the Nats slowly but surely made their way into contention. His sudden resignation exploded the festering issue of his extension -- and, in turn, his job performance.

As it happened, Riggleman's gamble backfired. The Nationals accepted his resignation, and Riggleman was portrayed as selfish for walking away from the team in the middle of a stretch where the team had won 11 of 12 games. Riggleman didn't help his cause with a series of bizarre post-resignation radio interviews where he described the virtues of drinking at a local Bethesda bar.

After three games under John McLaren, the Nationals hired Davey Johnston, who guided the Nationals to an 80-81 record in 2011. Riggleman will spend 2012 managing the Cincinnati Reds AA affiliate, the Pensacola (Florida) Blue Wahoos.

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