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.
- Jim Riggleman's Future As Washington Nationals Manager Is Hairy, by Andrew Kinback
- Jim Riggleman Resigns As Washington Nationals' Manager (StoryStream)
- Washington Nationals' Skipper Jim Riggleman Redefines Walk-Off. Resigns (Federal Baseball)
Jim Riggleman Leaves Behind Promising Nationals, by Rob Neyer
- Nationals Hire Davey Johnson To Manage The Nationals Through 2013
- PHOTO: Jim Riggleman Downing Drinks After Resigning As Nationals Manager (Half Smokes)
- Jim Riggleman Resigns As Nationals Manager, Spills His Feelings In Radio Interview (Half Smokes)
- Davey Johnson Named Washington Nationals' Manager For 2012 (StoryStream)
- Jim Riggleman Resigns, And Now Washington Nationals Must Adjust Without Their Manager, by Jordan Ruby
- Chain Reactions: Jim Riggleman's Walk-Off Shot, Capitals And Wizards Re-Tool In Draft, by Scott Jackson
- Washington Nationals' Fans Had Hope, And It's Finally Being Rewarded, by Andrew Kinback
For the complete D.C. Top 10 of 2011 countdown, visit this StoryStream. For more coverage of Washington D.C. sports, visit our D.C. blogs:
- Hogs Haven (Redskins)
- Japers' Rink (Capitals)
- Bullets Forever (Wizards)
- Federal Baseball (Nationals)
- Black and Red United (D.C. United)
- Testudo Times (Maryland)
- Casual Hoya (Georgetown)