8/25 Welcome back

Jim Riggleman was back in the Wrigley Field dugout on Tuesday night, but he was on the visitor’s side. Riggleman, who managed the Cubs from 1995-99, now is the interim skipper for the Nationals.

“There’s a lot of good memories here,” Riggleman said before the game. “Five years here, that’s a long time. I wish I could’ve made it 10.”

He understands how tough Chicago can be if f things aren’t going well. Lou Piniella has heard his share of criticism.

“It’s a major market and passionate fans,” Riggleman said. “Lou’s a very smart guy and knows it comes with the territory. A couple things happen — you get Carlos [Zambrano] on the DL, a couple guys struggle with the bat, one club in the division gets hot and the next thing you know you’re looking up at somebody else. When you’ve gone through years of that in Chicago, when you’re the current guy, and manager of the club, you’re the one who’s going to catch the heat.

“Fortunately for Lou, he’s got a couple years in the playoffs here back to back that nobody else has done in a long time and that kind of speaks for itself and how good he is. Lou will survive it.”

Does Riggleman believe the Cubs are cursed?

“I never believed in that,” he said. “It’s a combination of things. Sometimes people forget the other team is trying to win, too.

“Money doesn’t play, players play,” he said. “Sometimes the guys making the money aren’t playing. You see that in New York. Jerry [Manuel] catches [heck] in New York but his top three players are on the disabled list.

“They’re not cursed,” he said of the Cubs. “It hasn’t all lined up just perfect yet. It looked like it was in ’03 and it got away from them. Anything can happen. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.”

— Carrie Muskat

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