Results tagged ‘ Jim Riggleman ’
Nationals skipper Jim Riggleman once was the “fine manager of the Chicago Cubs.” At least, that’s what Ron Santo would call him at the end of his pregame radio interview.
“The thing you remember is this, he was such a fan — he loved the Cubs,” Riggleman said Sunday about Santo, who passed away Thursday. “That’s the great thing about Billy [Williams], Ernie [Banks] and Ronnie. Sometimes veteran players are bitter about today’s players contracts and this and that, but they were all about Cubs. ‘We’ve got to get it right here, we’ve got to win.’ Ronnie was really excited about the team. It was a shock to me that [he died]. I loved my time with him and feel fortunate that I got to know him. He was a legend. He treated me like a friend — there was no talking down to you or anything like that because you didn’t play in the big leagues. He treated you with great respect, and I really thought a lot about him.”
Riggleman was the Cubs manager in 1998 when the team was challenging for the Wild Card and outfielder Brant Brown dropped a fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth against the Brewers. Santo groaned “Oh, no” — an audio tape worth listening to.
“[Santo] was the first one to console Brant Brown on the [team] plane,” Riggleman said. “He said, ‘Sorry, kid.’ He understood the magnitude of that play. I think Ronnie was like all of us feeling for Brant. We didn’t want that to hang over us.
“[Santo] loves the Cubs, he was passionate about the Cubs. For him, the glass was always half full.”
— Carrie Muskat
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
The Cubs are holding a team workout at Nationals Park Thursday, starting five hours before the first pitch of their series against Washington and former Chicago manager Jim Riggleman. Looking ahead, rookie Randy Wells will likely start Sunday in the series finale and Kevin Hart was expected to be recalled for Monday’s game in Philadelphia.
The Cubs are 43-43 at the .500 mark for the 20th time this year. Heading into this season, the team had been at .500 just 10 times between 2007 and ’08 combined. This is the third time in franchise history the Cubs have been at .500 at the All-Star break and first since 2003.
Here are some numbers to digest:
Player: 2008 1st half average, HR, RBI vs. 2009 1st half average, HRs, RBIs
Bradley: .316, 19 HR, 57 RBI vs. .243, 6 HR, 21 RBI
Fontenot: .266, 7 HR, 21 RBI vs. .230, 6 HR, 28 RBI
Fukudome: .279, 7 HR, 36 RBI vs. .251, 7 HR, 27 RBI
Johnson: .268, 3 HR, 32 RBI vs. .254, 4 HR, 16 RBI
Lee: .306, 15 HR, 56 RBI vs. .280, 17 HR, 57 RBI
Miles: .317, 2 HR, 18 RBI vs. .203, 0 HR, 4 RBI
Ramirez: .285, 17 HR, 66 RBI vs. .333, 4 HR, 17 RBI
Soriano: .283, 15 HR, 40 RBI vs. .233, 14 HR, 33 RBI
Soto: .288, 16 HR, 56 RBI vs. .230, 8 HR, 27 RBI
Theriot: .320, 1 HR, 25 RBI vs. .299, 7 HR, 30 RBI
— Carrie Muskat