Thursday's turn of events is one of the most bizarre sporting announcements that I have covered. After interviewing Danny Espinosa on the field, I fully expected to walk by Jim Riggleman as he made a trip to the interview room for a post game press conference. Riggleman never came out of the clubhouse. Instead, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo came out of the clubhouse and made the announcement about Riggleman's resignation.
It was shocking to everyone and unfortunate. Riggleman had asked Rizzo to speak with him this weekend in Chicago about picking up the option on his contract and the Nats GM was not ready to do that.
Regardless of whether Riggleman deserved his option to be picked up or have an extension done, his resignation takes away from the idea of a team. Players are constantly told it's not a "me" game, it's a "team" game.
I'm sure walking away from the manager's job was done out of frustration. Riggleman was constantly asked about his contract status. It's been a topic of conversation for the media and opposing ballclubs.
Moments before Wednesday's game, a fan leaned over the dugout for an autograph from the Nats skipper and he was asked why he wasn't getting an extension. Afterall, the Nats had just won nine of their last 10 games. It seems the weight of a murky future was too tough to take.
Riggleman did not address the team as a group, but he was able to say goodbye to some of his players individually. It was different watching him shake hands and hug some of his players one final time.
I caught up with Ryan Zimmerman after the news and he admitted it was shocking for the players to hear about Riggleman's resignation. Zimmerman enjoyed playing for him.
Baseball is a business. Nats reliever Tyler Clippard said players get traded, sent down and released and it's a part of the game. You must stay focused on the task at hand. He added the team has a good core of veteran players and that will help them do that.
Now, ironically, after sweeping the Mariners, the team will replace Riggleman, a former interim Seattle skipper, with the man he replaced in Seattle, his friend and Nats bench coach John McLaren.
McLaren is a great baseball man and will oversee the ballclub beginning Friday Night against the White Sox. After landing in Chicago last night, he admitted to me it was a strange day for the team and for him.
But, now the focus must turn to beating the White Sox. And as Michael Morse told me, "The show's gotta go on."