Cal Ripken Jr. shows interest in Nationals’ manager job

Before the Nationals hired the Matt Williams to be their manager in 2013, there was reportedly a bit of flirting with Cal Ripken Jr. Fast-forward two years and Williams is out while Ripken has yet to sit on bench as a major league manager.

As speculation of Williams’ potential firing escalated as the Nationals’ playoff hopes faded away over the past two months, Ripken’s name was floated again as a possible replacement.

Hours after firing Williams, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo held a media conference call where he repeatedly mentioned previous managerial experience at the major league level as a potentially important prerequisite for the team’s next skipper.

Rizzo’s lean toward a more seasoned manager is understandable after Williams’ failure in his first big league job. That also seems to make Ripken a longshot.

On Friday, Ripken appeared on “The Rich Eisen Show” on DirecTV’s Audience Network and the host asked the Hall of Fame shortstop if he would answer a phone call from the Nationals.

“Sure,” Ripken said. “Sure, I’d answer.”

“Have you gotten a phone call like that?” Eisen wondered.

“No,” Ripken said.

“Do you want a phone call like that?” Eisen said.

“Yeah, everybody wants a phone call like that,” Ripken said.

Eisen then gave Ripken the opportunity to clear up any concerns about never managing at any level.

“Certainly, the baseball background that I have, you’re a student of the game, there’s a lot said about experience, or lack of experience, in managers coming through,” Ripken said. “To me, it’s all about your philosophy, how you handle things, what you’re going to do and then it’s being able to apply it. And so I haven’t had a chance to apply that, so no one knows. So that would be a risk, I suppose.”

4th-Nationals-sidebar.jpgThe conversation transitioned to how to deal with the fallout from Jonathan Papelbon’s fight with Bryce Harper in the Nationals dugout, especially heading into next season.

“Here’s my mid-Atlantic view again,” Ripken said. “You can overblow that. I mean, I’ve been in clubhouses and seen those sorts of things happen, and it’s how that’s handled, and really, it’s understanding how they got to that point. Maybe it could have been prevented.

“But everybody has to get over those sorts of things. It’s a competitive, high-pressure environment, and when things go bad - and the Nationals, things didn’t really go bad. Going bad is starting a season 0-6, getting your dad fired, losing 15 more and now everyone in the country’s laughing at you because you’re so bad, losing 100 games again. If you keep perspective for a minute, they’re not that far off right now.”

The Nationals have not announced formal interviews with any managerial candidates. Veteran managers Bud Black and Dusty Baker are among those who have shown interest in recent days during interviews on SiriusXM.

Just offering Ripken the chance to interview would create a frenzy, especially in this region.

Here’s the full segment from “The Rich Eisen Show.” The discussion on the Nats’ managerial opening begins at about the 12-minute mark.

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