Excuse me, but who does Jim Riggleman think he is?

I mean, besides a career long loser in the dugout who decided to use an 11-1 stretch to blackmail his employer?

Riggleman resigned from the Washington Nationals yesterday, abruptly, not long after his team swept the Seattle Mariners to cap an 11-1 run that has put the Nats above .500 for the first time in June in a long time.

His cockeyed reason? Because the Nationals wouldn’t exercise, on the spot and at his demand, a one-year option to retain him for 2012.

Riggleman told Nats GM Mike Rizzo that if Rizzo didn’t exercise the option, then the Nationals could go looking for another manager, forthwith.

Rizzo balked—I don’t blame him—and Riggleman walked.

Riggleman was making $600,000 as the major league’s lowest-paid manager. The 2012 option also called for a $600K salary.

It was a shameful power play attempted by Riggleman, right when the Nationals were tasting some success that had players and fans excited about the Nats’ chances to contend for a Wild Card.

The Nationals haven’t been so much as .500 at the end of a season since they were 81-81 in 2005.

The Nationals certainly were at no obligation to rubber stamp Riggleman’s option at this time, or at any time, frankly, between now and the end of the season.

Rizzo, for his part, said it was too early to make a decision on Riggleman’s fate.

No kidding.

Riggleman is a career loser. He’s tasted very little success outside of his playoff appearance guiding the 1998 Cubs. Yet he put a gun to Mike Rizzo’s head.

Who’s going to hire Riggleman now, after such a stunt? It’s not like the guy has a resume that would cause another GM to overlook this little indiscretion.

Here’s Riggleman explaining himself, according to wire services.

“I know I’m not Casey Stengel, but I feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s not a situation where I felt like I should continue on such a short lease.”

Guess what, Jim? That’s the contract situation, like it or not.

Funny how Riggleman didn’t run to Rizzo while the Nats were 27-36, isn’t it?

It was the ultimate selfish act by Riggleman, to quit on his team in the interest of what’s good for HIM. He seized on the first success the team had under his watch—he took over for Manny Acta in 2009—and tried to force his boss’s hand.

Riggleman may have cut off his nose to spite his face. I can’t see him ever getting another big league managing job after this stunt.

“I wanted a conversation when we got to Chicago,” Riggleman said, referring to the team’s next stop to play the White Sox. “Mike said we’re not going to do it.”

That’s because Mike doesn’t have to do it, Jim.

Why Jim Riggleman feels he’s entitled, in June 2011, to his $600,000 for 2012, is beyond me. There’s 87 games to be played this season. Rizzo was right in exercising caution, instead of Riggleman’s option.

Meanwhile, Riggleman can take his a-billion-games-under-.500 career record and stew all he wants, at home.

Good riddance.

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