CHICAGO — Nationals first base coach Dan Radison and Jim Riggleman are very close. “My best friend in the whole world,” Radison said Friday and it was clear that Riggleman’s decision to resign from his position as Nationals manager Thursday had weighed on him.
“Riggleman is the kind of person who, in our relationship, he’s more about me than he is about him,” Radison said. “He’s like ‘No, you ain’t going. I don’t want you to think that you need to go.’ I’m a coach. I’m going to be professional and do my job the best I can and try to help this club win every game. That’s just baseball.”
Riggleman kept his plans to resign largely a secret from his team but he did address the subject with Radison before Thursday’s 1-0 victory over the Mariners.
“I really didn’t see it coming,” Radison said, lauding Riggleman as a courageous person. “It was like, well ‘Here’s what I’m going to do,’ and I’m like ‘Wow.’ But I’ve known Jimmy long enough. I ain’t going to be able to talk him out of anything. I told him not to walk (Albert) Pujols and he said ‘(Shoot) I’m walking him.’ He didn’t listen to me that time either so I knew he wouldn’t listen.”
Radison said he planned to remain on the staff and was happy to do so, despite his friendship with the team’s former manager.
The other coaches on his staff were “blindisded” by the decision.
“It caught me off-guard,” said now interim manager John McLaren. “Jim and I talked all the time, and I knew he’d been upset for quite a while. My main message for Jim was: Just win and everything would take care of itself. This just kept building for him, and like I said, I was blown away. I had no idea this was going to take place.”
“Just like everybody else, I was shocked,” said third base coach Bo Porter. “But there is a closeness within this group. There is a closeness within this locker room. We’re going to do the best we can to keep this thing moving in a positive direction. We’ve been playing great. And there’s no reason why we shouldn’t continue to play great. We have the same players.”