We now are at the early stages of the so-called Hot Stove LeagueÂ season whenÂ speculation about baseball trades and signings dominates the attention of diehard baseball fans.Â ("Hot Stove" derives from the early 20th century time when fans gathered in the off-seasonÂ around hot stoves to exchange baseball lore and gossip).
Most local attention Wednesday was devoted to the Mariners' 2010 signing of Ken Griffey Jr., whose statistics last year were unimpressive but who helped restore morale and professionalism to a previously demoralized team.Â General manager Jack Zduriencik reportedly will sign or trade players in the weeks ahead so as to make the Mariners genuinely competitive in the American League West next season.Â Stand by for bulletins.
Less noted here was the Thursday signing by the Washington Nationals of Jim Riggleman as their 2010 manager.
Riggleman was bench coach (i.e., second in command) of the 2008 Mariners.Â When John McLaren was fired, he managed the team for the rest of the season.Â In a short time, he restored discipline and tight on-the-field play. Previously, in the hackneyed phrase, the inmates (i.e., the players) appeared to be running the asylum. Riggleman would have been a fine 2009 manager for the Mariners.Â However, Zduriencik wanted to hire his own man and chose Don Wakamatsu, who did a first-rate job.
Riggleman, in the meantime, migrated to the Nationals as bench coach.Â When the ax fell in the capital on manager Manny Acta, Riggleman stepped in once again to finish the season leading a last-place team. This time around, however, Riggleman found justice.Â A native of the D.C. area, he was chosen over several competitors as the 2010 Nats manager.
May Riggleman live long and prosper.Â May our Mariners andÂ his Nationals rise.Â