Monday, August 10, 2009

Coach of the Year = Jim Riggle… WHAT?!?!

Now I know we are only technically 70% through the MLB season, but every great once and a while there comes a reason to hand out end of the season accolades with 50 games yet to go. The occasion at hand that warrants this early awarding is the Washington Natinals winning 8 games in a row; and the coach behind this miraculous feat (in case you’ve forgotten the title) is Jim Riggleman.

Now if you don’t think that leading the lowly Natinals to 8 straight victories is enough to merit coach of the year honors in early August, consider this: Since taking over the team on July 12 they have posted a 14-11 record compared to a 26-61 mark before Riggleman was at the helm. That means that under his guiding hands the most embarrassing ball club in the majors improved their winning percentage from .296 to .560 in a single month!

Now some may point out that the Natinals schedule has been fairly easy throughout Riglleman’s tenure (though they did play, and beat, average teams like Milwaukee and Houston), but what these people fail to realize is that the Natinals are the inherent underdog in EVERY game they enter….. even at home…… vs. the Pirates.

Personally, I could not be happier to give out this award, as I have been a fan of Jim’s ever since he slowly turned the Cubs around and guided them to a playoff birth back in the late 90s (same year Wood and Sosa both took home hardware). In my book the man has not gotten his fair share of praise as he seems to almost always inherit atrocious teams that are in need of major franchise reconstruction and renovation (early 90s Padres, late 90s Cubs, Seattle, Washington). This, of coarse, severely damages his career winning percentage, which leaves him to languish in the world of B-list coaches who deserve better.

All in all, no matter what happens from this point on Riggleman has already accomplished the impossible by leading a team, who seemed to be doing everything wrong, to 8 straight wins. Now if only they can use the rest of the season to slowly chip away at their 5.5 game wild card deficit and pass up the Pirates to claim that oh so important “not last in the NL” position.

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