This story in the Post seems to point to the Nats' manager being one of those two. I'm going to stop using the term "permanent" manager, by the way, unless someone can assure me the pick is indeed going to be the Nats manager forever. Otherwise, he isn't permanent. Just an "interim" without that word sitting there.
Valentine would be an intriguing (and apparently expensive choice). Being a due diligence kind of guy, I nosed around with a couple of writers I know up New York way and the opinions I got on Valentine could not have been more divergent.
One guy I know and trust said he's an egomaniac who would be a terrible fit for the Nats. Despite that ego, he said Valentine can do a good job of managing the personalities who make up a baseball team. He'd be fine on a team that was ready to win now. Losing would make him nuts.
Another guy I know and trust swears by the guy, pretty much loves him and thinks the Nats ought to snap him up right now. He agreed that Valentine has a massive ego but contends that's part of the reason he'd work. He'd make it all about him, charm people, put himself front and center and try to deflect attention from the losing. (But will he get out the way when there's winning?). He's a strong baseball man, the guy said, who could help make the right decisions and make the team a winner faster.
Valentine's record doesn't overwhelm you - he's at .510 for his career and he's been to postseason twice in 15 seasons (full or partial). The 1999 and 2000 seasons were the only one's where his teams won more than 90 games. But he was over .500 ten times.
Interesting tidbit in Valentine's Wikipedia entry (take that for what it is worth): He claims to have invented the "wrap" sandwich. He says Bobby Valentine's Sports Gallery Cafe in Stamford, Conn., was the first to serve a sandwich in a tortilla rather than between slices of bread.
That right there ought to be enough to disqualify him.
I also did not know until just moments ago that Valentine's father-in-law is Ralph Branca. If you haven't read The Echoing Green about Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomsen, you should.
Valentine is a bigger name than Riggleman (who turned 57 Monday), but is he really that much of an upgrade? I get different answers depending on where I ask the question. Valentine has a better record but he also probably had better players.
He's more expensive, too, though he does have that wrap thing going for him. Hey, some people like them.
I'm starting to seriously think the choice will be Jim Riggleman. At some point, he'll have to open the Jimmy Rigs Cafe and patent some new kind of food item. I'm a food guy. I'll help him think of something.