No, I'm not confused by this report in the Washington Times' chatter section. As I've noted before, the Times does an excellent job with its Nationals blog and I'm surprised it doesn't draw a lot more commentary.
I'm also not confused by Don Mattingly's decision. As much as I'd like to be mad at him, I can't. If he's truly a serious contender to be the next manager of the Dodgers, can you really blame him? I would have enjoyed reminding him of the time I ate at his restaurant in Evansville, Ind. A Don Mattingly baseball (not obtained that night) is one of two autographed balls sitting on my display case. Livan Hernandez is the other.
What confuses me is what the Nationals think of Jim Riggleman.
Also noted before here: I have no problem with Riggleman being named permanent manager of the Nationals. There was definitely a different, better vibe to that team in the second half of the season and it may have had as much to do with Nyjer Morgan as Jim Riggleman. But I suspect Riggleman had a hand in it.
What I do not want is for Riggleman to get the job because he's the cheaper alternative. I want him to get the job because the braintrust - a braintrust I trust now that you-know-who is gone - thinks he is the best for the job, price tag be danged.
If Bobby Valentine is better and wants the job, pay the man Shirley. If Buck Showalter is better and wants the job, open up the vault.
If Riggleman is the best man, hire him. Please. But hire him for that reason.
Don't go cheap on your manager. Not now. If the optimistic proclamations are to be believed, this team is closer than results make it appear. The next manager could well be the one to lead the team to respectability and - am I really typing this? - the team's first playoff berth. It is a crucial hire. Lots of these prospects we've been beaten over the head with will be showing up over the next couple of seasons. Stephen Strasburg is going to make his debut under the next manager.
You want this next manager to be one you firmly believe is capable of handling all this.
If you think that's Jim Riggleman, I'll stand and applaud. If that's someone else, I'll support that, too.
Do it because he's the best, please. Not because he's the cheapest.
One other point of confusion: Why would they give Jim Riggleman "new electronic equipment" if he's not the guy? What is that? A computer? A BlackBerry? A HighDef TV? Satellite radio? A blender? A microwave? What exactly did they give him? An iPod? Curiousity is killing me.
UPDATE: One part of the confusion cleared. I'm told quite reliably that Mr. Riggleman got a new computer and BlackBerry. The information came with the notation that such gifts would seem to indicate he's going to be around a while. "Here, use this for a week." I don't think so.