Saturday, August 24, 2013
Cal Ripken the manager?
By Doug Mittler
Hall of Famer Cal Ripken may have been testing the waters earlier this week when he acknowledged that he “had the itch to look into the big league scene.”
Ripken says he has been asked to interview for “many managing jobs, and there has been speculation in the Beltway area that he could be considered for the Washington Nationals' job once Davey Johnson retires after the season. A spokesman for Ripken told Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun that Ripken’s interest in any job is hypothetical at this point.
Hiring a manager without any previous managerial has become more common in recent years. The St. Louis Cardinals have hired Mike Matheny, the Chicago White Sox went with Robin Ventura and the Colorado Rockies have given a chance to Walt Weiss.
The idea of Ripken landing in D.C., however, comes with other issues. The Nationals are a veteran team built to win now, so Ripken would be given no margin for error. That also was the case for Matheny, but he already was working for the Cards in player development at the time of his hiring, so there was less of a transition.
Would Ripken be willing to go to the minor leagues and work his way up the ladder, like fellow Hall of Fame Ryne Sandberg did before landing the interim gig in Philadelphia? That remains to be seen.