WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – With the the regular season wrapping up in thirty-one games, and the Nationals still trailing the Reds by seven games for the second NL Wild Card spot, it’s probably safe to start pondering who will succeed Davey Johnson as manager in Washington.
Who will fill Johnson’s cleats at the foot of the Nationals dugout in 2014?
One name that’s been floating around is Baltimore legend Cal Ripken, Jr.
“I’ve been asked to interview for managing jobs before, not too long ago,” Ripken told the Junkies on Comcast Sportsnet’s “Table Manners” last week.
So what’s his level of interest? Would he consider it? Would Cal Ripken, Jr. consider sliding that dagger into the collective heart of Orioles Nation, and running the show in Washington?
“And I’ve always thought, if you have no interest in taking it, then you shouldn’t go through the process,” Ripken told the Junkies. “But I’m curious as all get-out. What questions are they going to ask? What baseball quiz are they going to give me that I can’t answer? So to me, it’s interesting.”
So you’re saying there’s a chance.
Johnson himself, will revert back to his role as a consultant after the season, which he held previously with the Nationals before filling the managerial void left by Jim Riggleman in 2011.
The Junkies asked Davey, in his weekly hit on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday, about the likelihood of Ripken’s candidacy for his replacement.
“Well I love Cal,” Johnson said. “He’s as good a baseball man as it gets. I mean, he’s tremendously talented physically, but he’s also very bright. And I don’t know that that’s what he wants to do.”
Johnson mentioned everything Cal has done as a player, and entrepreneur in and around Baltimore, as reasons he’d likely not strongly consider the job in Washington, while adding that he certainly has the mind to manage if he wanted to.
It was the next question that led the conversation down a path closely resembling what Davey would be looking for if he were to handpick his replacement.
“He hasn’t put the uniform on in so many years,” Eric Bickel noted. “Would that be a factor? Would that be a concern for you if you were going to hire him?”
“Yes, yes it would,” Johnson said. “I got in all kinds of trouble with Dusty Baker. Somebody asked me what’s the prerequisite for being a manger in the big leagues, I said ‘number one, it’s best that you’ve managed in the organization, so you know the talent pool in the organization’ and that’s to me, like the college preparation. And nowadays, Dusty Baker and some other guys came right out of the coaching ranks and were very successful.
“So there’s no real blueprint, but for me, I think it’s really invaluable if you’ve managed, and you see how guys react to your tendencies, and you want to make sure that that’s a favorable relationship between the managers and the players. And having that experience, then you can take it to the other level. But I think it’s really important to have a good understanding of their minor league system and the way they do things.”
“So if you were involved with the hiring, you wouldn’t, personally, just you, you probably wouldn’t hire somebody that doesn’t have managerial experience?” Bickel asked.
“I wouldn’t,” Johnson said. “But again, we’re talking about a Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken. He knows how the game is played.”
For what it’s worth, it’s sounds like it’s possible.