Davey Johnson seems to be suffering from a prolonged case of verbal diarrhea. The symptoms first became visible with the confrontational stance he took toward the Eckstein firing. He had another (albeit less public) episode on the day Drew Storen was demoted. But not until today’s pregame comments did I realize just how severe his affliction really was. For a manager to admit: “I don’t regret saying ‘World Series or bust.’ It’s looking more like bust” before the calendar has flipped to August should indicate that this condition can’t be solved with a quick fix.
I suppose having to swallow a season like 2013 would cause most baseball men some internal discomfort. But anyone else would have the good sense to relieve himself behind a distant closed door. Not Davey. For whatever reason, he has chosen to unload on his team in front of the media. It doesn’t take a gastroenterologist or group therapist to tell you how long the toxic stench resulting from his words will take to air out.
Please understand that this isn’t some knee-jerk reflex response to an underachieving team. Sure I might have thrown a #firedavey hashtag into the Twittersphere at one point during the last homestand. Still, I get that it’s not that simple. When you have a legend installed at the helm who is allowed the opportunity to decide when he will step down, your hands are kind of tied. Of all places, DC understands how powerless it can feel to have a lame duck in a decision-making role. If you boot this individual before his/her time is up, the resultant backlash from those content with staying the course will be brutal. Consequently, most situations end up with inaction, other than a little finger-crossing. The 2013 Nationals are but one example of electing to adhere to this philosophy.
In truth, the only way the team could jump ahead and turn the page would be if Johnson chose to resign. I doubt this will happen, but I still hold out hope that a man who supposedly is all about playing the game the right way would see he is more clubhouse cancer than talisman right now. Is this really how he wants folks to remember him – sniping at people within the organization and throwing in the towel far too early? He got the bobblehead – does he need the final home game ovation too?
Whatever you may think of what Jim Riggleman did in 2011, you can’t deny the man placed a supreme value on his principles. Ironically, the guy who essentially put ‘Riggs’ in that predicament is choosing the opposite approach and somehow has caught less flak for it, despite having an equally opposite effect on the team’s record.
Do you want to live in a Washington where the Rigglemans, Mannings, and Snowdens are vilified, while the Johnsons, CIAs, and NSAs somehow conduct business as usual with occasional surface adjustments? I sure don’t. Do the right thing Davey. Tomorrow’s first round is on me.