Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rizzo's Guilt

Mike Rizzo and I have a lot in common. He's from a middle-class community in the northwest suburbs of Chicago; I'm from another middle-class community 30 minutes up the Kennedy Expressway. He was raised Catholic; I was raised Catholic. He went to University of Illinois; I went to the University of Illinois.

Sharing a common background, Mike and I share some common values: family, hard work, humility, authenticity, stoicism, and, perhaps most of all, guilt.

Oh, yes, guilt above all. For decades, guilt has powered the rise and fall of great cities and industries from Lake Michigan to the Red River. And we learned yesterday that despite every good intention, Mike Rizzo feels terrible about cutting Elijah Dukes:
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo reiterated Friday afternoon that outfielder Elijah Dukes was given his unconditional release two days ago because of lack of performance on the field.

Rizzo was irritated by reports that he had a dislike for Dukes. Rizzo pointed out that he did a lot for Dukes on and off the field after the young outfielder was acquired from the Rays following the 2007 season.

"The decision to release Elijah was a tough decision -- not only for me, but for [manager] Jim Riggleman, too," Rizzo said. "I've known Elijah since the beginning when he first arrived here. I was the guy who he came to with any problems that he had. I was the guy who always cared about him.

How many MLB executives can you imagine seeking out a reporter two days after the fact to insist he really cares about a player he just cut?

Now, non-Midwestern Catholics may think that I'm implying that Mike is re-thinking whether he make the right call thing. Not so. I'm sure he's 100% confident that he's right. But that's now how it works in our tribe. We do the right thing, work hard, live honestly, and we still have to feel guilty about it. I know, it seems strange to outsiders, and it's not the best thing for overall life-expectancy, but it's the way our parents raised us, and it works for us.


Anonymous said...

Get off it, man. Rizzo may feel guilt, but you're incapable of it. If you were, you'd be apologizing for every post you've ever written.

Needham feels no guilt either, although he should.

Myself, I feel guilt by association.

Will said...

Don't feed the troll.

Anonymous said...

Good news: instead of Elijah Dukes, the Nats are going to platoon Willie Harris and Willy Taveras! If this happens, my head might explode