A day after taking its first look outside the organization, the Orioles' executive brain trust looked beyond the American League as former Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres manager Jim Riggleman became the fourth known candidate to interview for the team's 16-day-old managerial vacancy.
Riggleman described his 2 1/2-hour conversation with a group that included chairman's representative Louis Angelos, director of player personnel Syd Thrift, director of scouting Tony DeMacio and director of player development Tom Trebelhorn as "very preliminary."
Riggleman, who immediately returned to his Florida home after the meeting, added there was little exchange of philosophies within the informal setting. The group instead discussed the state of the industry -- "nothing earth-shattering," according to Riggleman.
"Basically, I just think they wanted to let me know I'm a candidate," said Riggleman.
Majority owner Peter Angelos or his advisory committee have interviewed four candidates. Former Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove met with club officials on Wednesday, third base coach Sam Perlozzo received a second interview on Tuesday and first base coach Marv Foley interviewed with Angelos last Saturday. Foley is to have a second interview today.
Orioles officials continue to maintain a media blackout, in contrast to other organizations involved in searches. The Indians have distributed a schedule to media listing the dates when specific candidates will be interviewed. (Riggleman met with the Indians on Wednesday. Former Toronto Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston is scheduled for today.)
Frequent communication with ownership apparently has become a talking point during each interview. Before he was fired Oct. 6, Ray Miller had a contract with a clause stipulating that he would speak at least weekly with Angelos. Riggleman expressed no misgivings about the concept.
"I'd love to work for the Baltimore Orioles. I'd love to work for Peter Angelos. I feel I can deal with that situation," Riggleman said. "What I gathered [from the interview] is that they all like baseball. Some are owners. Some are lifers in the game. They'd like some response to what's going on with the ballclub. It comes down to talking about baseball. I have no problem with that."
One year after taking the Cubs to the National League wild card, Riggleman was fired by the Cubs after a 67-95 last-place finish in the National League Central. Riggleman attended the news conference to announce his firing and publicly accepted responsibility for a poorly designed club. Such willingness to shoulder responsibility plays well within an organization accustomed to trickle-down blame and frequent turnover.
Asked how the last two seasons' varying success might affect his marketability, Riggleman said matter-of-factly, "The standings in '98 probably helped me and '99 probably hurts me. I was the same manager both years. If I was good in '98, I was good in '99. If I was bad in '99, I was bad in '98."
Though he lacks the obvious black-and-orange ties that accompanied predecessors Davey Johnson and Miller to the job, Riggleman was raised in Rockville and attended Frostburg State, where he starred in baseball before being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Some of Riggleman's relatives still live in Frederick and Gaithersburg.