Until Thursday, long-time baseball man Jim Riggleman was always viewed as a mild-mannered, cooperative guy who is a terrific organizational man.
From his days managing San Diego (1992-1994) to his stint running the Cubs (1995-1999) to taking over as interim skipper in Seattle (2008) to doing the same in Washington (2009), Riggleman always was the responsible one. Quiet.
And then on an afternoon in June that long will be remembered for its shock value, as if taking a page right out of the upcoming movie Horrible Bosses, Riggleman told the Nationals to take their job and shove it.
So Riggleman becomes the second manager in four days to resign, following Florida's Edwin Rodriguez on Sunday.
"It's getting weird," an executive with one National League club said. "There's only 30 of these jobs. I mean, come on."
Unhappy with the way he's been treated with a 2012 option hanging out there but not picked up, and low-paid relative to other managers at that, Riggleman staged a stunning showdown with Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo before Thursday's 1-0 win over Seattle.
Pick up my option, Rizzo says Riggleman told him, or I'm quitting after the game.
Riggleman's agent, Burton Rocks, says Riggleman simply was demanding a personal meeting with Rizzo.
"This all came as a big shock to me," Rocks told CBSSports.com. "Jim called me today and said the following: 'I know there's been an informal dialogue between you and ownership. All I've asked is for a personal meeting with Mike on a human level without anybody in the media knowing. I've been denied that request [in the past] and I'm going to try again.'"
Rocks said it bothered Riggleman because the manager felt he is "a man of his word." The agent said Riggleman phoned him after Thursday's game against Seattle and informed him that he had resigned.
At 58, Riggleman had seen enough. A month ago, he seemed on the brink of being fired -- or, at the very least, of losing the Nationals' clubhouse -- when outfielder Jayson Werth said "changes need to be made" with the Nationals in the midst of an 11-18 month of May.
Werth insisted he was not speaking of Riggleman, and the two met and supposedly cleared the air. Maybe they did.
Clearly, issues lingered in the manager's office.
Among them, as Riggleman chafed regarding the option: Riggleman was making $650,000 this year, according to sources, which ranks in the lower third of manager's salaries -- and, for a man who has managed parts of 12 major-league seasons, at the bottom. His 2012 option called for a $700,000 salary.
"He's a good guy," the NL executive said of Riggleman. "I mean, shoot. Amazing."
Stunning part of it all it, the Nationals lately have turned it around. They've won 11 of 12, and they swept the Mariners. At 38-37, they haven't been one game over .500 this late in the season since the second-to-last game of the 2005 campaign.
Clearly, Riggleman, felt momentum was on his side in picking now to press his case.
"I'm 58," he told reporters in Washington after the resignation. "I'm too old to be disrespected."
Though Rizzo removed the word "interim" from Riggleman's title following the 2009 season and made him the permanent manager, that didn't change the perception that Riggleman was little more than a place-holder to help school Washington's younger players as they gained experience.
The thinking always was that Riggleman would only bring the Nationals to a certain point, and that when they were ready to win, someone else would be handed the keys to the car.
Thursday's shocking events, in which Rizzo said he just did not feel the timing was right to pick up Riggleman's 2012 option, pretty much confirmed that belief.
Another potential point of anxiety might have been the large shadow cast by Buck Showalter's managing not far away in Baltimore. Some people close to the Nationals thought that Showalter's presence as the face of the Orioles -- billboards in the area, television ads, etc. -- made Washington ownership want a bigger name, "celebrity" manager like Showalter.
Perhaps Riggleman sensed that same thing.
At any rate, the timing remains stunning. The Nationals have some good, young players in Jordan Zimmermann, Ian Desmond, Danny Espinosa, Roger Bernadina and closer Drew Storen, and phenom Stephen Strasburg should return next year.
And Riggleman, while not a superstar manager, has proven himself capable. Having guided the Nats to 11 wins in their past 12 games, Riggleman could have forced the Nationals to pick up his 2012 option by building on their current success.
Instead, he spectacularly blew up his career as a skipper, probably for good.
Rizzo, who professed to being "surprised and disappointed", issued a seven-paragraph statement shredding Riggleman afterward. Among other things, Rizzo's statement said, "I was always taught that one of the cardinal rules of baseball was that no individual can put his interests before those of the team."
Managing is a tough job, and anyone who questions that need only look at the wear and tear on Jim Riggleman, the quiet one, the responsible one, the man nobody would have predicted would issue ultimatums ... and then follow through.