Jose Rijo: From Disgraced Nats’ Exec To Mayor?

Recall, if you will, the shame with which Jose Rijo resigned his post with the Washington Nationals just months ago. His Dominican Republic baseball academy collapsed amid allegations of skimming money from prospects’ contracts and a $1.4 million contract given to a player with a forged identity. Three word, summary: It. was. bad.

Jose Rijo interview
(”And the funny thing about it is, I don’t even speak a word of Dominican. I’m not even sure that’s a language. You don’t suppose that’ll come back to haunt me, do you?”)

But to say Rijo has rebounded is an exercise in understatement: He’s back down in the Dominican Republic and putting together what might be a career in politics. And lo and behold, his competition’s another familiar face.

The WASHINGTON POST’s NATIONALS JOURNAL, which is surprisingly comprised of more than just the words “WHY DO WE SUCK SO BAD” repeatedly copied and pasted, tells the story of Rijo finding a receptive audience and making the most of it:

According to recent news accounts — see here and here; find your Spanish translator Web site here — Rijo is now running for mayor in his home town of San Cristobal. Almost every day, he campaigns door-to-door, greeting people in the barrios, gathering on the street corners, reveling in a town where he’s still known only as a magnanimous former big leaguer.

Interesting. Perhaps, considering his close connection with the mere specter of corruption, people would want to avoid using any sorts of comparisons that might suggest some undue influence on the rules and well-being of others. Perhaps, but ho ho ho no sir (emphasis ours):

“Here, he’s been somewhat humiliated,” a source close to Rijo said, “but down there [in the Domincan] he’s still like the Godfather, larger than life.”

We’re not up on our Mario Puzo studies - it’s been a few years and a few beers since we watched those movies - but doesn’t that necessarily end in oh-you-know-bad-things-are-coming classical music? And a hail of gunfire from well-dressed men??

But perhaps it won’t get that far for Rijo, as he hasn’t yet been elected to anything. His political rival? Why, none other than former NL Rookie of the Year and namesake of one of the finest Pittsburgh blogs in existence, Raul Mondesi!

No, seriously, Raul Mondesi is running for mayor against Jose Rijo. Yes, we can wait for you to pick up the pieces of your brain that just exploded everywhere. These things happen. You good? All right:

Rijo’s opponent for the mayoral seat is another former big leaguer, Raul Mondesi.

If you’re wondering (and I know you are), Mondesi went 3 for 9 lifetime against Rijo with a double and three strikeouts.

Actually, that was precisely the one single question we had, so thanks.