Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Frankly, I DO Give A Damn

I think it's pretty obvious that I'm not Frank Robinson's biggest fan. Helluva player; Stinkpot of a manager.

While I've been highly critical of him, I don't think I've been unfair. My WTF Frank Senior moments didn't really nitpick. I tried picking out only those jaw-dropping moments that caused your eyebrows to involuntarily furrow. Sadly, there were lots of those.

But Frank has two statements in today's paper that demonstrate his unworthiness to continue as the manager of the Washington Nationals. One demonstrates his weaknesses on-the-field. The other, off-the-field. Together, they again force me to wonder what it is that Frank does do well?

First is the Washington Times. With the season hanging by a thread, and a hot young prospect eager and able to inject some life, why doesn't Frank play Ryan Zimmerman?
Robinson acknowledges that Zimmerman, 20, at times has looked impressive since his promotion from Class AA Harrisburg. But the manager also has held firm to his long-standing belief that veteran players should get priority over rookies, especially at this crucial juncture of the season.

"I think Vinny has the right to be out there if he's capable and wants to be out there," Robinson said. "I don't know what the kid gives me. I don't know what he's capable of doing. But I do know what Vinny is capable of doing. I guess you can call it loyalty. ... The kid will have his day."

Robinson added that his philosophy applies likewise to other veterans like center fielder Preston Wilson.

I'm not really going to get into the silliness of strategy of this decision. If you've read this blog before, you know what I'm thinking. You're probably thinking it too.

But think about this in terms of the bigger picture. When faced with an unknown -- even an unknown which may be superior to the known -- Frank will take the easy route out. He's not willing to play rookies if it means sitting down a veteran.

This team is likely to be younger over the next few years. Ideally, (and this situation is far from ideal) they'd be building towards the opening of the stadium in 2043, or whenever the hell the thing actually gets built.

As the team tries to work players like Ryan Zimmerman, Darrell Rasner, Mike Hinckley, Larry Broadway, Ryan Church, and others into the lineup, is Frank the right person to do lead those men, and develop them into the first great Washington Nationals team?

Frank is indicating that he prefers to work with a veteran team. That's fine. Different managers have different skill sets. Frank is, essentially, admitting publicly that this team isn't the right fit for him as a manager.

His contract is up at the end of the season. He should feel free to find a team that fits his philosophy then.

Frank's other statement indicates what he does so poorly off-the-field. He's not especially good about dealing with today's players. He's too eager to run them down in the press.

After Frank yanked John Halama from a start, in which he had given up just one run in 2/3 of an inning, Halama seemed confused. Halama explained that he couldn't figure out why he was removed so early. Frank fired back yesterday.
“I’m not going to sit there and have him go ball one and ball two, ball three, ball four. I don’t care if it was two outs,” said Robinson. “He was one hit away from disaster. And what an excuse, [when Halama said], ‘I’m nibbling to see where the umpire’s strike zone is. And [the umpire] is checking me out to see what my strike zone is going to be.’ I never heard such [stuff].

“What am I supposed to do? Let him stand out there and give up the runs and let it go? No. I don’t manage like that.”

Frank once again demonstrates that he has the soft touch when it comes to dealing with players, especially pitchers.

Think about what he's doing here. He's mocking one of his players to the press. I don't care if Halama is the worst person to wear the Nationals uniform since CJ Nitkowski, he deserves a modicum of respect.

Frank demands respect, yet he infrequently gives it to his players -- especially his pitchers.

[as an aside, isn't it interesting that Frank abhors walks from his pitchers, yet he doesn't put any pressure on his batters to draw them, letting them hack away?]

A good manager keeps things in house, and doesn't mouth off to the press with every little slight.

Why would anyone want to play for someone who's going to badmouth them if they fail? Does that create an atmosphere conducive to winning?


It's pretty clear that I don't think that Frank's the right manager. Rather than name names, what kinds of qualities do you think our next manager should have? I think we've seen some of Frank's worst traits. What are the good ones he has?


  • We, relucantly, have come to the same conclusion: Frank Robinson shouldn't be managing this team. His refusal to play Zimmerman is irrational and counterproductive, and his failure to replace Guzman is downright criminal.

    By Blogger Erik, at 9/14/2005 9:52 AM  

  • I couldn't have (and didn't) said it better

    By Blogger Brian, at 9/14/2005 10:08 AM  

  • I'm pretty sure it's you. I pretty consistently post between 8:30-10. You've got 11 months of archives to verify that. Let me know what you find.

    What I am to Frank, you are to my writing.

    What I choose to write about is whatever seems most newsworthy to me. Frank mouthed off to the press last night. That seems pretty important to me, especially in what it says about what Frank's role on the team is.

    If I'm being so damn unfair to him, let me know where I'm wrong. I'm open to criticism if it's constructive.

    My rant against Frank was constructive. I don't think I was unfair with what I said.

    Show me where I'm wrong. I could be. I'm open to that possibility, but your 'argument' thusfar is unconvincing.

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 9/14/2005 11:09 AM  

  • Chris and WeatherMike,

    I think you guys essentially agree. WeatherMike, if you want to enjoy meaningless wins against hapless teams like the Mets in September, then Chris explains why Frank is definitely the manager for you.

    By Blogger DM, at 9/14/2005 1:35 PM  

  • I haven't been doing regular game recaps since I came back from vacation. Unless something strikes my fancy, that is. Seeing how there've been mostly losses since July, I can see how you'd be left with the mistaken impression.

    No, it's not a meaningless win per se. All wins have value. But with the way the team is playing, and with the hurdles facing us (Namely the few gams remaining and the number of competitors), the playoffs are a pipe dream.


    I don't presume the unkown is always better. But you're never going to know until you try, right?

    We know what Vinny is giving us, and that it's not really helping the team. So, even if Zimmerman flames out, what are we losing?

    I don't think I've called Frank an idiot in this post. Why you're railing on this one, which is one of the more fair posts I've written, I don't understand, but hey.

    Agree to disagree and all that jazz...

    By Blogger Chris Needham, at 9/14/2005 8:37 PM  

  • I'm posting this with Basil as well. It's the same thing I said in my blog. Frank can kick the ass of a lousy team to above .500 - San Francisco 1982, Baltimore 1989, Washington 2005. But he's never made the playoffs and I don't think he's going to start with the Nats.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/15/2005 8:21 AM  

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