Tuesday, September 20, 2005

One More Frank Story

Lest I be accused of kicking the ol' guy while his team is down, this column from the Times Dispatch says that the writer was wrong about Frank being a bad choice to manage the team.

His basic thesis: "While history may record that the '05 Nationals started fast and then died on their manager, I'll contend they would not have lived without him."

Fair enough.

Strangely, though, it reads as more of an indictment of Frank. To wit,

The Robinson I encountered there was the Robinson I was warned I'd meet - a cranky old Hall of Famer who seemed convinced nothing had changed for the better in baseball since 1968....

Writers who'd dealt with Robinson in his past managerial gigs advised me to expect adversarial relations, a tense clubhouse and numerous F. Robby "meltdowns" disguised as press conferences....

It's not difficult to take issue with Robinson's managing. He'll almost always prefer a veteran - particularly a veteran who's helped Frank Robinson win a few games - over a younger player. He likes "tough guy" types and can view more sensitive players as whiners. Those who wind up in his doghouse tend to become ex-Nats in fairly short order.

"I haven't run a single player off this roster," Robinson insisted during the Nats' last homestand. He then patiently explained that he excised pitcher Tomo Ohka because Ohka "had an idea on how he should be used that was different from my idea. A team can only have one manager."

But that's different from running a guy off . . . somehow. Maybe Ohka ran himself off.

But, as they say, read the whole thing.


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