Baseball Hall of Fame member and original manager of Washington Nationals. Led 2005 team to 81-81 record, relieved of duties after 71-91 record in 2006. Held a grudge with franchise for several years, seems to be over it though.
I think I might hold a grudge against Walter O’Malley and Horace Stoneham for creating West Coast baseball — I have not been watching the Nats as their games are starting after 10 p.m. since they are at the Anaheim Angels. No, I won’t call them by their “proper” name because it is really redundant, about is geographically indefensible for a baseball team. One of the things I always appreciated about baseball was if a team had a city name in it, they actually resided in that city. Football, hockey and basketball aren’t great about that, but baseball was until the Angels decided to tack on the name of a city 30+ miles away. Also, in the past I was critical of the team renaming itself to Anaheim back in the 1990s, but it has a larger (and growing) population than Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.
Since I haven’t watched the games, I got my fix remembering the last time the Nats were in Anaheim, courtesy of rocket1124 at Capital City Goofballs:
It won’t happen because there is already precedent — Ted Williams.
Williams, one of the greatest hitters of all time with the Boston Red Sox, was the last manager of the Washington Senators. In fact, he is the only man to lead a D.C. baseball team to a winning season (86-76 in 1969) in the last 50+ years. That was not enough to get him in the ring of honor, though I’ll point out it makes him more worthy than a couple of former Expos. Robinson, who managed here for 2 seasons, broke even in 2005 and had a losing record in 2006.
There seems to be a consensus that a Frank Robinson Day is in order and the bitter split seems to be a distant memory. Chances are that is because Jim Bowden is not part of the franchise. Perhaps the Hall of Stars can be restarted and moved down from the parking garage to a place that makes more sense. Put Robinson in then, along with several other worthy people. Or combine the ring of honor with the Hall of Stars which was the Ring of Stars at RFK Stadium prior to 2005.
Now, isn’t that better than reading about the latest loss to the freaking Florida Marlins? I can’t stand that team, they have the Nats number, overachieve regularly, play in an empty football stadium, had teal uniforms and somehow won two World Series.
The timing of this post becomes kind of interesting in light of Manny Acta’s firing yesterday. Hey, I didn’t choose when Wise would write the column.
MIKE WISE – Robinson Deserved Better – The Post I certainly don’t disagree that the Nationals handled the dismissal of Frank Robinson very poorly. They should have been up front with him and not strung him along. Any manager deserves that but especially one of the greatest living players. However, I’ve got mixed feelings about a Frank Robinson Day at Nationals Park sometime. He certainly had some highs as manager — the pine tar feud with the Angels and getting the umpires to overturn a home run by the Braves Bryan Jordan on Memorial Day 2005 come to mind. Robinson had some lowlights too — a specific example was yanking John Halama in the middle of an at bat in the first inning of a late season game. I walked out after that, the first time I ever left a sporting event early in disgust.
When it comes down to it, I don’t know that Robinson deserves a day all to himself — his Washington tenure ended with him 10 games under .500. If he does “deserve” his own day, does Manny Acta too? Robinson did not have a lot to work with and get a lot out of it in the first half of 2005, but that was really about it. Perhaps a compromise is in order — have him out for Opening Day 2010, a celebration of the Nationals fifth anniversary, something along those lines. If they want to bring other original Nats around, I’m cool with that too. Granted some of those original Nats are still playing, but guys like Brad Wilkerson and John Patterson are not and I wouldn’t mind seeing them show up.
As much as I enjoyed finally seeing a hometown team at RFK Stadium, I don’t have much sentimentality about it. More than anything I am happy it was still standing so that MLB could finally come to its senses and put a team in the nation’s capital. There were a lot of highlights though.
I think the ultimate highlight was my bachelor party in June 2005. The timing was great, the Nats were never better than that time and it appeared everything was coming together after so long.
The first time the Cubs played here in 2005 was a Friday night game that Fritz and I attended proved to be memorable, despite the loss. Early in the game, after moving seats, we saw an eight-year old kid catch a fly ball backhanded in section 503 or so. Pretty impressive. We also met the Bridges which led to a long stint with Metroblogging DC. The game almost ended in perfect fashion, with Jose Guillen coming within ten feet of a walkoff grand slam with two outs in the ninth. That would have been pandamonium.
Ryan Zimmerman homering on July 4, 2006 to win the game in the ninth. It was actually a sloppy game, but all is well that ends well. We proceeded to get poured on walking back between Pentagon City Metro and our apartment.
Grand Reopening in July 2006. We went Friday night and saw the Nats play inspired baseball as they took out the Cubs. We had the first live Presidents Race too.
By my calculations, I went to 32 nationals games at RFK. I will have to see about compiling their record while I was there. I also went to four exhibition games (two Nats, two in the 1990s) and one rained out exhibition between the Mets and Yankees when Frank Howard’s number was “retired” (thanks for taking us out of school Dad!) I also went to the 1996 HFStival and one D.C. United match.
I don’t know if I will ever return since I am not a huge soccer fan. Either way, I hope RFK is a good home for United until they can get a new pitch in the District. Following that, I would like to see this suggestion followed: If the Dan Snyder builds a football stadium there, I may finally adopt the Redskins.
THOMAS BOSWELL – A Bad Break – The Post Boswell is dissapointed that the Nats and Frank Robinson could not find a way to continue working together. He sees the Nats point, but sides with Robinson. USA Today columnist Hal Bodley says Baseball needs Frank Robinson.
Deal should clear the way for stadium art – The Wash. Examiner From Monday: The murals, paintings, photography and sculpture that will be a part of the Nats ballpark will be funded by D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and not come out of the $611 million allotted to construction.
Nats Will Not Offer Robinson a Paid Job – The Post Both D.C. dailies have caught up to The Free Lance-Star on the Nationals decision to not offer original manager Frank Robinson a meaningful position with the team. Robinson is not happy they waited so long to tell him. He has been invited to spring training, but Robinson does not want to “be a token or a ceremonial-type guy.” Frank Robinson Day is still expected to go on May 20 in a game vs. Baltimore.
The Nats also signed four Dominican teenagers, including three pitchers.
Nats: No role for Robinson – The Free Lance-Star The Nationals have not offered Frank Robinson a “meaningful job” within the front office, so his career with the organization is over. There are still plans for a Frank Robinson Day though, probably May 20 vs. Balmer.
Nationals’ charity sues developer for pledged aid – The Wash. Times A former bidder for the Nationals, developer Franklin Haney, is being sued by the Washington Nationals Foundation for not coming through on a $400,000 pledge. Mental note to self — don’t make any pledges to the Nats charity. Have you seen the new ballpark logo yet?
Like every other Nats blogger, I feel obligated to do a season wrap-up. Unlike every other Nats blogger, I waited two weeks to do it.
It is not hard to crash a major press conference. The Lerner announcement was the second I had been too in as many years.
Alfonso Soriano was better than I expected and much more entertaining. He had a great individual season and will fleece somebody, possibly Peter Angelo$, in the offseason. He will be like a new car, diminishing returns as soon as the contract is signed. Of course, if the free agent compensation picks are taken away, Soriano’s season will do nothing to help the Nats in long-term. If you look at the standings, it did nothing in the short term.
Brad Wilkerson is not as good as I thought. I hope he found a new bank though.
Ramon Ortiz is terrified of comebackers and going into the ninth with a no-hitter.
Ryan Zimmerman is better than advertised.
The briskets, while tasty, are not quite as good as Stan Kasten said they were.
Tom Paciorek’s Ray Romano impression horrifies most people.
Blogging about a team on the way to a 71-91 season takes its toll on even the most prolific blogger.
The Natmosphere is not as “pasty” as I had been led to believe.
Fans loved Frank Robinson a lot more than I expected.
There is a general manager who is so dumb that Jim Bowden could sneak one past him.
Bowden gets beat-up by his girlfriend and might have a drinking problem.
Jose Guillen is less bright than I thought — he refused a good contract offer in spring training even though he was hurt. Now, he’ll have to fight for a roster spot with someone in the spring for the league minimum.
Fred Malek likes grilled puppy
Austin Kearns shops at Harris Teeter in Pentagon City.
The much-vaunted soft-serve (still unavailable in a batting helmet) was actually ice-milk at the begining of the season. Did it switch to real ice cream?
Biking to RFK was much easier than I expected, though I am still a little skeptical of leaving it in the parking lot.
Marc Fisher was right when he said Marion Barry would jump on the bandwagon eventually.
Things I already knew
The ballpark would remain controversal.
The Nats would stink
Robinson was dead man walking
Bowden is a “preening schmo”
Everything I ever said about Peter Angelo$ is true