The Washington Nationals announced today that Frank Robinson will NOT be back as manager next year.
This is a travesty.
I know some of the arguments: Frank's too old, he has a career losing record as a manager, and he's too gruff for a lot of suits. But in the last five years (three in Montreal two in DC) Frank was the only person holding this thing together, and its miracle these teams were even competative. Think about it. When he was hired by Montreal, they were owned by all the other owners who ganged up to ensure there was at least one team none of them had to worry about. And then any time a franchise moves, its disruptive, never mind that there was still no ownership, the general manager worked with the half the normal budget of an MLB team, and the talent they had groomed had all been traded away.
The Nationals are a very young team, and have a good load of talent (Zimmerman, Logan, Church, etc) and these young guys need some of the old school Frank brings. He's tough, and he believed in his players. For instance, last Tuesday I was at the Nats-Phillies game. 26 games out, and Philadelphia fighting for a wild card spot, it was the Nationals who were playing hard. Frank had them stealing bases, bunting to lead off the game, and tough aggressive baseball. They were playing harder than they did when I was at the game in June. Then the bottom of the 9th. It was 4-2, Nats. Cordero surrenders a run, and then Utley hits a double, bringing up Ryan Howard (he of 58 hmers, 148 RBIs, and the likely MVP). I leaned over to my brother, and I said "you've got to walk him, let Conine beat you." Frank comes and leaves. Cordero pitches to Howard, gets him to pop out, and the Nats win. It was gutsy, how they use to do it. He showed belief in his closer.
Its little things like that that I think Robinson deserves at least one year with this club at full budget, full in free-agency, and at full capacity. Its just not fair. Frank has done all the heavy lifting, working with nothing but inherent disadvantages that other organizations don't have, and he still got the most out of his team every year in effort. With the Nats looking to be active in FA, and hopefully bringing back Soriano, and playing in the volatile NL East, who knows what could happen.
Frank deserves better than this. I hope the Lerners and Kasten know what they are doing.