WaPo columnist Thomas Boswell has a story in today’s paper about how the Nationals have decided there is no room in their organization for former manager Frank Robinson.
The common wisdom when the Nationals declined to renew Robinson’s contract was that they would offer him a front office consulting job. Something, anything, to keep him in the organization that he had been so loyal to. After all, it was Robinson who consented to manage the lame duck Expos, even when the team had no fans, no future and no hope.
But instead, the Nationals seem to have decided to move as far away from Robinson as possible, as quickly as possible.
And Robinson is pissed:
“I’m done with them,” Robinson told The Post on Wednesday. “I have nothing against the organization per se. It’s two people that I’m concerned with: Jim and Stan.”
Jim and Stan are, of course, Nationals GM Jim “I only had one beer” Bowden and Stan Kasten, the team’s new president. Kasten says he debated whether or not to offer Robinson a role with the team.
”I was really torn,” Kasten said yesterday. “That’s why the decision took so long.”
The decision was to offer Robinson nothing. Nothing, but a plane ticket to spring training so that he could serve as a special assistant to the guy who is replacing him. Ouch.
But Boswell says he knows Robinson and that the baseball legend isn’t always easy to work with.
Last spring, I listened as Robinson went into a 10-minute fuming monologue about how the Nationals had insulted him — by not giving him the right cellphone plan. Others in the front office had a different plan. What did it mean? Was he out of the loop? Was it a hint he wasn’t wanted? Why, it was an injustice. To him, anyway.
“That’s a glimpse. He’s not a guy who endears himself,” a team source said. “He has a long history of a short shelf life.”
Maybe the Nationals decided that rebuilding the franchise would be easier without Robinson around. And maybe they’re right. But he still deserved better. He’s Frank Robinson, after all.