Adios, Frank Robinson
"Inside sources" report that the Washington Nationals owners will not offer a renewed contract to manager Frank Robinson. It's not a big surprise, as many of us have raised questions about his judgment at various points. I only hope that this situation is handled in as dignified and respectful way as possible, as Robinson deserves no less. [UPDATE: Stan Kasten and general manager Jim Bowden each met with Frank Robinson this afternoon, erasing any doubt the owners' intentions. See MLB.com.] Coincidentally, I came across a photo of Frank at Ebbets Field when he played for the Reds; see digitalballparks.com. (Thanks to Bruce Orser for the tip.)
That was quite an amazing back-and-forth game between the Nationals and the Phillies last night. The Nats were ahead for most of the game but fell one run behind in the eighth inning, then they tied it with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the ninth, but could not close the deal. The Phillies got a run in the tenth, and the Nats did likewise to keep the game going. Three scoreless innings ensued, and then the Phillies got two runs. Once again, the Nats rallied, but only managed to get one run, thus losing, 8-7. So, the Phillies' playoff hopes are still alive. Ryan Zimmerman hit his 20th home run, while Alfonso Soriano went hitless for the third straight game.
UPDATE: Tonight's Nationals-Phillies game just got underway at 11:30 after a five-hour rain delay. They ought to give a medal to any fans who actually stayed to watch it. I'm going to try to see one of the games against the Mets this weekend... The Twins, Astros, and Dodgers have been closing in fast on the Tigers, Cardinals, and Padres, creating some very bizarre tiebreaker scenarios. There could be as many as three playoff games on Monday, possibly throwing the entire postseason schedule into turmoil. Down to the wire!
The mail bag
In a ceremony at Fenway Park, the Boston Red Sox dedicated a plaque to Johnny Pesky at the right-field pole named after him, on the occasion of his 87th birthday. See MLB.com. Also, the Cleveland Indians are going to build a new "Heritage Park" behind the center field picnic area at Jacobs Field, and you can buy your own paving bricks with your name inscribed. See MLB.com. Prices start at $150... (Hat tips to Mike Zurawski.)
Frederick Nachman has been corresponding with me on the fate of Comiskey Park, and tells me that an old sign prohibiting the resale of tickets is still attached to an old tree nearby. I have a hunch that the parking ramp across the street from U.S. Cellular Field was built around the steel framework of the original Comiskey Park grandstand, inasmuch as the shape and position of the structure are virtually identical to the old structure. Frederick insists that is not the case, however, and he has been there to take pictures, so he should know. Would any other Chicagoans care to opine on the matter?
The new "stadium impressions" feature is starting to catch on. Ronald Theriot has some good things to say about the Metrodome, Mark London recalls a rock concert at Metropolitan Stadium, and James Sutton fondly recalls the passing of Busch Stadium II. If you'd like to share your recollections, just register and click on the "impressions" link at the bottom of the stadium page in question.