Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Too many puns involving "Frank"


One of the local playa-haters (well, maybe managa-evaluators) linked today to a rather humorous example, assuming it's true, of Frank Robinson just being Frank Robinson.

For a far more conventional take, Bob Lipper of the Richmond Times-Dispatch bears ample fruit this morning. In a way, the long feature article on Frobby is sort of refreshing; the local sports scene is usually just a "Frank Beamer or Al Groh: Who would you do?" discussion. On the other hand, Lipper's take is straight out of this week's national talking points:

---> wise;
---> hardened;
---> old-school attitude and tactics;
---> guiding presence;
---> just the right amount of non-nonsense nudging; and,
---> a reminder of "how baseball used to be played."

I'm not saying any or all of that is necessarily untrue, or whether the characterizations, if true, are good or bad. The Nats have been a national story this week (last night's FUBAR notwithstanding), and for that I'm glad and excited.
I'll tell you what is sort of untrue, though---one of Lipper's compare-and-contrast-vignettes sessions:



In the early '80s, as the Giants' manager, Robinson went to the mound one day to replace Jim Barr, his starter. Barr disdainfully flipped the ball to Robinson while stalking toward the dugout - whereupon Robinson grabbed Barr and yanked him back to the mound to await the relief pitcher.
By contrast, when Nationals pitcher Tomo Ohka turned his back and withheld the ball as Robinson reached the mound June 4, the Nationals merely issued a press release the following day saying Ohka had been fined. He since has been traded.

As most Nats' fans and followers are aware, Robinson didn't merely go to the mound one day, as Lipper incorporates by reference from the Barr incident; instead, Robinson lifted Ohka during the middle of an at-bat. Furthermore, the team didn't merely issue a press release the following day; instead, Robinson discussed (denigrated, if you're uncharitable) Ohka at length with the media the following day.

Anyway, that's another topic. I'm just grateful the T-D is devoting some attention to the Nats. It's not a necessity, as it would have been even a decade ago, but it feels good. When you're really grooving down I-95, as I was Sunday evening, the distance between Washington and Richmond doesn't seem even as great as 90-100 miles. I know the trip well: you get past the Mixing Bowl, and you're on your way but little else; you get to the Woodbridge exit, and you start to feel a bit distant from DC; you get to Potomac Mills and you realize you're not as distant as you thought; then you get to the first "marker," Garrisonville (Exit 143), and you really start to feel you're on the road; and the next thing you know (hopefully---subject to traffic), you're hitting Fredericksburg, then Ladysmith moments later, and then you stare into a blank void of road and when you snap out of it . . . you're approaching Kings Dominion, which is still 20 miles away from my goodbye from 95 but definitely the Richmond metro. And there you go.

But it's really farther than that; it's almost a world away. I'm just gratified that some people in the local media realize that a number of people here care about the Nats.

____________
Speaking of baseball and Richmond, check out the T-D's article on the brawl between the R-Braves and the Syracuse Chiefs* that occurred last night at The Diamond. It began when Esix Snead was walked, turned mid-trot to first, sprinted to the pitcher's mound with his helmet-in-hand, and whomped Syracuse pitcher David Bush, while Bush's back was turned. I've been to a lot of Richmond games this season, but I had to miss this one?

Actually, the whole thing started during Sunday's game, when Syracuse reliever Matt Whiteside---Richmond's closer last season, by the way---did his best Bob Brenly, Guardian of the Game's Customs impression and took issue with Snead's bunt attempt late in the game:


Snead, who stands to be fined and suspended for his role, had no comment afterward. But the genesis apparently can be traced to Sunday, when Whiteside, Syracuse's closer, yelled at the speedy Snead for attempting to bunt in the ninth inning of Syracuse's 10-6 victory. After the game, as the SkyChiefs were shaking hands with each other, Snead near stood Richmond's dugout gesturing toward Whiteside.
Whiteside played for Richmond and R-Braves manager Pat Kelly last year. He saved 38 games and was a major part of the Braves' South
Division pennant. Whiteside said he told Snead "in not so nice terms" he should swing the bat and not bunt in the ninth inning of a four-run game.

Whiteside apparently called Snead and apologized later; Snead accepted the apology. Whatever.

Anyway, the article features a choice back-and-forth between Whiteside and Braves' manager Pat Kelly (no, not the former Yankee second baseman):


"And then they hit [Syracuse leadoff hitter Gabe] Gross to start the game. I'm sure that was ordered by Pat to stir things up. That shows me what kind of class Pat has. We pretty much saved PK's job last year. He's lucky to have one this year."
Said Kelly: "I think Matt Whiteside did a great job for us last year. That shows what kind of class act he is."

I heard the "highlights" were on ESPN earlier, including a shot of Bush's bloody face and this little two-man striptease:


In one section of the brawl, Syracuse pitcher Adrian Burnside pulled James Jurries' jersey over his head and then off -- and then tossed it into the stands. One of the Braves was able to retrieve it from a fan. Burnside and Jurries were ejected.

Just a little family fun at The Diamond.


* I think "SkyChiefs," or whatever they are, is a stupid name.


Comments:
"you get to Potomac Mills and you realize you're not as distant as you thought"

I have to disagree on this point. I made my first trip to Potomac Mills the other weeekend and it felt pretty distant from BeltwayLand. Your Woodbridge point is on the mark though.
 
I guess my perspective is going (generally speaking) from:

* population center, to
* nothing, to
* population center (albeit, a smaller one).

For a moment, it seems like I'm descending into "nothing," then Potomac Mills creeps up. Fools me every time, even if I know the exits by heart.
 
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