Robinson unsure if Nats are planning ceremony

Updated: September 29, 2006, 11:06 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Nationals manager Frank Robinson isn't sure whether the club is preparing a ceremony in his honor for the season's closing weekend.

"I had not thought about it," Robinson said before Friday's 4-3 loss to the New York Mets. "If it happens, it's great. If it doesn't happen, I wouldn't have any real feelings about it."

There was a bit of an impromptu celebration of the 71-year-old Hall of Famer during Friday's game, when some fans near the Nationals' dugout held up handwritten signs in support of Robinson, including one that read: "Keep Frank." He spoke with some spectators.

"They were very nice. They were just saying how wonderful I was and they wished me well," Robinson said.

He met separately with team president Stan Kasten and general manager Jim Bowden on Thursday, and while Robinson wouldn't divulge exactly what was said, the tears in his eyes and his choice of words seemed to indicate he knows he won't be managing the Nationals next season.

Robinson is a Hall of Famer who ranks sixth in baseball history with 586 homers and was the first black manager in the major leagues. He also became the face of the Nationals when they moved to Washington from Montreal before the 2005 season.

"Everything he's done deserves to be cherished and respected … [with] a tribute at the appropriate time," Kasten said during an appearance at the National Press Club on Friday. "You can count on the Nationals to do the right thing."

Neither he nor Bowden has commented on Robinson's future, though.

Asked about it Friday, Kasten avoided a direct answer.

"It's that time of year when, as seasons end, you know there are hard decisions that have to be made, evaluations that have to be made. Those will be made in due course. I don't have anything to say about it today," Kasten said. "But our season's ending soon, and then it'll be time to make decisions like that and make announcements about things like that."

Robinson was asked what kind of interaction or message he might have for fans if there is a ceremony this weekend.

"Just like I do most things, from the heart, ad-lib what comes into my head," he said. "I don't prepare anything. I know sometimes that makes me sound like I'm a little off and going off in different directions. But I just try to say what's in my heart. I want to say what comes out. It works best for me in that respect, rather than trying to prepare something."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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