WASHINGTON (AP) -- Frank Robinson doffed his cap and tapped his
hand to his heart, basking in a standing ovation after the final
out of his next-to-last game as the Washington Nationals' manager.
So what if the Nationals lost 13-0 to the New York Mets on
Saturday night? The home fans are going to give their Hall of Famer
a generous send-off, just as he wanted.
"You do try to take some of it in, store it and enjoy," said
Robinson, who'll also manage the season finale Sunday even though
his departure is certain. "It is an enjoyable moment overall. The
reaction of the fans. People's reaction, period. It's nice to know
that you're appreciated."
The Nationals' most-lopsided defeat this season began a few
hours after Robinson told his players and coaching staff that he's
done as their manager.
Then there was the news conference for the official announcement
that Robinson won't be back in 2007. And shortly after that, the
New York Mets said Pedro Martinez will miss the start of next
season after shoulder surgery. And then the clubs went out at night
and played a game of far less significance than those two news
That game does still count in the books, though, and Julio
Franco made the most of it, tying a career high with five RBI to
help Tom Glavine earn his 290th career win in the NL East champion
Mets' victory over the last-place Nationals.
Robinson's wife and daughter sat behind the Nationals' dugout
during the game. When he was shown on the center-field video board
during the seventh inning, fans cheered and some chanted "Frank!
Frank! Frank!" He gave a thumbs-up and a wave. There was a similar
exchange in the bottom of the ninth, when dozens of fans stood and
yelled his name.
"Being in the game so long, and doing what he's done -- getting
out of it is hard," Nationals rookie Ryan Zimmerman said.
But while some Nationals players spoke about hoping to send
Robinson out on a winning note, the Mets -- with no apparent
motivation, given that home-field advantage in the playoffs is
sealed -- dominated.
The 48-year-old Franco fell a triple shy of hitting for the
cycle: He hit a three-run homer in the first inning, a two-run
double in the third and a single in the fourth. It was the seventh
time he's driven in five runs in a game, but first since Aug. 6,
The cycle was on his mind in his last two at-bats.
"Of course you think about it. You think that happens every
day? If I hit a ball in the gap, I was going to run until they
tagged me or I made it to third," Franco said.
He wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup -- he played first
base after Carlos Delgado was a late scratch with what the team
called general soreness.
Glavine (15-7) looked quite good in his six shutout innings. He
allowed only three hits, all singles, and didn't walk a batter. His
three strikeouts raised his total to 2,481, passing Jack Morris for
30th on the career list.
"Everything was good. I felt good. I felt comfortable,"
Beltran Perez (2-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on six hits
and three walks over three innings.
Manager Willie Randolph pulled Glavine after 71 pitches with the
postseason approaching. The lefty will start Game 2 in the first
round, following Orlando Hernandez in Game 1.
The rest of the rotation is unsettled, in part because Martinez
is sidelined. He already was ruled out of the postseason with a leg
injury, and on Saturday came word that he won't throw from a mound
until June after an operation on his right rotator cuff.
"You don't want to see the guy have any more issues than he
already has," Glavine said. "Hopefully it's the kind of thing he
can take care of and pitch next year and continue on with his
For Robinson, a 51-year baseball career probably is over.
"He's a legend. I look at Frank Robinson as a living legend,
really. I don't look at the fact that he was the first black
manager; he was an unbelievable player, an outstanding player,"
Randolph said. "It's important people know what kind of legacy
he's been a part of."
Mets RHP Steve Trachsel was scratched from Sunday's start;
LHP Oliver Perez replaces him. ... The Nationals will honor
Robinson on Sunday with tributes beginning before the first pitch
and continuing throughout the afternoon.