NEW YORK, JUNE 1 -- American League President Bobby Brown today upheld the three-game suspension he gave Baltimore Orioles Manager Frank Robinson in connection with Robinson's ejection from Monday's game against the Minnesota Twins.
Robinson, who had an appeal hearing with Brown here Thursday, began serving the suspension tonight when the Orioles opened a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
He named first-base coach Johnny Oates interim manager.
"I spoke my piece and that was it," Robinson said. "I accept the penalty. I'll do my three days and come back Monday."
Last Monday he was ejected by home plate umpire Drew Coble. Robinson claimed Twins Manager Tom Kelly should have been charged with a trip to the mound when, after making a pitching change, Kelly started toward the baseline, turned, took a couple of steps back toward the mound and said something to catcher Junior Ortiz. Ortiz then went to the mound as Kelly crossed the line and returned to the dugout.
When Coble ejected Robinson, the two argued heatedly, exchanging bumps. After the game Robinson said Coble was a "liar," a "no-good human being" and "prejudiced" against him.
After reviewing the umpiring crew's report and videotape, Brown penalized Robinson on Wednesday for "physical contact with an umpire, use of abusive language, delay of the game and inappropriate postgame remarks to the press."
Robinson, who had been suspended as a player for the Cincinnati Reds and in 1975 as manager of the Cleveland Indians, had to leave the premises tonight at game time. In previous years, suspended managers could watch from the press box. But some tried to manage covertly by telephone, so the league has become more strict.
Robinson said he would return to the team hotel, watch the game on TV "and flip back and forth" with the Chicago Bulls-Detroit Pistons NBA playoff game "between innings."
He also joked that, if the Orioles win all three games he misses, "I will not be back. This will be a test of how much they don't want me around."
The players didn't seem too concerned. Recalling that the team went 4-11 in games Robinson missed in 1988 because of back problems, infielder Rene Gonzales said: "We said, 'Let's win one for Robby,' and we couldn't do it."
On a more serious note, Robinson said he would like the league's disciplinary system to change.
"I don't want to say I didn't have a fair hearing," he said, "but I think a better way to do it would be for the individual to hear the charges, be allowed to have his say and then have a decision made."
He said the current system "is completely the opposite of our judicial system. You're innocent until proven guilty. Here, you're found guilty and then you have to prove yourself innocent. It's impossible."
But he said the sentiment for a change "has to come from more than me. It has to come from players and management."
Orioles General Manager Roland Hemond said "the process has been going on for quite some time, and we're not in a position to make new rules. We have to live according to the present rules."
With Oates making his managerial debut for the Orioles (he managed two games for the Chicago Cubs in September 1987 when Frank Lucchesi was suspended), hitting coach Tom McCraw became the first-base coach. Everything else remained about the same.
"It's just for three days, and we'll do the best we can in the situation," Oates said. "Obviously, it's not going to be the exact same as it would be with Frank, but we'll try to make it as close as possible."