Washington Nationals Manager Frank Robinson and his counterpart with the Anaheim Angels, Mike Scioscia, were each suspended for one game and issued a fine Friday by Major League Baseball officials for "aggressive and inappropriate actions" in the Nationals' victory over the Angels on Tuesday night in Anaheim, Calif., that resulted in a benches-clearing altercation.
Robinson, who said his fine was $1,000, vehemently disagreed with the decision. He was granted a hearing with John McHale, MLB's executive vice president for administration, by teleconference at noon Monday, and will be allowed to manage in the weekend series against the Texas Rangers here. Should his appeal fail, he would serve the suspension Monday night at Pittsburgh, and bench coach Eddie Rodriguez would manage the club.
"John will make the ruling," said Bob Watson, baseball's vice president for on-field operations, late Friday night. "He'll rule on his timetable. I would imagine it would be a day or two, but it might be right on the spot."
Scioscia served his suspension Friday night in the Angels' game against the Florida Marlins. Angels pitcher Brendan Donnelly -- whose use of pine tar on his glove precipitated the incident -- was suspended for 10 games, but is appealing the suspension and was available to pitch against Florida.
Robinson, who has been very clear that he feels the incident was Scioscia's fault, voiced his displeasure with the ruling before Friday's game.
"Number one, I didn't instigate the situation," Robinson said. "I didn't bring it up. I didn't start it. All I was doing was replying to what he had said to me. And it was all words."
Watson would not comment on Robinson's argument, other than to say, "Believe me, I've heard his side of it."
The confrontation occurred in the top of the seventh inning in a game the Angels led 3-1. Scioscia called Donnelly in to relieve, but before the right-hander could throw a pitch, Robinson asked the umpires to examine Donnelly's glove. They discovered pine tar -- a sticky substance which can improve the grip on a ball and possibly alter its flight -- and Donnelly was immediately ejected.
After Scioscia called for a new pitcher, he walked directly from the mound to Robinson, who was standing on the first base line, and said he would have every Nationals pitcher "undressed" by the umpires, in search of foreign substances. Robinson considered that "a threat," and charged back at Scioscia, leading to players streaming from the dugouts and bullpens.
"I think this is too severe," Robinson said. "The fine and a suspension is too severe. Nothing else happened even though the players came out onto the field. Nothing happened."
Donnelly said he had "no anger," but said he is appealing to get the penalty reduced.
"Similar circumstances with other players have resulted in lesser lengths in penalties," Donnelly told reporters in Anaheim. "I'm not using it to cheat."
Scioscia took his suspension in stride, and joked that "things will probably run smoother" against the Marlins.
Robinson said he believed that Nationals right fielder Jose Guillen -- who became incensed during the melee, had to be dragged from the field and later ripped Scioscia, his former manager, saying he is "like a piece of garbage" -- would be fined $500. Guillen, who was out of the lineup Friday because he was sick, said he hadn't been informed of such a decision.
Guillen later hit a two-run homer that sparked the Nationals' 6-3 victory that night.
"If I get fined, I get fined," he said. "I got to move on. All that drama out there, it's over. You got to move on and play baseball and keep winning some games. We been playing great, and we don't want to cause any distractions."
Most Nationals players were surprised by the decision.
"What did Frank do wrong?" catcher Brian Schneider said.
Robinson said he believed that baseball officials are hesitant to fine one party in an altercation and not the other. "So they just nail both sides," he said, "which, to me, is not fair."
He also said he thought the combination of a fine and a suspension was "going overboard."
"Under the circumstances, a $1,000 fine is pretty significant," Robinson said. "I think that would be enough. A thousand dollars on top of a game suspension? I just think that's a little much."