-- With the crowd of reporters waiting for Frank Robinson's rage, the Nationals' manager made his point with his door and mouth closed. As reporters whisked into the Washington clubhouse eager to speak to Robinson about his ejection in the sixth inning, a Nationals spokesman said the manager wanted everyone to take a peek at a computer screen just outside the coach's office.
On that computer screen, Victor Diaz was shown clearly swinging at the first pitch he saw from Nationals reliever Jon Rauch in the sixth inning. First base umpire Bill Miller, on an appeal from home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, had ruled that Diaz had not swung. Robinson yelled at Nelson from the dugout and was immediately ejected, the third time this season, before coming onto the field.
"You should have been able to make the call yourself," Robinson said he told Nelson. "How could you miss that?"
"To me that isn't arguing balls and strikes, is it?" Robinson said.
Immediately Robinson came out of the dugout and began to argue with Nelson. Shortly after, second base umpire and crew chief Joe Brinkman approached the two as did Nationals bench coach Eddie Rodriguez. Robinson argued with both umpires while Rodriguez stood as a buffer.
"I was just trying to get Frank out of there," Rodriguez said. "He was pretty upset. As upset as I've ever seen him."
Much of Robinson's initial anger was directed at Nelson.
"Jeff Nelson and I have never quite gotten along as long as he's been in the league," Robinson said. "I just know there has been tension."
The argument seemed to end after almost five minutes and Robinson and Rodriguez headed to the dugout while Brinkman walked up the third base line. At that point, Brinkman and Robinson again exchanged words. Robinson headed for Brinkman and the two had a heated conversation along the third base line. Rodriguez again tried to hold back Robinson, who kept lunging forward toward Brinkman.
Robinson said Brinkman cursed at him after the manager asked him if he had agreed with Nelson's call.
"That's right," Robinson said Brinkman replied. "Get your [expletive] ass off the field."
"He said it about six or seven times," Robinson said. "Brinkman is the one who deserves a suspension."
Brinkman simply said that Robinson was ejected for arguing balls and strikes. He also said that Robinson never struck him.
"It was a little prolonged argument, that's all," Brinkman said.
Meanwhile, in the Nationals dugout, several players appeared to be hit with something from the crowd. Several players turned back toward the crowd, but it did not appear any fan was ejected.
"It seems like Frank does that a few times over the course of the year, so I don't know if it helps or not," said Mets starter Tom Glavine, who watched from the opposing dugout. "But as a player, you always want to know your manager is fighting for you. And nobody's going to accuse Frank of not fighting for his team."
While he spoke with reporters, a crisp $100 bill lay on Robinson's desk. The manager said it was for the fine he was likely to receive for the incident.
"I wish that would be it," Robinson said. "That's not even going to pay the taxes on it."