Nationals manager Frank Robinson has put an end to that loud racket coming out of the Victrolas and 8-track players in the DC clubhouse. The Washington Times’ Thom Loverro can barely disguise his glee.
No music in the Nationals clubhouse has turned out to be music to the ears of this team. Since manager Frank Robinson pulled the plug on “American Bandstand,” his team won two out of three in one of the most important series it has played this year, finishing off Philadelphia 6-1 at RFK Stadium yesterday and cutting the Phillies’ lead in the wild-card race to two games.
There was a good deal of grousing over the crackdown by Robinson, which was a gamble he had to take. Going into the final month of the season, with so many games ahead that meant so much, he realized everything the Nationals had accomplished was slipping away. The manager felt he needed to do something to jar his team.
So after Thursday’s 8-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves, Robinson declared something like, “This isn’t Studio 54. It’s a baseball clubhouse. No more entourages. No more MTV.”
Sept. 1, 2005 — the day the music died.
(contraband seized yesterday from Vinny Castilla’s locker)
It appears to have worked. But had the Nationals lost to the Phillies on Saturday night — they blew a 4-1 lead in the ninth inning but won 5-4 on a Preston Wilson RBI single in the 12th — Robinson might as well have then hired a deejay. At least the music would have drowned out the ugliness and tension that likely would have engulfed the clubhouse.
“That was a big, big turn for us by getting that win,” said catcher Brian Schneider, who had a big turn at the plate for the Nationals yesterday with a three-run home run in the second inning.
Now, it is not as if the Nationals were all sitting in front of their lockers before yesterday’s game, basking in silence, reading over scouting reports and getting their minds right for the task at hand. There was music. It’s just that nobody else could hear it.
Remember the saying about the old Boston Red Sox? Twenty-five guys, 25 cabs? The Nationals are 25 guys, 25 IPods.
But the music edict seems to have served its purpose — a slap in the face to make the team realize what is important at this stage of the season. And it is not which CD is spinning in the player.
It’s pretty awesome that in the year 2005, Frank Robinson is compelled to tell his players, “this isn’t Studio 54.”