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Coach vs. QB, manager vs. player

Nov 1, 2010, 3:05 PM EDT

File photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Nyjer Morgan and Jim Riggleman butted heads before this season's bench-clearing brawl.

So Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb aren't exactly seeing eye-to-eye right now, huh? Rex Grossman gave the Redskins a better chance of winning in the final two minutes yesterday against one of the lowliest franchises in the NFL than the quarterback with six Pro Bowl appearances and a 96-53-1 career record as a starter?

Weren't these kind of controversies in Redskins Land supposed to disappear now that accomplished, sane people were in charge of the organization? Guess not.

Quarterback controversies, of course, are nothing new. Certainly not in this town, where the last QB who had actual job security might have been Sammy Baugh.

Coach vs. player controversies also are nothing new in the sports world. They happen every year in every town in every sport. They've even happened plenty of times in NatsTown over the last six years.

If you've forgotten these classic Nationals manager/player butting of heads, here's a refresher course…

FRANK ROBINSON VS. JOHN HALAMA (2005)
You can be forgiven if you have no memory of this one. Honestly, how many of you even remember that John Halama pitched for the Nationals? But the journeyman left-hander did, and he actually started three games, including one on September 7 against the Marlins at RFKRead more »

  1. Tcostant - Nov 1, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    One thing I'd like to point out about the Soriano incident. I recall that the real catalyst for getting Soriano into LF was his agent telling him that being place on the disqualified list put his free agency at risk, at season’s end. Any time on the disqualified list does not count as service time towards free agency.

  2. Doc - Nov 1, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Lots to comment on here, Mark. F. Robinson is on record as hating pitchers—probably for good reason.Rex Grossman has, at least for most of his career, been under-rated. Although some of the criticisms are probably valid. In his last full starting career as Bears' QB, Grossman's receivers let him down more than anything.Neither Orton, nor Cutler have demonstrated any greater degree of winning success in Chicago, i.e., like Grossman's putting the team in a Super Bowl.

  3. Danny - Nov 1, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    How about 2005 when Tomo Okho (sp?) turned his back on Frank Robinson when the latter came in to pull him from the game.

  4. NatsJack in Florida - Nov 1, 2010 at 4:02 PM

    Thanks Danny…. That was one I was going to mention. I seem to remember that he was gone in less than 48 hours after that.

  5. JaneB - Nov 1, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    Wasn't there some sort of dust up between Ryan Church and Frank, too? Church was hurt and Frank didn't believe him….something like that?I guess boss/player disagreements happen in every walk of life. It's just in sports that it gets written about, and sometimes witnessed by tens of thousands of pairs of eyes. Fun topic though.

  6. natsfan1a - Nov 1, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Interesting post idea. Like NatsJack, I was going to mention Frank and Tomo Ohka (not sitting in a tree, not k-i-s-s-i-n-g), but I see that Danny beat us to it.My (possibly hazy) memory of the Dukes/Acta incident was that Dukes slapped him on the butt or some such upon returning to the dugout, whereupon Manny lost his balance (physically and emotionally). Later, Dukes didn't high-five Acta in the postgame celebration.There was also the memorable occasion when Frank yanked LeCroy, but I don't believe there was any personal conflict there. LeCroy had simply been put in a situation that wasn't, um, optimal for his throwing skills.

  7. Anonymous - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    "He just basically did a Cardinal sin," Morgan said. "You don't blast your player out in the paper."Would that be a St. Louis Cardinal sin, an Arizona Cardinal sin, a Stanford Cardinal sin or a Roman Catholic Cardinal sin, Mark? Or was it perhaps just a lower case cardinal sin, as in car·di·nal   /ˈkɑrdnl/[kahr-dn-l] –adjective 1. of prime importance; chief; principal: of cardinal significance.?

  8. Feel Wood - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    What about the epic 2010 season-long battle of starters John Lannan, Livan Hernandez and Scott Olsen vs Quick Hook Jim Riggleman? Olsen and Lannan both made it eminently clear either verbally or non-verbally that they were unhappy with Riggleman's quick hooks and implied lack of confidence in their ability to work out of a jam. I think there were also several times when Livo felt he should have been left in longer, but in keeping with his personality he did not make such a big deal out of it.

  9. A DC Wonk - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    There was also the memorable occasion when Frank yanked LeCroy, but I don't believe there was any personal conflict there. LeCroy had simply been put in a situation that wasn't, um, optimal for his throwing skills. Indeed. If I recall correctly, Frank R was choked up and literally had tears in his eyes when describing, afterward, his having to remove LeCroy. He said he hated to embarrass him like that. But LeCroy had already given up seven stolen bases, and the Astros had just put the tying run on base.As far as Tomo Ohka goes — yes, Tomo got traded within a few days if I recall. How many remember that Tomo's first game with his new club he threw a complete game shutout!

  10. N. Cognito - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Anonymous said… "He just basically did a Cardinal sin," Morgan said. "You don't blast your player out in the paper.""Would that be a St. Louis Cardinal sin, an Arizona Cardinal sin, a Stanford Cardinal sin or a Roman Catholic Cardinal sin, Mark? Or was it perhaps just a lower case cardinal sin, as in car·di·nal   /ˈkɑrdnl/[kahr-dn-l] –adjective 1. of prime importance; chief; principal: of cardinal significance.?"Cardinal Puff.Once a Cardinal always a Cardinal.On another note: Are you a turtle?

  11. raymitten - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:45 PM

    The Ohka one was the big one that Mark didn't list, but wasn't there a big dust up between Brad Wilkerson and Jose Guillen with Robinson taking Guillen's side? I think it started with Guillen taking Wilkerson's number 6 against his wishes and it lasted all season long. Not sure how much of it made the papers at the time and I think a lot of it has remained untold, but there was some mentioning of it in Barry Svulga's excellent book. (Mark, you should do one!)

  12. Mythical Monkey - Nov 1, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    I was at that Marlins game in 2005. John Halama wasn't the only one who was stunned. Frank proceeded to burn through the entire bullpen and the Nats lost 12-1. And then dropped three of their next four games.Wasn't there also a game that year when Robinson came out of the dugout in the middle of a pitcher's at bat and proceeded to coach him on how to lay down a bunt?God bless him, he was a great player, but is there anybody Frank Robinson didn't hate?

  13. N. Cognito - Nov 1, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    Frank Robinson – one of the greatest players ever yet one of the worst managers.

  14. greg - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    oh yeah, okha was the one that came to mind for me first, too. that was about as passive-aggressive of a dis i think you'll ever see.

  15. CoverageisLacking - Nov 1, 2010 at 9:59 PM

    Regarding the Dukes-Acta incident, I was always suprised that the tenacious Nats media contingent wasn't able to get to the bottom of that one and let us know what happened…

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