Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Frank Robinson returns to Fenway Park--Dan Shaughnessy

Sweating, ever-stoic, now 70 years old, Frank Robinson took a tour around Fenway Park at 2 o’clock Monday afternoon.

He first came here in 1961 as a member of the National League All-Star team, and in 1966 — his Triple Crown/MVP season with the Orioles — he hit the first of his 49 homers on Opening Day at Fenway. Now manager of the Washington Nationals, and something of an American baseball monument, Robinson said he couldn’t remember the last time he was here.

Watching games on television in recent years, he noticed some of Fenway’s changes and had heard about all the money the new owners poured into the park, so he walked around to see for himself five hours before his team played the Red Sox Monday night.

"What’d they spend all the money on?" he said sarcastically as he clacked down the damp, dank tunnel that connects the visitors’ clubhouse with the dugout. It’s a creaky runway with standing water and chipped paint — something you’d see in a tenement building on "NYPD Blue." "I guess they spent all that money on the home team clubhouse. This looks the same as it looked 40 years ago."

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