—Alfred Tennyson, Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur
Larry Bowa was fired today as the Phils' manager in one of the closing chapters to this failed season and failed administration. Rumors had circulated that Bowa's dismissal was already a foregone conclusion. When the questions became too much for Bowa to take, he pressed GM Ed Wade, who let the axe fall two days shy of a full season. Bench coach Gary Varsho managed the Phils to a 4-3 loss today and will finish out the season tomorrow.
Now, we will have to see how deep the cuts continue to go. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan is also said to be gone. The earlier leaked reports had hitting coach Greg Gross and third base coach John Vukovich headed for the door. After Ed Wade completes those tasks, he might be hitting the bricks himself, if logic or the sentiments of the majority of Phillies fans have anything to do with it. Once the dust settles, the field is wide open. It seemed that Mike Schmidt was being groomed to replace Bowa when he was named to manage the Phils' Clearwater (A) affiliate, but that plan fell through when Schmidt quit at the end of the season saying, in essence, that being a manager was cutting into his career of being Mike Schmidt.
And then there's a small matter as to who will be on next year's squad besides a select few—those who either make megabucks (Thome, Abreu, Burrell, and Bell) and either are too valuable or make too much money to be traded, and those scant few talented young players who are underpaid appropriately (Floyd and Madson).
Whatever they do this offseason, don't worry, this moribund franchise won't fail to miss the playoffs next year. Consider that if the Phils win the final game of the season, they will end the year with the same record they had in Bowa's first year as their manager, the year that he won Manager of the Year. The more thing change, the more they stay the same.