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The Interminably Slow Hook
2004-08-04 23:18
by Mike Carminati

There is widespread speculation that Larry Bowa's job is in danger if the Phils don't fair well in the remainder of their road trip. They are 2-6 so far on the trip and have two games in San Diego and three in LA.

Bowa's response to this was in his typical idiom, idiocy:

"I couldn't care less about the talk," he said. "I couldn't care less about it. We're the only team in the history of baseball where you lose four or five games and the manager gets fired. I couldn't care less about it. I just go out and do the best I can."

If he really thinks this all boils down to potentially losing four or five games, then he's even dumber than I that, and that's saying quite a bit.

He goes on in the same vein:

"It's out of my hands. I make out a lineup, I prepare them, tell them what to try to do. If the players do it, you're a genius. If they don't do it, you're gone. That's the way it is. That's the way it's always been.

"It's a little more magnified in Philadelphia, but that's the way it is. That's part of the action."

No wonder Bowa has been such an atrocious manager: he thinks that all his job entails is making out a lineup card. Oh, and then there's preparing them, like he did against the Marlins, the team against which the Phils have a 1-11 record this year and to whom they have lost 14 straight road games. I guess he never realized that throwing dozens of good innings at Roberto Horrendous or gaslighting Marlon Byrd in and out, up and down the lineup and then replacing Byrd superannuated Doug Glanville would have a negative affect on the team's record.

And he thinks things are more magnified in Philadelphia?!? He should try managing in New York, Boston, or Chicago. The stultified masses in Philadelphia still actually think that he was a decent player and that Bill Wagner and Kevin Millwood were bigger acquisitions than Bobby Abreu. How the city did not revolt en masse when he was not fired after being ineptly swept in Miami last Thursday.

Bowa blames the Phils injury bug. Sure, they have been without Vicente Padilla's services for over two months, Bill Wagner is yo-yoing on and off the DL, and a number of veterans have had stints on the DL. But that's no excuse. Look at the Yankees: their All-Star first baseman has been much less than healthy all season and they lost their top two pitchers to injury. Every team has injuries though, in Bowa's defense, most teams do acquire major-league caliber players to replace those injured (not Paul Abbott).

He also blames the Phils pitching which is 13th (lucky, eh?) in ERA in the NL. Of course, that does not take into account the fact that Phils' new ballpark is a hitter's park, but consider that they are 14th in road ERA. Also, consider that even after a shaky April (10-11), the Phils had the best ERA in the league. They have been sucking overtime.

OK, it's a given that the staff has been bad, but how can Bowa just admit that and wash his hands of it. He certainly was given more starting pitching than Tony LaRussa had in St. Louis to start the year and look what's he's done.

As a quietude settles on the dyspeptic former shortstop, he can find some solace in the fact that not only did he do a horrific job this year, the entire organization let down their fans. He may be proving that the organization is even worse than its horrible manager when his newfound insouciance ("He chilled at the pool. Got a massage. Had a nice dinner."ónot quite Veni, Vidi, Vinci, is it?) isnít taken for the incompetent indifference that it really is.

Now, does this rumor incentivize the players to lose or win? Last year, after a particularly unpleasant Bowa tantrum, the players had their own meeting in which vet Dan Plesac advised the team to win in spite of Bowa and the coaching staff. What would Plesac do today if he knew that a couple of losses would have ensured Bowa's dismissal. I'm sure that none of the players would try to lose on purpose but by the same token, they may not have gone out on a limb to rally the troops. And if Pat Burrell hits a home run on this trip and does not shake Bowa's hand, will he blame Tyler Houston again?

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