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Larry Bowa: FIRED!

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The Phillies excuse ex-manager Larry Bowa two games before the end of the regular season. While the season has been disappointing for the Philly faithful, who expected nothing less than being NL East champions, the success of the team over the past month makes the move unexpected. While many fans had been calling for Bowa’s head during a season where injuries marred many in the starting lineup and rotation, the radio pre-game show featured many callers who were calling in, complaining about the move.

Gary Varsho, bench coach, will replace Bowa for the final two games of the season. During the offseason Ed Wade, General Manager, will look into who will best replace Bowa.

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  • ClubhouseCancer

    The Bowa tenure was a nightmare. For the first time in more than 20 years they spent money on the team in order to actually compete, only to be countered at every turn by their crappy, childish, divisive manager.

    Pity management chose Bowa over Rolen a couple of years ago. Abreu, Thome and Rolen would be the best middle of the order in the whole game.

    Good riddance, Larry.

    The Mets are apparently hip to capitalize on the last legendary Mets team, and are said to be considering Keith Hernandez, Lenny Dykstra, Wally Backman, or somebody from the 86 team to manage. They should study the Bowa situation closely for clues to the dangers of this sort of thing. Bowa remained popular with some segments of the fan base, and management thought it would have been unpopular to fire him two years ago or last year, hurting what could have been a good team. I think they’ll be better next year, especially if they pick the right pitchers to keep (Wolf, Padilla, Lidle, Meyers, Floyd is my best guess, and not bad.)

    And they must find a center fielder.

    Good riddance, Larry.

  • Eric Olsen

    it’s funny how teams alternate between “no nonsense disciplinarians” and “player’s managers/coaches.” In baseball, tactics only have a direct impact on maybe 10% of the games, so the most important thing a manager does is create an atmosphere, and every group of players is different, so a great manager has to know what atmosphere to create and vary his approach accordingly.

  • ClubhouseCancer

    Yes, and I say Bobby Cox and Joe Torre are the best at this skill, and also Dusty Baker, except that Baker’s buffoonery in terms of lineups and strategy makes him a pretty crappy manager anyway. It counts for more than 10 percent if you have real decisions to make about playing time and inning distribution for your pitchers, and you make them as consistently badly as Dusty.

    But Cox’s and Torre’s records speak for themselves.

  • ClubhouseCancer

    By the way, I think Davey Johnson is the best available “players’ ” manager, and the Phils should snap him up. Or Willie Randolph, who deserves a chance. Or I guess Charlie Manuel. Does anyone but me think Tim McCarver would be a good choice?

  • Eric Olsen

    McCarver knows it all and would be strangled with a jockstrap accordingly

  • The Theory

    the radio announcers for the Phillies games said, and I agree with them, that getting Charlie Manuel would be a good choice. He managed Cleveland during their good years, and already has familiarity with Thome.

    The downside to him would be his experience was American League. The NL is an entire different ballpark.

    CC’s starting lineup guess is fairly simular to mine. I’d prefer them start Milton over Floyd, and keep Floyd in the minors another year. Floyd is good… but I don’t think the majors would be the best step for him yet.

  • Robert

    Phillies could have handled Bowa Mess more professionally


    Knight Ridder Newspapers

    PHILADELPHIA – (KRT) – If there is any doubt the Phillies will badly handle the hiring of their new manager, you only have to look at the messy, unprofessional way they fired their old one during the weekend.

    Say what you will about Larry Bowa, no one deserved to be treated as off-handedly and thoughtlessly as he was. Count up the seasons he played, coached third base and managed, and Bowa was in a Phillies uniform for all or part of 25 seasons.

    What did that buy him in the end?

    Not much.

    In the end, after all those years of service to the franchise, it meant no one in a position of authority in the organization had the courage to tell Bowa the truth. It meant Bowa had to pick up the telephone on Saturday and call general manager Ed Wade to ask whether he was about to be fired.

    Bowa is a big boy. He’s been around baseball long enough to know that he would be the fall guy for the mismatched collection of whining underachievers that Wade assembled. He was willing to ride out the final games and then drift away while the team announced his termination.

    But the Phillies, who seem incapable of simple execution at all levels, couldn’t quite pull off that bloodless transition. Every local Saturday newspaper carried a story that confirmed Bowa’s imminent dismissal, with strong attribution to team sources. (And don’t blame The Media. This is what we do. People tell us something. We check it out and then put it in the paper. It’s an information distribution service.)

    The way this long-anticipated story finally broke merely indicates that Wade couldn’t control his own people. The decision had been made – fine, no real surprise – but that doesn’t mean the front-office elves were free to gleefully trot around and spread the news behind the manager’s back. That’s not how smart, professional organizations operate. It is how the Phillies operate, however, and it is a big clue as to why the team never wins anything.

    How out of touch is the front office? How unable to properly read a situation? Wade told Bowa he was fired, then asked him to stick around and manage the final two games. A tape of Bowa’s response to that one would be a keeper.

    The team hired Bowa for a number of reasons. Chief among them was that he would be a demanding presence where Terry Francona had been viewed as a soft touch. He also was a link to the glory days of the franchise, that narrow window of time more than 20 years ago. Bowa was something the front office could sell while it figured out how to put a winning team on the field.

    The solution wasn’t that difficult: Spend money. But leaping the chasm between building a team with a winning record and a team capable of true contention requires more than just money. It requires the smart application of that money. There’s that word again.

    The Phillies avoided the yearly battle of arbitration with Pat Burrell and locked him into a huge, long-term contract. They overpaid to keep Mike Lieberthal and aren’t that far from doing the same with pitchers Eric Milton, Brett Myers and Vicente Padilla. They convinced themselves that Marlon Byrd was a can’t-miss centerfielder. All of these are decisions the team will be able to repent in the leisure of future Octobers when there is never anything on the schedule.

    During the hastily convened news conference Saturday night – called to explain why Gary Varsho would be managing the game about to begin – Wade emphasized that Bowa had been the right hire four seasons ago. This, no doubt, was meant to remind everyone that the organization still has never made a mistake.

    As long as the front office refuses to take responsibility for this mess, it will never clean it up.

    The problem is consistent, though. The organization can’t determine who will be a good manager in four years for the same reason it can’t determine who will be a good baseball player in four years. That’s why Phillies fans will be watching Burrell strike out while the best player in the National League is at third base for the Cardinals. (Yes, I know. The Scott Rolen situation wasn’t that easily solved. If the organization had handled him properly from the start, however, the eventual split could have been avoided.)

    So now we wait for the next bright idea to be installed. Wade said the team wouldn’t hurry into making a choice, that getting the right guy is more important than getting a guy right now. It always sounds so good when he says that sort of thing.

    A brain-trust meeting in Clearwater will be arranged for the next few weeks to sort out the options. There was a similar meeting in the Florida bunker before the trade deadline this season, and you know how effective that was. Whatever mental image you conjure about Wade at the head of the table in these meetings, it’s never exactly Roosevelt at Yalta.

    Maybe the team will get lucky this time and stumble onto something good. It isn’t much to hope for, but “lucky” is the only option after you’ve ruled out “smart” and “professional.”

    © 2004, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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    Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.