Saturday, August 30, 2003

Thar She Blows!

A couple of nights ago, in the middle of the night, the missus misread the numbers on the clock radio and, thinking it was wake-up time, retrieved the youngest member of the Shallow Center household when she began to fuss. By the time the missus discovered her error, I was too awake to fall back asleep swiftly. Tired, cranky, and certainly not at my best, I picked a petty fight at 1 in the morning and eventually woke up feeling so bad about my boorish behavior, I apologized for it.

All of this is to explain that I understand why Larry Bowa finally unleashed his fury on the Phillies, who after Thursday's blanking by the Expos were 1-9 on their awful road trip and had fallen into something like a six-way tie for the National League wild-card spot. When things aren't going well, it's easy to, ah, externalize your frustrations.

Bowa peeled the paint off the Olympic Stadium visitors' clubhouse walls with a profane outburst directed at his underachieving team. Shortly thereafter, young, headstrong, and talented starter Brett Myers got into it with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, who reportedly has irritated his staff by suggesting the Phillies' recent struggles are due in part to a failure to follow his plan. The pitchers said in anonymously sourced stories that they resent being micromanaged and criticized in the media.

Both Rich Hofmann and Phil Sheridan predicted Thursday's detonation would be the season's turning point. Writing in Friday's Daily News and Inquirer, respectively, each suggested that the team either will take Bowa's diatribe to heart or will finally turn on him and mail it in for the rest of the year. Everybody's story -- beat writers, columnists, wire-service guys -- noted that the explosion came only hours after Bowa had awarded himself a gold star for not having blown up before then.

The long-term effect remains to be seen, of course, but last night, after limping into New York, the Phillies pasted the Mets, 7-0, behind Kevin Millwood's three-hit effort. Pat Burrell, who morphs into Ted Williams when he walks into Shea Stadium, powered a two-run homer, and -- this being the completely hapless Mets -- there was no danger of a comeback similar to the one staged by the Expos earlier this week.

Today's game stories also point out that a couple of unnamed veterans conducted a players-only meeting on the bus to the Montreal airport. On the record, Jim Thome and Millwood called the meeting very helpful. One wonders whether the Phils decided to give Bowa a team-wide F-you and prove him wrong by turning it on for the season's final four weeks. Hey, whatever works.


Post a Comment

<< Home