Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Well, Maybe I'll Yell at an Umpire for a Change. . . .

We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how Larry Bowa's first-inning ejection is deconstructed, but from my seat in the 300 level, it didn't look smart. The AP story filed tonight has Bowa going to the wall for his ace, saying, "Millwood doesn't ever complain. Ever. They were all strikes. I'm going to stick up for him. He's our No. 1 pitcher."

Geez, what to make of that? After the previous week's mess, much of which focused on how many times per game various Phillies mentally tell Bowa to conduct an anatomical impossibility upon his person, here comes Larry, the Players' Manager.

Yeah, okay, but the one thing that umpires absolutely will not tolerate is questioning of balls and strikes. By going off in the first inning on Alfonso Marquez in a game against a divisional foe and wild-card rival, Bowa furthers the public perception that he's an out-of-control problem child who doesn't work or play well with others. And what good does the early thumb do for his team? Umps don't look kindly on being called out as Marquez was, and if there were any make-up called proffered to even things out, I didn't see them. If Bowa did it to fire them up, he's just plain stupid; if last week's verbal thrashing in Montreal failed to accomplish that, getting booted in the first sure won't.

I'm not saying the guy shouldn't offer his full support to a pitcher the team is desperately hoping to re-sign in the off-season. But aren't managers supposed to be able to work umps in more subtle and beneficial ways than showing them up between the mound and home plate?

An aside: Since the Canadian discussions -- manager with players, players with each other -- the Phillies are 5-1. And there is ample opportunity to pad that figure, as the hopeless Mets come to town for a four-game series that begins tomorrow; I'll be there for my final regular-season game at the Vet.


Post a Comment

<< Home