Sunday, October 26, 2003

Look in the Mirror, Larry

On the same day the Marlins downed New York to capture the World Series, the Daily News led its sports section with Marcus Hayes's pre-Game 6 notes column from Yankee Stadium. The reason is that Hayes at some point Friday reached Phillies manager Larry Bowa, whose wistful "That could be us" and "We were that close" musings are meant to give the impression that had the Phillies secured the National League wild card, they, like Florida, might have flared to life and run the table in the post-season.

Though Jim Thome did his damndest to haul the Phils to the playoffs throughout September, the team's hitting continued its frustrating, season-long clinic on inconsistency and failure to hit in the clutch. And in the biggest game of the season, ace Kevin Millwood looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but facing the Marlins in the swampland of South Florida. Nevertheless Bowa gives them all a pass and instead chooses to blame the Phillies' September swoon on the injury to setup man Terry Adams and the late-season hopelessness of Jose Mesa.

More to the point, Bowa completely fails to grasp the significance of Jack McKeon to Florida's post-season rampage. The Marlins, young, inexperienced, and with no one caring even in their own city, attached themselves to McKeon and played like demons for him. The Phillies, veteran, tested, and with Philadelphia booming with baseball excitement for the first time in 10 years, underachieved all year while being managed by a guy who has no real clue how to motivate men.


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