Tuesday, July 20, 2004

It's a Crying Blame

In addition to the pain of being passed in the standings by the Braves, the Phillies now are experiencing the added hurt of increasingly greater numbers of pointed fingers being stabbed into their sides. With each successive day of underachievement -- or perceived underachievement -- the blame game intensifies. The shame of allowing Atlanta, whose very public off-season cost-cutting essentially told the National League that it would mail this year in, to leapfrog over them and into first place last night exposes the Phils to the added shame of being dumped on by the Inquirer's Stephen A. Smith today.

In typical fashion, Smith buries his precious few nuggets of readable insight underneath mountains of excruciating and tangled prose. Just when you think you've found something to agree with -- that both Larry Bowa and Ed Wade must share blame for this disappointment of a season -- he snaps his head around, like a toddler who suddenly realizes Sesame Street is on, and locks onto "the name that mattered most ... that of team president David Montgomery ... the man both Bowa and Wade ultimately answer to, with the power to get rid of both of them."

Meanwhile, the blogosphere checks in with its own finger-pointing. Mike at a Citizen's Blog fears a third-place finish, while Phillies Fan's Bill Liming, who seems to have been at last night's game at Turner, supplements my thoughts on the Phils' sleepwalking with an interesting observation of the varying degrees of liveliness in the opposing dugouts as the game progressed. You can probably guess whose dugout was raucous and whose was solemn.

Elsewhere, commenting on Smith's mess of a column, Baseball Musings' David Pinto defends Wade as "a weak general manager ... doing the best he can to survive and win" and as having "put a good team on the field," but I think we need to reserve judgment on that until we see the end result. He's certainly on the hook for Bowa, who should be managing in A-ball somewhere, and if he fails to bolster a team in dire need of another starter and a major league centerfielder, he should be on the hook for that, too. Yes, the Phils' burgeoning payroll was a welcome change this year, but countless teams have shown that there's an enormous difference between spending money and spending money wisely. Should the Phillies flounder their way to another season of October-less baseball, Wade should be called on for spending money foolishly.


At July 21, 2004 at 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that pointing a finger at Ed Wade for the players he has accumulated is a bit off. The only player with a salary that is drastically mismatched with his performance is Millwood. Most teams have several players like that. I really think almost all of the blame has to go to Bowa (shocking stance isn't it?). Very late in last night's (the come from behind extra innings nail biter) he was trying to reposition some infielders and his facial expression and body language said "You guys don't have a clue and you disgust me." Now, it may be true that they don't have a clue, but is that really the impression he should be conveying to the players? In my opinion, no. Its embarrassing and belittling. If your boss embarrassed and belittled you and retarded your confidence everyday, would you enjoy going to work? Would you have fun at your job? Bowa's demeanor is really starting to remind me of Tom Smykowski in "Office Space" ("I have people skills! I am good at dealing with people! Can't you understand that?!?! What the hell is wrong with you people?!?!")

Tom G.

At July 21, 2004 at 10:50 AM, Blogger Chris said...

Tom G.-- Congratulations on a phenomenal Office Space reference. It's one of the best I've ever read.

At July 21, 2004 at 11:06 AM, Blogger Tom said...

What Chris said. That was a brilliant reference.

At July 21, 2004 at 11:44 AM, Blogger Matt said...

There it is.

At July 21, 2004 at 4:51 PM, Blogger gr said...

bowa is definately a "jump to comclusions" manager.


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