Tuesday, September 07, 2004

The Funny Papers

As baseball's losers play out the string, the off-season rumors are already beginning to gather steam. Yesterday's New York Daily News reports that once Larry Bowa cleans out his desk at Citizens Bank Park, he could be headed to Shea Stadium, not to manage the Mets but to serve as Art Howe's bench coach. Seems the comatose Howe is perceived as needing, you guessed it, a fiery sidekick. Adam Rubin's story is filled with howler after howler -- an admiring reference to Bowa's "baseball knowledge and blue-collar attitude"; gushing over his "energy and devotion to winning"; and the capper:

In the clubhouse, Bowa also would be a visible presence, his intensity complementing Howe's laid-back style. While Bowa's style hasn't agreed with every veteran in Philadelphia, his baseball knowledge commands respect around the game.

They do get ESPN in New York, right? Is no one in Flushing paying attention to the massive self-destruction in South Philadelphia over the past two years? That didn't happen by accident.

Then again, if you listen to Bob Ford, it's not all -- or even mostly -- Bowa's fault. The Inky columnist is one of the city's best, but his piece Monday was off the mark. Ford faults Phillies management for its subpar trading-deadline efforts and players for their abject underachievement, and he's drop-dead correct on both counts, yet somehow Bowa gets a free pass. I agree with Ford that Ed Wade bears much blame for putting together a roster filled with delicate egos way too easily bruised -- who on this team has any stones, really? -- but Bowa surely must be on the hook for taking a talented team and producing a total less than the sum of its parts.


At September 9, 2004 at 9:34 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I was so floored by the Howe/Bowa rumor that I expected the Philly papers to immediately refute it. Last I heard the Mets were going to drop Howe for a cheap newcomer.

Art Howe got his job with the Mets because of his success in Oakland. But in Oakland Billy Beane ran everything, from the lineup to when to bunt (never!). Art Howe was the perfect Norville Barnes to Beane's Sidney J. Mussburger. But he's no Waring Hudsucker.


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