Balls, Sticks, & Stuff
The Pathology of Phailure
On Sunday, by defeating the Brewers 10-0, the Phillies swept the Brewers for the second weekend in a row, six games in all. It took most of the season, but the Phillies have finally found a team they can treat the same way the Dave Matthews Band treats river tour boats. Which is coincidental because that is the same way the Marlins and Braves have treated the Phillies all year.

Despite having a less than 5% chance of making the playoffs, the Phillies recent hot streak has players very upbeat. Almost too much. During Sunday's rout of the Brewers, Marlon Byrd flipped his bat and showboated after hitting a grand slam, only his thirteenth career homerun. News that there will probably be more players coming off of the disabled list than going onto it could also be a source of inspiration for the players. While Randy Wolf's season is most likely over due to injury, the Phillies got very encouraging news on the rehabilitations of Pat Burrell (originally thought to be out for the year), Kevin Millwood, Ryan Madson, and Billy Wagner. Additional help could also come in the form of Gavin Floyd, one of the organization's Untouchables, who will get a chance in September to help the team finish the season.

But perhaps the piece of news that has the Phillies players seeing the glass half-full the most is the latest developments in the never-ending storyline regarding the cognitive behavioral experiment that is Larry Bowa. On Sunday, Randy Miller of the Bucks County Courier-Times/Burlington County Times/The Intelligencer/Calkins Media/ reported that Larry Bowa will be fired in the offseason. Citing "team sources", Miller states that after several interviews with veteran players regarding Bowa and the coaching staff, Ed Wade has reached the conclusion that the time is almost now to fire the manager in the offseason as well as pitching coach Joe Kerrigan, hitting coach Greg Gross, and bench coach John Vukovich.

The anonymous team sources also confided in Miller that Larry Bowa was not Ed Wade's first choice as manager and that not only has Wade had to discipline Bowa, but so have the players:
According to one veteran, players became so frustrated at his behavior this season that a few occasionally put a stop to it by shouting at Bowa to quiet down during games. Others say Bowa finally became a changed man in July, which is around the time sources say he was ordered by Wade to control his emotions at all times.
The article does not state when such exchanges in the dugout occurred, but once they did, Bowa should not have lasted a second longer. When the head of any team loses control of his clubhouse, he needs to be fired, end of story. If the manager has lost control of the clubhouse he has lost the respect of the players, and if he has lost their respect it is impossible to inspire good play from them.

After being swept by the Marlins in July, Bowa stated he was embarrassed and that the players should be embarrassed as well. The argument could be made he was correct, but at this point everyone should be embarrassed, from the owners down to management down to the players and even the trainers, bat boys. Bowa may have a large hand in this year's failures, but well-run organizations do not have the history this team has amassed. The 2004 season is only a symptom of a chronic syndrome of mismanagement resulting in one failure after another.

Embarrassing indeed.

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