By Sam Bush
That’s what Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg must be thinking after having read MLB.com’s report that Bowa is behind him, literally and figuratively!
Bowa is in his fourth tour through the organization as a player, third-base coach, manager and now bench coach under his buddy, Sandberg (left in above photo).
The Phillies, at 25-47, have the worst record in baseball. Right now, Bowa doesn’t know whether Sandberg will be back next year to serve out the final season on a three-year contract or whether even Bowa will be asked to return. This is the back end of his own two-year deal.
Bowa has been dismissed twice in his career as a manager in San Diego and Philly, and the one thing he does know is that too much heat for this lost season is being placed on Sandberg and general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
“Yeah, I do, and that’s just my opinion,” Bowa told MLB.com during an interview in the Phillies’ dugout at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night before they played the Yankees.
“You just don’t become stupid after winning a World Series and winning division titles. Sandberg knows how to play the game, and he knows the strategy of it. If you don’t have the horses, it doesn’t matter how good a manager you are.”
The Phillies place an over-the-top premium on loyalty to those who have made a commitment to the organization. Amaro was named general manager in 2008 just after the Phillies defeated Tampa Bay to win the second World Series in club history. Before that, Amaro had spent a decade as an assistant to Pat Gillick and Ed Wade.
Sandberg replaced Charlie Manuel as manager on Aug. 16, 2013. The Hall of Fame second baseman was a 20th-round draft pick of the Phillies in 1978, played 13 games for them in 1981, and was traded with Bowa to the Cubs prior to the ’82 season.
With Bowa at shortstop and Sandberg at second base, the Cubs won a division title in 1984, the year Sandberg was elected National League MVP. Bowa and Sandberg have been tied at the hip ever since.
History. Loyalty. This is the main thing everyone needs to understand about the Phillies. They’re all trying to weather a very difficult storm, particularly Sandberg.
“Ryno’s doing good. He’s been patient as heck. I told him the other day, ‘I don’t know how you do it,'” Bowa said. “He’s never complained about the hand he’s been dealt. He just keeps moving along. We do all the extra work at home. We take infield every day, bunting, PFP [pitchers’ fielding practice]. Nobody does that.
“He’s just trying to get these young guys to improve. He’s never once said, ‘This is bad!’ He just goes about his business, and he’s getting a lot of heat for it.
“This team is bad, at least as far as wins and losses are concerned,” he said. “It doesn’t take a genius when you look at the pitching we run out there. You don’t win if you don’t have pitching. It’s as simple as that. It’s going to take a while.”