Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Still Not Getting It

The conventional view regarding the search for a new Phillies manager is that the wheel will stop when the arrow points to “Kinder/Gentler”. People still don’t get it. Bowa wasn’t fired because he was the anti-Francona. Baseball, as insiders love to remind us, is a game of adjustments. Bowa lost his job because he couldn’t adjust. He was never able to forgive today’s players for not being yesterday’s players. Even more to the point, he couldn’t forgive his players for not being just like him.

I stumbled on to a segment of what must have been a rebroadcast from earlier in the day of Comcast’s Daily News Live during which Phillies President David Montgomery somewhat testily answered questions about Bowa and GM Ed Wade. The interlocutors were Marcus Hayes and Sam Donnellon of the Daily News and host Michael Barkann. None of them seemed comfortable asking questions (or at least in phrasing them intelligently) and Montgomery clearly resisted pinning any responsibility on his GM. Barkann, well-intentioned if not always well-prepared, frequently had his facts or dates wrong. Hayes and Donnellon were so deferential one might suspect they were more concerned with preserving future access than in getting useful answers. To listen to Montgomery repeat over and over again how difficult the job of a GM is, especially around the July 31 trading deadline, rang hollow. He had a ready excuse…I mean answer…for every suggestion that Wade has been overmatched, unprepared, outfoxed or simply inept when it came to improving the Phillies at several trade deadlines during his tenure. The entire segment underscored my conviction that the Phillies still don’t have a President or GM capable of building a winner in Philadelphia.

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