New Phillies manager has some advice for A-Rod

  • LARRY LARUE / The News Tribune
  • Wednesday, November 8, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By LARRY LARUE

The News Tribune

AMELIA ISLAND, Fla. – The last time Larry Bowa managed in the major leagues, Ronald Reagan was president, Ken Griffey Jr. was in high school and Bowa was a 42-year-old who rarely hid his emotions.

There were a lot of years between the time he was fired in San Diego in 1988 and his accepting the managerial job in Philadelphia last week – and too many times his name never came up.

“I’d be lying if I said it never crossed my mind I wouldn’t get the chance to manage again,” said Bowa, who spent last season as the third base coach of the Seattle Mariners. “It’s a strange occupation, there aren’t that many jobs available. What bothered me most wasn’t that I didn’t get a job, but that in all those years, I never got interviewed.”

As many former players here at the General Managers Meetings can attest, Bowa was a tough player with a banty-rooster’s strut and a fierce competitive nature. A five-time All-Star as a shortstop, a two-time Gold Glove winner, a one-time World Series champion, Bowa retired with the highest career fielding percentage (.980) in big league history.

He’s now third in that category, having dropped behind Omar Vizquel and Mike Bordick.

But ask Bowa about shortstops today and there’s no hesitation. There are a cross-section of great ones – Derek Jeter, Nomar Garciaparra and Vizquel come to mind.

And then, there is Alex Rodriguez.

“Alex is special, and folks ought to try and appreciate watching him play, because he’s one of those guys who comes along every 50 years or so,” Bowa said. “He’s a student of the game, he respects the game, and from the time he puts his spikes on, he’s preparing to beat somebody.”

Bowa has a lot on his mind these days. For one thing, there are players on the Phillies roster that he’s never seen swing a bat or catch a ball. For another, people keep asking him if he’s surprised he got the job.

“I was the ninth guy the team interviewed and I hadn’t managed in awhile,” Bowa said. “But the people in the Phillies organization knew me, they respected me, and they listened to me. They were looking for someone who was a little more aggressive.”

Bowa laughed.

“That’s me.”

About to jump into the fray with the team he played 12 years with, Bowa cannot help but look back upon his one season in Seattle.

“When I went to work for Lou Piniella, I respected him,” Bowa said, “but by the end of the year I had a lot more respect for him – and I learned a lot. He’s better with strategy, better with preparation, better with people, and he’s a very aggressive manager.

“What you see during the game is a small part of it. Lou’s one hell of a manager.”

And then, there’s that shortstop, the 25-year-old who has been the talk of these GM Meetings because of his free agency. Bowa played for three teams in his career, the Phillies, Cubs and Mets.

He played 2,247 games in the majors, has spent 14 years as a coach, two more as a big-league manager.

Bowa was asked if he had any advice for Rodriguez.

“If he asked, I’d tell him a few things. The kind of player Alex is, the grass isn’t always greener with another team,” he said. “In Seattle, he’s playing for a great GM, a great manager, a franchise trying to improve the team after getting within a couple of games of the World Series.

“No team can guarantee you’ll always be in the playoffs, but if he goes somewhere else, the expectations will change. If he repeats his numbers from last season – and they were great numbers – fans will have expected that and more because he’s the guy with the big contract.

“More than anything, he’ll be expected to make the team win, and no matter how great a player you are, that’s out of your control.”

Bowa’s advice would be simple, he said – stay in Seattle.

“The fans there love him, and the team is willing to move those fences in a bit, which I know he’d like,” Bowa said. “The thing about staying in Seattle is, the fans give him the benefit of the doubt. If he has a couple of bad weeks, they’re behind him.

“You go to a new team, with a lot of expectations, and you have a couple of bad weeks, fans are going to boo you. The media is going to get on you.

“Seattle isn’t going to get out-bid in this process,” Bowa said. “There’s a lot of great reasons to stay, and I hope he does. If he doesn’t, I think I could find room for him in Philadelphia – but if we had to pay him, we probably couldn’t afford 24 other players.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Jurrangelo Cijntje pitches at the 2022 MLB Draft Combine held at Petco Park on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 in San Diego, CA. Cijntje, from Mississippi State, was the Mariners’ first pick in the 2024 MLB Draft. (Nelvin C. Cepeda / The San Diego Union-Tribune)
Mariners go college route on second day of draft, take 2-way player Grant Knipp

Seattle chose youth and selected eight college players.

Tyler Cronk performs in the slam dunk competition during the Everett 3on3 tournament in downtown Everett, Washington on Sunday, July 14, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Recap, videos and photos: 2024 Everett 3on3 was another slam dunk

Everett alumni place second; skills contests, food trucks and vendors were also in full swing this past weekend to celebrate the basketball tournament’s third edition.

View of T-Mobile Park from the Press Club. Ben Ray / The Reporter
T-Mobile Park at 25: Mariners fans share favorite ballpark memories

The venue turned a quarter of a century on Monday

Kamiak High School’s Victor Sanchez Hernandez Jr. puts on a University of Washington football helmet. Sanchez Hernandez, a three-star defensive end who’s heading into his senior season, committed to the Huskies. (Photo courtesy of Victory Sanchez Hernandez Jr.)
High school football recruiting: Here’s how Washington’s 2025, 2026 classes are shaping up

TNT sports reporter Jon Manley spoke with national recruiting editor Brandon Huffman.

From left to right: Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ellalee Wortham, Ava DePew and Presley Harris. The foursome, called “Awesome Mix 12,” won the High School Elite division in 2023 and returned to Spokane Hoopfest this year to claim the Women’s Competitive division title. (Photo courtesy Sarah Reese)
Winter Wesco rivals, summer hoopfest champions

Arlington’s Kierra Reese and Stanwood’s Ava DePew, Presley Harris and Ellalee Wortham teamed up to win back-to-back 3-on-3 titles.

Louisville guard Hailey Van Lith found little room between South Carolinas Destiny Littleton (11) and Laeticia Amihere. (Carlos Gonzalez / Star Tribune)
These Olympians in the 2024 Paris Games have ties to Washington state

Nineteen athletes competing in France are from The Evergreen State.

Once an MLB bust, Mill Creek’s Travis Snider now hopes to change toxic culture

When Snider made it to the big leagues in 2008 at just 20 he was one of the game’s top prospects, touted as the Blue Jays’ next great hitter.

UW Husky rowing will be well-represented in Paris at 2024 Olympics

The U.S. eight competes in heat racing on July 29 with finals on Aug. 3.

Golden Knights center Chandler Stephenson (20) skates with the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Flames at T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024, in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Chandler Stephenson’s deal about broader Kraken goals rather than dollar value

The former Golden Knights centerman signed a seven-year deal for $6.25 million with Seattle last week.

Seattle Mariners catcher Cal Raleigh (29) celebrates his two-run home run with a trident as he high fives teammates during the first inning against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, in Arlington, Texas. (Elías Valverde II / Tribune News Service)
Statistics show just how terrible Mariners’ offense has been | Analysis

Seattle leads the AL West, but situational hitting has been a setback.

Chandler Fry makes a short birdie putt on Hole 6 on Kayak Point Disc Golf Resort’s Red Course. Fry is a professional from Olympia, Wash., and he has tallied 31 career wins. He will be one of the players in this year’s Mixed Pro Open (MPO) division. (Photo courtesy Andy Jaynes)
Disc golf tournament to bring hundreds of competitors to Kayak Point

The fourth annual Kayak Point Open will feature some of the best players in the state and the region this weekend.

Everett AquaSox outfielder Lazaro Montes, the Seattle Mariners’ No. 4 ranked prospect, smiles while running onto the field prior to Everett’s game against the Spokane Indians on June 26, 2024 at Funko Field. (Photo courtesy Evan Morud / Everett AquaSox)
AquaSox week in review: Big-prospect Montes one stop closer to dream

RJ Schreck and Will Schomberg lead split against Vancouver.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.