With Mack­anin out, Bowa hop­ing he can stay at ‘home’

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Rob Par­ent rpar­ent@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @Reluc­tan­tSE on Twit­ter

PHILADEL­PHIA » When Larry Bowa, the diminu­tive kid from Sacra­mento with the lungs of a man twice his size, fi­nally ar­rived to stay in Philadel­phia in the spring of 1970, he was a 24-year-old short­stop with a long and un­likely ca­reer in front of him.

Most of his en­su­ing 47 years would be spent in a Phillies uni­form, reach­ing heights of suc­cess no one could have pre­dicted for him. Fri­day, he thought it was time to re­mind ev­ery­one of that.

“This is my home,” Bowa said. “This is where I grew up. Peo­ple rec­og­nize me as a Phillie.”

So with equal parts anx­i­ety and pride, along with an out­pour­ing of emotion in the wake of the an­nounce­ment that col­league and friend Pete Mack­anin was be­ing re­moved from his role as man­ager for next season, Bowa set about cam­paign­ing stay here and stay em­ployed.

But he’d do so only with a fond farewell to Mack­anin.

“You know, I’ve seen a lot of stuff,” Bowa said. “All I can tell you is I think Pete did a great job. He took a re­ally young team — and then we ob­vi­ously got re­in­force­ments, some good young play­ers — and if you take a look at what he did in the sec­ond half, I thought he did a great job.”

Bowa has seen ev­ery cor­ner of baseball life, from his un­likely rookie de­but to years as ar­guably baseball’s best field­ing short­stop. From the heights of a World Se­ries cham­pi­onship in 1980, to a near miss with the Cubs four years later. From his first man­ag­ing job in San Diego in 1987 to a long ca­reer with the Phillies and else­where, and fi­nally a man­age­rial ap­point­ment here in 2000.

Bowa would find out first­hand what it was like to be fired as a Phillies man­ager, too, but it didn’t stop him from serv­ing three sea­sons as first Ryne Sand­berg’s, then Mack­anin’s right-hand man on the bench.

With Mack­anin be­ing “tran­si­tioned” to the front of­fice by gen­eral man­ager Matt Klen­tak, the writ­ing seems on the wall for Bowa and his fel­low coaches. With na­tional tele­vi­sion and ra­dio stints on his re­sume and enough baseball ex­pe­ri­ence to fill sev­eral books, Bowa has op­tions. But there’s no ques­tion about what his first choice would be.

“I’m still, age-wise, what, 71? But you guys see me work ev­ery day,” Bowa said. “I’m re­lent­less when it comes to that. So if they have some­thing in mind, I’m going sit down and talk with them and see where it goes.”

While say­ing no de­ci­sions on the sta­tus of any coaches has been reached, Klen­tak es­sen­tially de­clared them free to walk by Mon­day.

Only Bowa, so of­ten in trou­ble with the man­ager as a player here, the guy who even­tu­ally left and came back, left again and came back again ... made it very clear he doesn’t want to do that again.

“All I can tell you is I’ve been in this uni­form longer than any­body, since the Phillies ex­isted,” Bowa said. “My No. 1 pri­or­ity is to stay in this or­ga­ni­za­tion. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

“That’s No. 1. And if I’m not, then I’ll look for other stuff. But right now, I want to stay in this or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

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