Larry Bowa says Ryne Sandberg quit because he felt disrespected by his players

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Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com has an exclusive interview with Phillies bench coach Larry Bowa in which he talks about why he thinks Ryne Sandberg unexpectedly quit as Phillies manager a few weeks ago.

Coming change in the front office which would likely result in his termination may have been part of it. Losing is not easy either. But Bowa believes that Sandberg simply got tired of feeling disrespected by his players:

Several pitchers — Hamels, A.J. Burnett, Kyle Kendrick and David Buchanan — openly disrespected Sandberg during visits to the mound last season . . . There were issues this season, as well. Cameras caught Chase Utley chastising pitching coach Bob McClure during a relief appearance by Jeff Francoeur last month in Baltimore, and Ken Giles showed up the manager and got an earful in return in Pittsburgh.

Bowa said that Giles is a good kid, but that he got caught up in the moment. But it seems Sandberg got caught up too, yelling at Gile: “He went over and said, ‘I’m running this team. If I want to put that guy on, I’m putting him on. I’m the manager, you’re the pitcher.'”

Was that one of the moments that led to Sandberg’s decision?

“Maybe,” Bowa said. “Maybe.“

Salisbury prefaces all of this with some stuff about how Sandberg, going back 20 years to his autobiography, said that he just couldn’t abide the younger players’ lack of work ethic. Of course, old baseball men have been saying that for over 100 years. And of course when you have A.J. Burnett, Cole Hamels and Chase Utley on your case, it’s not exactly a function of “young guys” not getting it. It’s a function of you pretty much having lost your entire clubhouse. If you ever had it.

Maybe the Phillies’ job would’ve been impossible for anyone given the state of the roster and the fact that, in following Charlie Manuel, Sandberg was following a man who was seen as a players’ manager and a man who was immensely popular with the veterans on the team.

But there sure is a whole heck of a lot suggesting that maybe Ryne Sandberg wasn’t the right man for the job and that he wasn’t of the experience and temperament to deal with a major league clubhouse.

UPDATE: WEEI denies it will change Red Sox broadcasts to a talk show format

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UPDATE: WEEI is pushing back on this report, denying that it is true. Finn’s source for the story was the agency posting job listings which said that, yes, WEEI was looking to do the talk show format. WEEI is now saying that the agency was merely speculating and that it will still be a traditional broadcast.

Both WEEI and Finn say they will have full reports soon, so I guess we’ll see.

9:47 AM: WEEI carries Boston Red Sox games on the radio in the northeast. For the past three seasons, Tim Neverett and Joe Castiglione have been the broadcast team. Following what was reportedly a difficult relationship with the station, Neverett has allowed his contract with WEEI to end, however, meaning that the station needs to do something else with their broadcast.

It seems that they’re going to do something radical. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:

There were industry rumors about possible changes all season long. One, which multiple sources have said was a genuine consideration, had WEEI dropping the concept of a conventional radio baseball broadcast to make the call of the game sound more like a talk show.

That was yesterday. Just now, Finn confirmed it:

I have no idea how that will work in practice but I can’t imagine this turning out well. At all.

Hiring talk show hots to call games — adding opinion and humor and stuff while still doing a more or less straightforward broadcast — would probably be fine. It might even be fun. But this is not saying that’s what is happening. It says it’s changing it to a talk show “format.” I have no idea how that would work. A few well-done exceptions aside, there is nothing more annoying than sports talk radio. It tends to be constant, empty chatter about controversies real or imagined and overheated either way. It usually puts the host in the center of everything, forcing listeners — often willingly — to adopt his point of view. It’s almost always boorish narcissism masquerading as “analysis.”

But even if it was the former idea — talk show hosts doing a conventional broadcast — it’d still be hard to pull off given how bad so many talk show hosts are. There are a couple of sports talk hosts I like personally and I think do a good job, most are pretty bad, including the ones WEEI has historically preferred.

Which is to stay that this is bound to be awful. And that’s if they even remember to pay attention to the game. Imagine them taking a few calls while the Red Sox mount a rally, get sidetracked arguing over whether some player is “overrated” or whatever and listeners get completely lost.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Red Sox fans who listen to the games on the radio.