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.