Everyone understands the similarities between the personalities of recently deposed Miami Marlins' manager Ozzie Guillen and former Philadelphia Phillies' player, coach and manager Larry Bowa.
Here are five reasons why Bowa would be a good fit as the Marlins' new manager.
5 reasons #5: Dictatorial methods can work in baseball
Who knows why Guillen said so many different things over the years, or why he thought that there would be no lasting consequences for his actions. Possibly, like many professional athletes and others who are involved in big-money sports, his behavior had always gone mostly unchecked and therefore continued.
Guillen oddly professed his admiration for the long-time Communist dictator of Cuba earlier this year. But, he also said that Fidel Castro had done a lot of bad things and that he was surprised that he (Castro) had stayed in power so long.
Some former Phillies' players (Scott Rolen most famously) often cited Bowa's dictatorial managerial style. Maybe a young Marlins' team would benefit from a different type of strong-armed approach.
5 reasons#4: He's a good shortstop mentor
When he's focused, Jose Reyes is a terrific player.
While Jimmy Rollins was much younger than Reyes is now, the bond that J-Roll formed with Bowa proved to be a vital part of his early career development. He became a leader and was a key part of the team's success when his career hit its prime.
After nine years with the New York Mets, Reyes signed a long-term deal with the Marlins last December. I'm aware that Guillen was also a shortstop during his own playing career. Reyes would likely benefit by having another middle infielder as an ally.
5 reasons #3: Building the fan base
It's true that Bowa can become a sideshow. With the Marlins' new stadium needing to be filled and the controversy surrounding this season now behind them, having a personality like Bowa's around could actually serve to attract baseball-focused attention.
In a different way than Guillen, this veteran's methods would entertain the crowd and enlighten the team. His "conversations" with a variety of umpires would surely provide many educational opportunities.
5 reasons #2: Mellowed experience counts
Mellow isn't the word that most people use when they think about Bowa. But, despite what was just noted in the last section, I have a feeling that he would approach his job in Miami in a different way than he did in Philadelphia. Believe it, or not, he was more volatile when he led the San Diego Padres in 1987 and 1988.
Baseball fans can provide examples of managers who have succeeded even though they had no real experience. The names of many seasoned skippers who were winners can always be referenced as well.
Bowa has been in the game since the mid-1960s. That factor would benefit the entire Marlins' organization.
5 reasons #1: A good baseball man is always needed
Bowa will turn 67 in December. Some might think that he's too old to return to the dugout and that time has passed him by.
I've enjoyed listening to his commentary for the MLB network and know that it represents real wisdom. I also respect what he brought to the table when he led an emerging Phillies' team from 2001-2004. Some people might have forgotten (or don't know) that he was the specific spark that led to the Phillies' franchise resurgence and that his winning percentage (.522) was earned with rosters that weren't nearly as deep as the 2008 World Championship squad.
The Marlins are currently in a transitional phase. He could be the type of manager who can either help them to build a bridge to the next era, or lead them all the way to glory.
Extra innings: I'm aware that Bowa's return to baseball seems unlikely. But, he got an interview. So, maybe this scenario will play out.
While this great Phillie does have a colorful past, I would love to see him back in the game. Baseball always benefits from having men like him around.
Sean O'Brien is based in the Philadelphia region. He began his professional career in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons' front office (the Philadelphia Phillies former Triple-A affiliate), later worked as a freelance sports writer and is currently a Featured Contributor in Sports for the Yahoo Contributor Network! You can follow him on Twitter @SeanyOB and also read his daily Sports Blog: Insight.
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- Sports & Recreation
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- Ozzie Guillen
- Miami Marlins
- Larry Bowa