One of the more intriguing rumors that has been surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies as of late is regarding who will and who won’t be on the coaching staff in 2014. And now that the interim tag has officially been removed from Ryne Sandberg, decisions on that very staff can begin. One name that has been floating around is Larry Bowa. And when you think about his relationship with Sandberg and the players, it makes complete sense.
In addition to having his own experience managing the Phillies, Bowa and Sandberg go way back. Of course, as Phillies fans will remember, Bowa joined Sandberg as part of a trade that brought Ivan DeJesus to Philadelphia. It pretty much goes without saying that the Chicago Cubs got the better of that trade as Sandberg went on to have a Hall of Fame career and Bowa continued his success as well.
But that was nearly three decades ago. Bowa has worked in various baseball roles since then and currently has a job with the MLB Network as an analyst. His former double play partner, Sandberg, is of course now holding the position Bowa did during the early 2000s.
While a reunion is something both Bowa and Sandberg have both hinted at, if the former Phillies skipper is asked to come back it will be less about joining his former teammate and more about helping his former pupil. And no that pupil is not Sandberg, but Jimmy Rollins.
Bowa has been Rollins’ biggest critic as well as his biggest fan throughout the younger man’s career. He has advised him, taught him, instructed him and managed him. At times the egos of the two would collide, but ultimately Bowa was able to offer Rollins the experience of being a shortstop in Philadelphia.
Rollins and Bowa still have a good relationship, and Bowa has made it clear that he believes Rollins still has “a lot of baseball left in him.” And of course, it seems pretty clear that Bowa wants to be the guy to bring Rollins back to the player he was when he still coached him. Ultimately, more than the Bowa-Sandberg reunion, the Bowa-Rollins reunion makes the most sense.
Sandberg is invested in Rollins and that was made obvious as soon as he took over. Sandberg took the time to meet with Rollins, give him advice and just take on the managerial role that Jimmy has really needed this season. Sandberg didn’t hesitate to take the leadoff responsibilities from Rollins but he hasn’t given up on him either. And that’s why bringing Bowa back makes a lot of sense.
Because if anybody can get the most out of Rollins in his final contract year, hands down, it is Bowa.
Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.