The first thing Jimmy Rollins did upon hearing that Larry Bowa was hired as bench coach of the Philadelphia Phillies was to text his old manager two words: “Together again.”
Bowa texted two words back: “Let’s win.”
Bowa’s return to the Phillies could be best described in words more commonly used in other sports. He’s either Rollins’ caddie or Rollins’ jockey. While Rollins might prefer a caddie, it’s becoming increasingly apparent he needs a jockey.
Rollins rode his own horse during much of the Charlie Manuel managing tenure, and Manuel, while benching Rollins for perceived lackadaisical play early in his career, let Rollins play the veteran card the last couple of seasons and allowed him to jog to first base numerous times, turning his head the other way. Every time that happened, there were loud boos from the stands.
Bowa, who did Sunday TV commentary in Philadelphia, never appreciated the lack of hustle and said so on his post-game show, stating that it was Manuel’s job to make sure Rollins busted it all of the time.
Now Manuel’s job might have become Bowa’s job by proxy. New manager Ryne Sandberg seemed to get more hustle out of Rollins over the last two months of the season, but Sandberg has now got to be the Phillies’ on-field CEO and has a lot of other things to worry about. New bench coach Bowa might be given the responsibility to light a fire under Rollins throughout 2014.
While Rollins might want a caddie, he’s getting a jockey, and how well that ride goes will determine if together again can mean winning again.