Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Madman Off His Record

“Off the record? I think the Phillies are a bunch of Bush League pussies.”

Larry Bowa stirred his gin and tonic and bit on the thin red straw. He hadn’t been back to this familiar crime scene in a couple years. The Holiday Inn had been the setting for many a post-game ho-down during his playing days. The lounge inside the hotel, just a short walk from the sports complex, was and still is like a home away from home -- and away from the wife -- for many an athlete in Philly. For the aging madman, it was like a renegade professor returning to his collegiate frat house for a kegger.

Sure, there still are the hookers, the benders, the wagers. Ballplayers have always been whores for a good time. But as Bowa tells it, the oldtimers from his era were different. They knew more than just how to play the game. They played to win.

“We covered each other’s backs back in my playing days,” Bowa continued. “If Pete (Rose) hit the trifecta, the bartender would hold his money for him, not because he was his bookie, but he was a friend. If Lefty needed a little speed, somebody in the kitchen here would hand-deliver it, not because he was a dealer, but he was a friend. You needed to get laid after a game? One phone call and the girl was there with a driver. That’s what I call teamwork. You don’t see that anymore.”

It was an ethos Bowa tried to instill during his tenure as Phillies manager, but his attempt at indoctrination failed.

“It wasn’t my fault those teams never jelled,” Bowa said. “I tried. Believe me, I tried. But I couldn’t get them to do infield practice together, let alone bringing them here after the game. It was the players’ lack of desire. I never liked any of them. Jimmy Rollins is a bad joke as a leadoff hitter and has no balls. And he looked more fly with the dreadlocks. Burrell is a playboy who’d rather get his dick sucked than play ball. Don’t get me wrong – I like a good hummer as much as the next guy. But why does he waste his time in Olde City nightclubs? The skank is good enough right here; it’s Grade A Gambino gash. And Abreu would rather pad his stats with walks than drive in runs. When he’s done with the game, he has a good time with Jesus and his sweet tooth. He’s a real barrel of monkeys.”

So why’s he wearing Abreu’s Number 53 as a Yankee?

“Just to fuck with his mind,” the old shortstop explained. “And when The Boss trades for him, I’m not giving it up, just like Daulton wouldn’t give me my Number 10 when I came back to Philly as a coach. Fuck these guys.”

Longtime Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas walked through the lounge door and gazed at the gassed Bowa. He waived, then tucked into a booth and sat alone. Time for his post-game Jack Daniels.

“And that shithead Kalas,” Bowa said in a hushed tone. “You know I kicked his ass in the runway at the Vet back in ’75. Last time he ever asked me what I thought about Dave Concepcion. For that, he gets a goddamn bar named after him at the new park.”

A rotund figure walked toward us. It was The Bull, Greg Luzinski. He had a wet, greasy paper bag with him.

“Bull! Missed any meals lately?” Bowa jibed.

“Look, Larry,” the meaty outfielder-turned-barbeque-chef began. “All I ask is that you eat a little before you take these.”

Luzinski passed Bowa a handful of pills, a grab bag of Xanax, Zoloft, Amphetamine and Viagra. Losing hurts, and the Yankees have done their share of that lately. The old shortstop downed the tablets and washed it down with the gin and tonic.

“That’s the ticket,” he said, the relief written all over his weathered mug. “I’ll be happy and hard in no time.”

Frowning, Luzinski began to eat from the bag. Things never change between friends.


Anonymous ChuckM said...

Lou, You are on a serious roll with your entrys....I guess us miserable Phans must have had to pay for getting a rare "fuck yeah"! win over the MFY so we got to savor it for but one day until the stupidity and ugliness returns. Terrible BP management by Manuel and Dubious. Instead of running through so many relievers, couldnt A: Fultz come out for the 7th and/or B: Geary come out for the 8th (given Rhodes awful record vs MFY)?. And of course, when Bell makes one of his misplays (Rollins would have fielded and thrown Williams out) that sense of dread suddenly creeps up every Phillies fan spine knowing that the wheels are going to come off. It was a crime ruining Howards best game of his career, lets hope Cole Hamels has his career game tonight, a decent win will remove some of the bad taste from last night.

21/6/06 7:00 PM  

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