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Did honesty cost Larry Bowa his job? Trey Hillman reportedly in line as Dodgers' bench coach

That looks like the end of Larry Bowa, Dodgers coach.

Without fanfare, without even a tip of the cap. Without any proper sendoff at all.’s Ken Gurnick has reported that ex-Kansas City Royals manager Trey Hillman has emerged as the front-runner to be Don Mattingly’s first bench coach.

Bowa had served as Joe Torre's third base coach the past three seasons. And rookie manager Mattingly had  wanted wanted Bowa to serve as his bench coach next season.

Only, Mattingly doesn’t have carte blanche when it comes to choosing his first coaching staff. Not exactly unique but still far from ideal. If the team doesn’t respond to his staff, Mattingly can always claim it’s because he wasn’t allowed to put together the staff he wanted.

"We won't have anybody that he's not comfortable with or anybody that I'm not comfortable with," said General Manager Ned Colletti at the end of the season.

Bowa, who wanted to return, said on the Dan Patrick show Wednesday he was not coming back to the Dodgers next season.

So, apparently, Colletti did not want Bowa back. You have to guess why, but the leading contender is, some felt Bowa was too hard on the kids. Because, you know, he wanted them actually to play hard.

Bowa had one dustup with Matt Kemp that was blown out of proportion, but people acted like he was riding the moody outfielder all season. It was Bowa, the crusty old-school coach. Bowa being too demanding. It was all very silly.

Ironically, the only one -- and the first -- to seriously criticize Kemp’s play was Colletti.

Said Colletti to KABC radio’s Peter Tilden of Kemp in April: "Some guys, I guess, think that they're better than they are. They think the opposition's just going to roll over and get beat by them. That obviously doesn't happen.

"The baserunning's below average. The defense is below average. Why is it? Because he got a new deal? I can't tell you."

All Bowa said was Kemp too often relied on his superb talent and did not always play as hard as he could. To which Kemp replied: He’s right.

Colletti, of course, is not going anywhere, but Bowa is out.

Replaced by a guy who managed the Royals to a 152-207 mark before getting fired May 13. I would love to give you some keen insight into Hillman, but that would require actually having watched the Royals much. And who is ever that bored? Maybe if you live in Kansas City.

Admittedly, the Royals gave Hillman precious little to work with, so maybe he’ll do fine in the Dodgers dugout. Who really knows?

He comes with yet another Yankees connection, having managed in their system for 12 years. Really, isn’t it time this Yankees fascination stopped?

Bowa likely will end up on another team, and they’ll be better off for it. Of course, they’ll have to brace for him asking them to play hard.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Comments () | Archives (32)

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I was hoping the Dodgers would trade Bowa to the Phillies for Davey Lopes.

Further evidence that the Dodgers are quickly becoming the Royals.

ALRIGHT!! More Dodger AL baseball in 2011.
Well done Ned. Well done Frank.
(Not that I'm going to miss Bowa mind you.)

The key issue at hand is not the coaches,
The key issue is the owner.
Really, if Joe Torre is unable to help the players that Colletti (McCourt) assembles perform,
who can do better?
Honestly, the Dodgers MVP for last Season is Jamie Carroll?
Scott Podsednick?
Ryan Theriot?
Russ Ortiz?

I got no problem with what Bowa said about Kemp...I like Matt, but he can be a bonehead on the field sometimes.
Another boneheaded move by the Dodgers.

Bowa did the same thing to Robinson Cano in NY, and what happened. He listened and has become a serious MVP candidate. I love Kemp's talent, but maybe we should be blaming the player here, not the coach.

First off, Bowa was not the bench coach, Bob Schaefer was.

I'm with Colletti on this one. The Dodgers need fresh blood on the staff.

Larry Bowa's managerial record: 418-435. And a coaching style so warm and player-focused, teams are climbing over one another for the opportunity to hire him for their managerial openings. His pragmatic approach to the new rule about base coaches wearing helmets was a master stroke. I remember thinking then, "This guy needs to be in charge of more stuff."

Yeah, the Dodgers are losing a real gem there. Is it too late for tickertape, or a save-the-misunderstood-red-faced-guy-with-bulging-neck-veins telethon, maybe?

To Pete, and the others who caught my brain-cramp initially referring to Bowa as Torre's bench coach: Thanks. Has been corrected, though in continuing with my streak, thought I had corrected it this morning.

If the problem was that the Dodgers didn't play hard enough when Larry Bowa was 3B coach for Joe Torre, then why would KEEPING Larry Bowa as 3B or bench coach for Don Mattingly mean they WOULD play hard enough?

Has it occurred to anyone that if Bowa were a better coach, the Dodgers might have done better?

are you kidding? Dodger fans should be grateful that he's gone! I've always wondering if he was secretly being paid by the Phillies to make boneheaded decisions that cost us games.

as a season-ticket holder of field level seats by third base, I can tell you that Bowa made terrible decisions all the time. if i had the time, i would love to re-watch all the games the past couple years to see how many runs he cost us. i would seriously consider having his drivers license revoked, because he has zero depth perception. when he should hold a runner, he sends him to third or home (and ultimately to an out). when he should have a runner come to third or home to score, he puts up the stop sign. and the players know it! they ignore him all the time.

case in point: anybody remember that ridiculous mistake by james loney this year, when he hit a double, started towards third, and then tripped over himself only to be tagged out? anybody want to guess why that happened? it's because james was looking over his shoulder to see what was going on in the outfield. and why wasn't he relying on Bowa for that information?? yep...james is a smart guy (just a little awkward on the basepads).

so out with the old, in with the new. can't say I'm too excited for this Hillman guy, though...

It was Bowa's time to go. I'm sure we'll never know what really happened. Not sure how much the 3B coach effects the players anyway, but would love to get Tim Wallach to stay with Dodgers and take over that position, maybe a new staff will motivate players better, maybe players won't be motivated at all, but at least changing things up gives a shot.
Robinson Cano seems to have gotten better AFTER Bowa was gone....

So, Larry Bowa goes the way Jeff Kent & Bush 44, all three eliciting a "yes" rejoinder the solicitation, "miss me yet?"

Quite, x3.

Famous advertising adaptations Dodger-ese for $100 Alex -

Clue: Kick *** ta'K'e names like a (clap-clap) veteran should.
Question: who is Jeff 'Winston' Kent?

Clue: Come to thin'K' of it, I won't have to deal with that 5-tool.
Question: who is Larry 'Heineken' Bowa?

Clue: I'll gladly sign you for $45 'M'il today payable in deferments till 2013.
Question: Frank 'Wimpy' McCourt?

So it has come to this...aft 52 seasons as a Dodger fan, current Chavez Ravine (Mc)Court room drama considered -

"GO G-I-A-N-T-S!"

Really, isn't it about time? Have mercy on my baseball soul...

Steve, Mattingly knows Hillman well from the Yankees.

Plus no doubt he came cheap.

Frank snapped, "Sign him up!"

ANYone rooting for the Giants,
is not,
nor ever was,
a Dodger fan.
You hafta be one to know why.

~ Quote, an original Dodger '58er

"Bowa did the same thing to Robinson Cano in NY, and what happened. He listened and has become a serious MVP candidate. I love Kemp's talent, but maybe we should be blaming the player here, not the coach.

Posted by: Brian | 10/21/2010 at 01:27 PM"

What happened? Bowa left and Cano became an MVP candidate.

The Dodger's have a weak manager, so why not a weak coach to go along with him?

Is there any evidence that Bowa is let go because he was, in general, too hard on the kids? Or inspecific for a comment about Kemp? Because otherwise what reason is there to imply Colletti is a hypocrite for not re-hiring Bowa when he himself called out Kemp?

My guess is a related but different criticism: that Bowa was part of the same problem Torre said was his own problem: an inability to get through to these particular players, many of them young. You can like Bowa fine but not think he is right for this job.

My main point though is there this post seems entirely too speculative for what it is.


- here's that letter 'M' you left out...

"ANYone rooting for the Giants, ESPECIALLY now, is not,
nor ever was, a Dodger fan. You hafta be one to know why."

- c'mon Ralph, 1951 was a long time ago... get over it.

Soon, it won't be 1954 being referenced any longer, will be 1988 as in "when was the last time..."

: )

More McCrap delusions & narcassism. 2011: it will be the same chef, same incredients, and everyone will be expecting different results.

"That looks like the end of Larry Bowa, Dodgers coach. Without fanfare, without even a tip of the cap. Without any proper sendoff at all."

"Today, today, today....I consider myself, the luckiest man, man, man...on the face of the earth, earth, earth...."-- Larry Bowa (Dodgers' Home Opener 2011)


"I would love to give you some keen insight into Hillman, but that would require actually having watched the Royals much. And who is ever that bored?"

Good thing you're not getting paid for this.

Bowa was a good 3b coach the two years before when we almost went to the WS,..just not this year. He sucked this year

I don't think he matters one way or the other obviously.

Brian, right on. Bowa laid the groundwork for Cano in NY. Watching both players develop, Cano and Kemp had a ton in common in terms of talent and attitude. Cano responded to the criticism with hard work and a determination to prove people wrong. Now he's a legitimate superstar on a team full of superstars. You've got to give Bowa some credit on that since he worked with Cano so much but of course it helps to have Jeter, Arod and Tex right there, three of the hardest working guys in the game, showing him how to do the job everyday.

The ones that complain of Jeff Kent and Larry Bowa for their hard edge attitudes would probably react to a military drill sarge in the same way the little darlings on the Dodgers did, they would cry for their mamas.

Whether they know it or not Larry Bowa will be missed. Like in our culture, anyone over a certain age that believes in working hard and respecting the ideals of a given profession they are called 'old school', which really means out of touch with the younger people in the organization, and are moved out. Its really too bad for the Dodgers.

As for the Yankee connection, maybe if we get enough of them and a few ex-Red Sox we could convince MLB, and the east coast press, that LA actually exists.

Now if we could only get rid of Frank and Jamie!

The Dodgers need to pony up and spend some money to get some talent in next year.

I wait, I already forgot, we re-signed Ted Lilly. We should be ok then.

Any of you Bowa lovers notice that Cano turned the corner, career wise, AFTER Bowa was gone? Think that was a coincidence and Cano would have become an all star if Bowa was still ragging his ass?

If we had any hope of keeping Kemp beyond his arbitration years, Bowa would have to go. He was a bonehead anyway. We haven't lost much in his being canned by the GM.

I actually went to a Royals game in KC this summer and I'm happy to report that it was one of the more exciting games I've seen in a while. I have not booked my tickets for KC post-season tickets yet, but it was entertaining. Go Dodgers!

It's 'time for Dodger baseball!' It's 'the Dodger way' they say; least, used to.

From the 'quiet man' Alston to 'the mad man' Bowa, single-season 'K' record Koufax to other end Kemp.

Hall of Famers are not born with the needle pointing North from there.

Coaches coach, Managers manage & players play.

Teachers teach, learners learn, the hungry digest.

Losers? They give up first but are the last to know it.

"Life's real failure is when you do not realize how close you were to success when you gave up" - Anonymous, yet proprietary

Winners? They have backbone. Persist.

Abraham Lincoln is said to have failed at so many endeavors that he could not have made an believer out of his namesake, The Bible... and so, he became the President of the United States. He won, he lost, knew success and defeat...and paid for it with his life, gave for it his all.

Some wax eloquent potahto, some swear by potayto.

The Wooden 'way' or the Knight 'display'? - some treat everyone fairly, but don't treat them all the same.

The 'tears' Vermeil or the 'sear' a Lombardi? - some treat their players like men while others like man's best friend.

What do they all have in common?

Champions some fashion their own device... winners.

Winners win.

i'm not real too clear on how a major league coach acting like a drill sergeant helps to "motivate" anyone except for those rare people like bowa himself who are only motivated by hate and criticism.

drill sergeants are there to train 18 year olds to respond immediately to an ORDER. period. that has little or nothing in common with major league baseball players.

major league baseball players are not undisciplined teenagers who have to learn to obey orders immediately, unquestioningly and to function as one fish swimming in a school. they are actually highly disciplined, highly motivated people who have spent a lifetime working like heck to be the best at what they do. AND, as they themselves say over and over and over, what they need MOST is "confidence" and you sure as heck don't get that from being screamed at and told that you are worthless/terrible/suck.

there is a very good reason that people with the personality of larry bowa wear out their welcome quickly and people with the personality of bobby cox do not.

guys love to play for bobby. guys hate to play for bowa. one is successful and the other is not.

Generalizations are dangerous, but as the debate be between 'nice' and 'not so', sensitivity compared expectation, I dive in. Those in the former camp cue Morris Albert's 'Feelings', you in the latter any video clip R. Lee Ermey.

Having been a resident planet Earth since mid-century 20th, can say based on experience today's 18 year old is typically still in puberty (or, 'pre') compared those same age yesteryear (which, makes the present day 20- something's still too - oh I dunno, 'young' (immature) give consistent best effort sans reminder and/or accept coaching, this based on listening to their own admissions and / or merely any watching them as they lag about the field - Dodger Stadium circa 2010 at minimum a good example.

Here's another buzz word to augment 'sensitivity' & 'expectation': respect.

That "he disrespected me" nonsense that bends so easily fromst the tongue so many this generation is also inclusive - works both ways, children. Remember the 'Golden Rule' - 'he who has the gold makes the rules.' 'Respect' authority.

Aww, you old folks are no fun.

Sure we are.

I'm hilarious under the proper circumstances, like these blogs. But - and it's a big one - as an Hall of Fame NFL QB's adage - "there is a time and a place to fool but the playing field is neither the time nor the place." Like now (it's so 'cool' being an old f*rt due being able to say almost anything and have it excused (not unlike younger folks (still supposedly 'men') being excused the transgressions 'youth.') There's that two-way street again.

Back to the meanies now.

If Lombardi and Knight were but two isolated aberrations/exceptions, et tu Woody Hayes? (a member the College Hall of Fame.) Ditto, for Frank Kush. Isn't two a crowd & three company? Doesn't four make a quartet & portend chorus? All four these fellers had nice long runs & were winners, variously.

Is it about the manner/(s) or does the end justify the means? Eye of the beholder. Yes. First for some, second for others. A mix moreso.

Nice guys finish first? Maybe this year one will (Bruce Bochy is going to look great doused in World Series Champagne... even Ron Washington might.)

On the other...

Larry Bowa, Billy Martin, Leo Durocher & George Steinbrenner all beg differ; all were winners variously as Player, Manager and/or the twain & Owner. Leo 'The Lip' even wrote the book as it were . . . 'Nice Guys Finish Last'.

Maybe it is an osmosis thing that has yet to reach fruition, all the referenced hot heads and assorted meanies oblivious the desires their younger charges under their helm. And some cases, maybe, just maybe the old schoolers are acting not so very differently in deportment the young-uns; role models?

Oy - maybe we're on (to) something here.

If it was simply a matter of a nice personality being the ticket -

Joe Torre was nice; so was Grady Little; that Jim Tracy was wonderful; and Bill Russell too, and...


I live in kansas city but I am an avid dodger fan. Trey will fit in well with current dodger group. Poor fundamentals, lack of heart, and whining will add up to a .440 win percent and last place

Uh, Jon, there was a Bush41 and a Bush43, but Obama is the 44th President of the United States. Or have I fallen into the sarcasm trap?


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