04/02/08 10:59 PM ET
Bowa suspended for three games
Third-base coach fined by Commissioner after argument
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
"I'm really frustrated with Bob Watson," said Bowa. "He's got an agenda against me for some reason going back to when I started managing and coaching and I have no idea why. He's going to get me any way he can get me.
"Guys have admitted taking steroids and they're still playing and I get ejected and get three games? Something's not right."
According to Watson, Bowa was suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for "inappropriate and aggressive conduct." The suspension is not appealable and starts Wednesday night.
"I'm not going to comment tonight," said Watson, when reached by phone and asked about Bowa's remarks. "I'll pick another time to make my response."
Bowa triggered the incident Tuesday night by ignoring repeated warnings from Montague not to venture out of the coach's box toward the field. Bowa said the suspension "is more ludicrous than the rule" that he violated, which is being enforced as part of baseball's reaction to the accidental death of Minor League coach Mike Coolbaugh by a line drive last year.
Montague also relayed the warning to manager Joe Torre before he ejected Bowa in the sixth inning for continuing to defy the edict. Bowa then threw a tantrum on the field, requiring the intervention of Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer to keep Bowa away from Montague.
Bowa bumped Torre into Montague "on multiple occasions," which Watson said was the reason for the suspension. After leaving the field, Bowa dumped a cooler full of Gatorade in the dugout. After the game, Montague said it was "one of the dumbest ejections I've ever had."
Here's what Bowa said of the suspension:
"It's ludicrous, is what it is. There's no due process. I called [Watson], but he didn't return the call. ... They don't want the coach's side of the story. It's a total joke."
Also included in the new rules for base coaches is an edict that they must wear helmets. Bowa initially balked at that, but backed down when told he would be ejected if he refused.
"Go ask the people in New York who wear coats and ties and have never been on the field," he said, obviously referring to executives other than Watson, whose Major League playing career lasted two decades.
Bowa said third-base coaches need freedom to move to view the positioning of opposing defensive players as well as his team's baserunners. He said he moved to the same locations Opening Day, when Montague was plate umpire, "and nobody said a word. Thirty games in Spring Training, nobody said anything. And last night they throw that at you."
Torre called the discipline "a little excessive" and said that there "needs to be more thought" into the rule and its enforcement. He said he spoke to Bowa about the situation, but gave no indication that he would attempt to harness Bowa's thoughts or actions.
"That's part of his personality," Torre said. "It's what makes Larry what he is, the passion he has and I'd never want to throw a blanket on that. To me, it's not all bad when you realize how important something is to somebody."
Torre did say he was concerned about follow-up incidents.
"Now that he has a bull's-eye on his back, we're going to have umpires taking more notice where he's standing," Torre said. "I'm not sure how wrong he was."
First-base coach Mariano Duncan took over for Bowa on Tuesday night and will handle third-base duties during the suspension. Duncan was a third-base coach for half of the 2005 season at Triple-A Las Vegas and again for two games in China last month. Hitting coach Mike Easler took over for Duncan at first base.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.