08/13/08 11:47 AM ET
Larry Bowa chat wrapup
Coach spoke with Dodgers fans on many topics
By / MLB.com
Bowa: I think there's merit to that questions, but Joe right now likes to have a left-hander behind him. He likes Kent batting in front of him, but that could change if Nomar comes out swinging the bat the way he's capable of, that could change very easily.
haildodgers: Hello Mr. Bowa, I just wanted to know what you think about Matt Kemp? He is my favorite player and do you think he is getting better on a daily bases? You have taught him well Thank You!
Bowa: I think he's probably the most improved player since Spring Training. He's more patient and selective in his at-bats. He's got such great natural ability, early in the year he thought he could hit any pitch wherever it was thrown. But I think he's got a chance to be a great player if he continues to improve.
dante892: Who do you think is the ideal starting three outfielders on this team?
Bowa: Joe's going to go with the hot hand. Obviously Kemp and Manny are starting every day with an occasional day off, but he's just going to mix and match with the rest.
mlbammer5_2: How was your time in New York compared to here in L.A., especially being on a coaching staff that's stayed somewhat in tact?
Bowa: It's been great here. Obviously the transition wasn't as great because I was with Joe the last two years, but the difference is that the Yankees had a relatively veteran ballclub and here's there's a good mixture. But it's been a smooth transition and it's nice to be out here.
ladgirl27_2: What do you do during your offseason?
Bowa: I play a lot of golf and go to vacation places. I just unwind and try to get my batteries recharged because as soon as January first comes, I start thinking about baseball. Hopefully you get into the playoffs and it's a long season, so I just try to kick back, relax, and travel.
yousmell: Hello Larry. From the recent series how was the Giants/Dodger rivalry different from Yankees/Red sox?
Bowa: I just think that the Yankee/Boston rivalry is so intense because they're always fighting for a division. Recently, the Dodgers and Giants haven't both been in contention every year like back there. Once those two teams are fighting for a division every year, I think it could be just as good.
Gob_Bluth: Coach Bowa, are you Joe Torre's "enforcer", that is, someone to play the "bad cop" when a player isn't following directions?
Bowa: I think Joe just lets coaches coach. He knows if something's not done the right way, especially the area I'm handling, I'm going to take care of it. That's our job as coaches. You're sort of a buffer between the manager and a player. The manager has a lot of other things to worry about like if a player is neglecting his work or not taking ground balls. That's up to us and we have to keep them on their toes.
animal562: When is Furcal coming back?
Bowa: We hope he's back by the last month of the season. When you miss that much of the season, it'll be up to him how his back responds to the treatment he's taking. The last time I talked to him, he said this is the best he's felt in a long, long time with his back.
scurtis1999: Larry, I love your intensity. Do the younger players on the team listen well or are they a part of the new generation who don't respect there elders?
Bowa: The young players have been very receptive. When you have a new manager and coaches come in, sometimes they don't know exactly where you're coming from. But as the season has progressed, they're more open-minded and listen to suggestions.
As coaches, you don't tell them what to do. You try to give suggestions and try to incorporate a few things that they can think about. If you offer five things and they take two, that's fine. But it's got to feel comfortable to the player.
You can't say, "Do this because I did it this way." It doesn't work that way.
Gob_Bluth: Coach Bowa, what factors go into you deciding whether to "send" a player home?
Bowa: The score is very indicative of whether you'll be more or less aggressive. if you're ahead, you'll take more chance to add on or if you're behind, you'll have to be more conservative.
Who is coming up next? If you have Manny Ramirez and it's a questionable decision, you don't want to take the bat out of his hands. But if the next hitter is in a slump, you might want to take a chance. Who is pitcing for you or against you? If the pitcher pitching against you doesn't give up too many runs, you might want to take that chance.
If your pitcher has been giving up a lot of runs, you might need a lot of runs to win the game but if he's pitching lights out, you might only need one or two runs.
And obviously, speed comes into it. With Pierre and Kemp, unless the ball is hit like a rocket, you're going to send them most of the time because they're good runners with a lot of speed. The guys that give you the most trouble are the ones who are below-average runners.
softfast: Have you ever gotten scared by a line drive that could hit you?
Bowa: Yeah. Gary Sheffield in New York. I think the helmet rule, they're trying to protect that, but if you position your body in the right way and take the blow in the back, you can recover from that. It's the ones where you lose sight of the ball that they're really concerned about.
fernie81: Hello Larry. Do the Dodgers have what it takes to take the division?
Bowa: We've been too inconsistent. We have to play consistent baseball. We can't give teams four or five outs an inning, late in the game, no matter who you're playing. Our offense can't rely on Manny. The other guys have to step it up the last quarter of the season.
It's going to take a total effort on pitching, defense and offense.
softfast: How good do you think a 60 mph fastball and a 50 mph change up is for a 12 year old with good command?
Bowa: That's pretty good. I think the biggest thing is not to have 12-year-olds throw a lot of breaking balls because it's not good for your arm. The best pitch in baseball, if you can command it, is a straight change.
ladgirl27_2: How do you feel about having Manny Ramirez on our team?
Bowa: Manny has been great. He's playing hard, he does all his work. He has a great rapport with all the guys in the clubhouse. If Manny continues to do what he's doing on the field or off, there will be no regrets. What happened in Boston is history. It's a closed chapter in his book.
lewyus: If the Dodgers can acquire any additional personnel off of the waiver wire, what position do you think they still need?
Bowa: Any time you can get any kind of pitching, whether it's relief pitching or a starter, you'd take it. Saito has been out and that's a big blow to your bullpen. You're asking other guys to step up and do things that they're not comfortable with. The more help you can get, especially veterans, that would help out, but it's not easy to get.
uclaball21: Hey Larry, what is your first impression of Clayton Kershaw. He is new to this team and at just 20 years old he seems like the real deal. What are your thoughts about him?
Bowa: He's been very impressive since Spring Training. He's going to have his ups and downs because of his age, but he shows a lot of poise for a 20-year-old pitcher. He's got a great arm, great work ethic and respects the game. Barring any injuries, he can be a fixture in that rotation for a long time.
stick_310: Mr. Bowa, what has Jeff Kent's attitude been like since the arrival of Manny R.?
Bowa: Jeff's been great. I think the last four or five games, maybe more than that, Joe has batted Kent ahead of Manny and he's responded. I think he just wants to get to the playoffs again. He knows his time is close to being over, whether it's this year or next year. When you're a veteran and you've tasted that, you want to get back there and that's the number one thing on his mind right now.
mony69: Larry, it is a pleasure to have such an aggressive and knowledgeable third-base coach as you! Why do the umpires give you such a hard time about staying in the coach's box?
Bowa: In all fairness to the umpires, they're handed down memos to enforce these rules. If they had their way about it, they really don't care where you stay. It's a tough job, because they get reprimanded if there's an advisor watching the game and they don't handle a situation.
It's like Questec, the strike zone automation system that evaluates umpires...it's hard when you're being watched. I think it hurts them because they can't relax and just call their own game.
blueboytoo: Have you worked with Andruw at all and what's your take on his issues?
Bowa: I think Andruw is going through a tough time with the batting instructors, Don Mattingly and Jeff Pentland, they work with the hitters. It's going to take a little while because he's gotten into a lot of bad habits. It has nothing to do with his physical ability because he can still hit balls a long way. We see it in batting practice.
It's all about slowing the game down, remembering what you worked on in the cages and right now, he's having a tough time separating the two -- cage work and live action.
b_elizondo: Hey Larry, when you got tossed out of the game in the bottom of the first...what did the blue say to get a strong reaction?
Bowa: I think it's the way that he charged at me, that I overreacted. But I've talked to him since then. I think Ed Montague is a good umpire. It's just something that I overreacted to and he had to do what he had to do.
jesse81: Along the lines of Scurtis' question, how is the team chemistry this season, and how has that changed with the acquisition of Manny?
Bowa: I think our team chemistry has been pretty good all year. Manny is very loose in the clubhouse, so I think he's loosened up some guys. I don't see it as a distraction at all. They're laughing in the dugout and having fun, so that's helped it more.
4ublue: Why do you send some runners like Loney the other night when It looked to all of us like he would be out with an average good throw?
Bowa: When you're up four runs and you try to add on there, if we were behind or tied, the situation would have been different. I'll do that again if we're up four or five runs. It took a perfect throw to get him.
adoro49: What are your feelings about the demise of Yankee Stadium and your memories of the House that Ruth Built?
Bowa: Obviously there are a lot of great players that played in that stadium. I saw the plans and it's going to be almost identical. I think it was time for a new stadium, but there's a lot of history there that makes it tougher to tear it down and start anew one.
But, baseball is all about finances and generating new assets and from what I understand, the new ballpark is going to be unbelievable.
gododgers8: Coach, do you have any aspirations to manage again?
Bowa: You know what? Not really. I like working for Joe. And when you're coaching, you teach more. When you're managing, there are too many other things that you have to take care of that don't have anything to do with the game -- dealing with the media, keeping things hush-hush if a guy's hurt. It's much easier teaching kids about being better players.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.