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August 26, 2015

Larry Bowa says his ejection had to do with player safety concerns

The way Larry Bowa figures it, his old friend and MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre will send him “a nice letter” in the next few days. Whether it comes with a fine or suspension is anyone’s guess, even though the Phillies bench coach doesn’t expect to miss any games.

The matter in question occurred during the seventh inning of the Phillies’ 6-5 loss to the New York Mets on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. While Darin Ruf was getting set in the batter’s box, Mets right-handed reliever Hansel Robles threw a quick pitch right over the heart of the plate.

Although the pitch was waved off, the Phillies dugout wasn’t happy to say the least. Once an angry Jeff Francoeur was successfully settled down, out came Bowa to give home plate umpire Dan Bellino a piece of his mind. It didn’t take long for the 69-year-old to get tossed from the game:

The moment was a familiar scene for Phillies fans because the fiery Bowa wasn’t exactly a stranger to getting ejected as the team’s manager from 2001 to 2004. What he took issue with (and the following is his interpretation) is that Robles threw pitches when the hitter’s head was down on consecutive nights. According to Bowa, there is a right and wrong way to quick pitch.

“That’s all that’s about, hurting somebody and ending somebody’s career,” Bowa said. “A guy throwing 95 miles per hour, there’s no reason for that. Old school, new school, whatever school you want, we’re talking about injuries in the game of baseball.”

“A hitter can get killed on a 95 mile-per-hour fastball when he looks up and the ball is right there [in his face].”

The stadium gun recorded Robles’ quick pitch at 82 mph. Before Wednesday’s game, Pete Mackanin said that he didn’t have a problem with Bowa’s outburst. The team’s interim manager doesn’t take objection with how anyone on his staff reacts to something on the field.

Bowa emphasized that his issue had little to do with a question of competitiveness. Even though Bellino waved off the pitch and the Phillies didn’t lose a strike, he was still worried about player safety.

“It doesn’t matter, the pitch was on the way,” Bowa said. “He threw a strike, but these guys make mistakes throwing the baseball. They throw one up and in, the guy turns around and the ball is 10 inches from his face. There’s not reason for that.”

What followed Bowa’s ejection definitely qualifies as old school. After initially heading back to the dugout, he took issue with Mets first baseman Daniel Murphy. Bowa walked up the dugout steps, said a few choice words, pointed to Murphy, and looked to make a gesture that suggested Murphy was going to get hit in the ribs for flipping his bat.

This particular objection also dated back to the previous night. In the Mets’ 16-7 beatdown of the last-place Phillies on Monday, Murphy had a pretty noticeable bat flip after hitting New York’s seventh homer of the game. The Mets would finish the night with a total of eight:

“Murphy hit a home run when we were getting blown out and flipped his bat,” Bowa said. “He’s a veteran, and I said, ‘Flipping the bat in a big game, that’s weak, dude.’”

After so many years where the roles were reversed, New York owns the Phillies in 2015. The first-place Mets currently hold a 10-1 edge in the season series.

“Nobody likes to get beat, but you gotta take it,” Bowa said. 

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann