- Hardcover: 221 pages
- Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC; Presumed First Edition edition (February 1, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1582617880
- ISBN-13: 978-1582617886
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,637,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Larry Bowa: I Still Hate to Lose Hardcover – February 1, 2004
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From the Inside Flap
Larry Bowas nearly 40-year passage from the sandlots of Sacramento, California, to the peak of his profession has been exhilarating and fiery. Bowa studied the game and through sweat and practice crafted himself into a major league player. The same passion he exhibited on the field dictated his actions inside the clubhouse. Relationships were scarred and patched up, and he had his share of rude awakenings. Throughout his career on the field and in the dugout, he has been driven to succeed. That dogged determination is why the Phillies brought back their favorite son to his adopted hometown to do his dream job: managing the team. He is now the one person on the field who links the old and new Phillies organizationfrom old Connie Mack Stadium to Veterans Stadium and now to Citizens Bank Park.
Bowa may ruffle some feathers among players and teammates, but he and management are on the same page: They want to return to the glory of that best era in Phillies history1976 to 1981when Bowa was the shortstop on a team that went to the playoffs just about every year and baseball enthusiasm among the tough Philadelphia sports fans was percolating. It culminated in 1980 when the Phillies won their only World Series championship.
I Still Hate to Lose studies Bowas entire excursion, from a pipsqueak rookie in North Philly to a World Series winner at the Vet, from a novice manager in San Diego to now perhaps his greatest challenge in a new ballparkreturning the Phillies to the pantheon of champions. "My expectations for 2004 are the same as they were in 2003," Bowa said. "I still hate to lose. I try to win every game. It doesnt matter what kind of team I have. So thats not changing. I try to go out and win every game."
About the Author
Barry M. Bloom has been covering baseball for nearly 30 years and is now the national reporter for MLB.com where he covers events and stories of national and international import. Bloom and Bowa collaborated on their first book together, Bleep! Larry Bowa Manages, in 1988 when Bowa was manager of the San Diego Padres and Bloom covered the team for the San Diego Tribune. Bloom had the Padres beat for 11 years, left the Union-Tribune in 1998, and joined Bloomberg News, where he covered baseball, hockey, and the business of sports. Bloom went to Major League Baseballs web site in 2002 and renewed his long relationship with Bowa. This is his second major book. He has also written two childrens baseball books: Tony Gwynn; Mr. Padre (1999) and The Brothers Alomar (2000). Bloom lives in San Diego with his wife, Alicia. His daughter, Joanna, works and lives in New York, and his son, Raphael, is attending American University in Washington, D.C.
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Top customer reviews
When I picked up this book I was expecting it to be a biography of Bowa, who enjoyed a fiery reputation as a hard playing shortstop for the Phillies and Cubs in a relatively successful career. Bowa was never going to be considered for the Hall of Fame, but he was often an All-Star and in his era when you ticked off the five best shortstops on the fingers of one hand he was going to be there most of the time. Instead, "I Still Hate to Lose" is really more of an apologia. I have seen presidential candidates pick running mates with less justification that is provided in this book for Bowa being signed to manage the Phillies. The problem is that Bloom spends so much time explaining how Bowa's problems with particular players (e.g., Stanley Jefferson, Chris Brown, Scott Rolen) are not his fault, that it is hard to remember those players who speak highly of him as a manager (e.g., John Kruk). The net result is that the failures seem to outweigh the successes, which is not exactly how you want to make your case here.
The problem is that if this book is supposed to convince me that Bowa is a first-rate major league manager it is not providing the evidence that would prove the point for me beyond the team's record. You would think there would be stories of key moves in a game, some evidence of Bowa's skill at baseball strategy, but they are not forthcoming. Instead we get stories about Bowa not throwing temper tantrums and people providing votes of confidence. The same thing applies when Bowa is described as the best third base coach in baseball; there is not one specific suggestion as to what that involves. We are constantly being told things in this book about Bowa that I would rather be shown, especially if I am to be convinced he is one of the best at his chosen vocation. I stopped counting the number of times that Bowa looked back on his past and decided he should have done things differently because I would rather have the argument made in positive terms instead of these double negatives.
There are four quotations on the dedication page, including A. Bartlett Giamatti's famous poem "The Green Fields of the Mind" and Chico Marx's baseball bit from "Duck Soup," but the most relevant one is from Bernard Malamud's novel "The Natural": "We have two lives-the one we learn with and the life we live after that." In the context of this book the life that Bowa learned with did not end until he was hired to be the manager of the Phillies, with the learning coming as a player, as a minor league manager, as the manager of the San Diego Padres, and as a third-base coach for the Phillies, Angels and Mariners. This book would have worked a lot better if the focus was on the lessons, provided, of course, that the proof was actually forthcoming to prove each point. But I have the feeling that the only way that could happen is if the book was written first person from Bowa's perspetive, because I think if Bowa kept talking he would show why he is a good baseball manager.
It is helpful to keep in mind that Bloom is a sportswriter, because there is definitely a sense at times throughout this book that the chapters are more like sports articles (so I was not surprised to see that Chapter 10 was based on an actual article in the "San Diego Tribune"). There are a couple of points that pop up more than once in the book. For those who pick up this book and want more of a biography about Bowa, apparently you need to go check out the book that Bloom wrote about him back in the San Diego days, "Bleep! Larry Bowa Manager." Maybe that is why the look at Bowa's early life and playing career is so uneven. Fans of Bowa as a player are going to be rather disappointed by this book, and even those who support him as Phillies manager are going to be uneasy after reading this book. I should have had a higher opinion of Bowa at the end of this book than I had before I picked it up and, to my surprise, that is not the case here.