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Larry Bowa has reservations about the safety of 2020 season


As the countdown to Opening Day winds down, the concerns of the health and safety of the players and coaches continues to rise.

The concerns have caught the attention of legendary Phillies shortstop Larry Bowa, who appeared as a guest on “KYW Newsradio Sports Pod” with Dave Uram on KYW Newsradio 1060.

“Obviously I am happy it is coming back but I think the main concern is the health of everybody that is going to play,” Bowa said. “To get the product on the field is important but the health of everyone I feel is more important.” 

Larry Bowa is a Phillies icon. (Frank Polich/Icon SMI)

Interestingly enough, the former Phillies manager was asked about if he would play during a pandemic or choose to opt-out. 

“If my daughter who is now grown up was young, I would not,” Bowa said. “I would probably say that I have second thoughts about doing this.”

Throughout the last two weeks, numerous players have chosen to opt-out of playing this season for different reasons. Some notable names consist of Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price and San Franciso Giants catcher Buster Posey. 

Bowa echoed his support to those who have chosen to put a brief halt to their careers. 

“I see a lot of names dropping out which I fully agree if that is what they feel and their families are first,” Bowa said. “I understand that. I am just worried about if this does start-up and then something happens maybe in the first two weeks or something I wonder how Major League Baseball is going to respond that.” 

The Phillies could see a member of their team add himself to that list in the coming weeks as Zack Wheeler and his wife are expecting their first child later this month. Back on July 5, Wheeler told the collective media that once the baby arrives his status for the shortened season could change. 

When asked if he thinks it is safe to play baseball in general, Bowa provided a similar answer that Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta gave to the collective media on Saturday.

“I think if they do the right protocol which it seems like we are right now. I think what players are worried about more than anything is when they go on a road trip, they go into a hotel,” Bowa said. “When you get on the road, you are not under their supervision 24 hours a day.” 

The challenges revolving traveling on the road are endless. These concerns have been evident for everyone since this pandemic started regardless if they are involved in sports or not. Bowa said he believes the biggest concern in his mind is the younger and single guys on a team as he thinks they are going to take more of a ‘gamble’ since they don’t have a family to worry about bringing the virus home to. 

While many continue to wonder if a full 60-game schedule will be played as more states begin to see spikes in coronavirus cases, Bowa believes the sport will start on time and is hopeful about its ending.

“I think they are going to start it on time, I hope they are able to finish it. That is the reason why they have 60 players basically. Once they have the 30 they will have another 30,” Bowa said.  “Hypothetically four guys get the virus in Philly, they can bring four guys up (from Lehigh Valley). I think it will start OK and I want it to end up okay but like I said if a team gets hit real hard I don’t know what the ramifications are going to be.” 

During a normal spring training, a player knows how long it takes for him to prepare for the regular season and what he needs to do during side workouts and outings. Bowa believes during an expedited spring training and season a team needs to watch out for their pitchers. 

“With the pitching, you have to watch out. In our situation with Aaron Nola, you can’t ask them to go more than three innings or 60 pitches,” Bowa said. “So I think who has the best depth bullpen wise is going to get out of the gate good.”

Given that the season goes as smoothly as possible with a pandemic still going on, Bowa is optimistic about the Phillies breaking their seven-year non-playoff appearance skid. 

“Baring we keep everyone healthy and this thing plays out, if we didn’t get into the playoffs I would be shocked.”

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