Mets eyeing bad news with Bowa

According to a published report, the Mets are leaning toward allowing Art Howe to keep his job into the 2005 season. Good idea: it's not Howe's fault that Mike Piazza, Cliff Floyd, Kaz Matsui and Jose Reyes can't stay on the field. <P> But according to the same report, published Tuesday in the <I>New York Daily News</I>, the Mets are eyeing a fiery coach to give some energy to the bench next to Howe, who's as inspiring as a lamppost. We're still on board, until you hear the name: Larry Bowa.

Of course, nothing is in firm place, and for the club to speculate further publicly would constitute tampering.

But it almost makes sense: The Mets always wanted that firebrand type of guy hanging around the clubhouse, which is why they tabbed Lou Piniella (who, by the way, was a joy Monday in the Bronx) as the first choice to succeed Bobby Valentine after 2002.

At first glance, Bowa might be considered a good fit – he certainly would be the antithesis to whatever Howe brings to the table.

But let's consider this for a moment – Bowa, the manager who has been hated by players and reporters alike in the Phillies clubhouse for years, creating a war zone within the fractions of his own club – holding a position of influence with a New York team?

This is a disaster waiting to happen. If you thought Valentine's tenure with the Mets was tumultous, we'd bet the farm that if the Mets hire Bowa, you haven't seen anything yet.

It's bad enough that Bowa has been unable to pilot a Philadelphia roster packed to the gills with talent toward a NL East title, but in the process, he's alienated several of the Phillies' biggest stars.

And it's not just media spin from reporters who have been jilted along the way by Bowa, though there seem to be enough of those to fill a significant section of Citizens Bank Park.

Pat Burrell wasn't very pleased with Bowa when the manager – who actually claimed this year that he's mellowed somewhat – lost his patience with the Phillies' big-money outfielder, and sources close to the team indicate that Bowa's relationships with Bobby Abreu, Mike Lieberthal, Jimmy Rollins and Jim Thome are tenuous at best.

Just about Bowa's biggest backer in the Phillies clubhouse is actually former Met Todd Pratt, but as the days have passed and Philadelphia's losses mounted, Pratt increasingly began to stand alone in that regard.

Mets Notes

  • The Mets are in Miami Tuesday night to open a three-game set with the Florida Marlins, who swept a four-game series last week at Shea Stadium. Tom Glavine gets the start in the first game for the free-falling Mets, who have lost nine straight and 14 of their last 15 games.

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