Clubhouse Personality Clashes Becoming Clearer

With the Phillies' season over and some of the departed staff starting to talk, it's becoming painfully obvious that the Phillies clubhouse wasn't exactly a comfortable place to be. Perhaps the dysfunctional atmosphere had something to do with the Phillies disappointing season as personalities and egos apparently clashed on a regular basis.

Larry Bowa has done a couple interviews now since his firing. He has also stepped in as an analyst with ESPN, appearing on both Baseball Tonight and SportsCenter. Plus, Joe Kerrigan appeared on Comcast's Daily News Live Wednesday to talk about his tenure in Philadelphia.

It's all starting to become pretty revealing.

First, for Bowa. The deposed Phillies manager admitted to ESPN's Dan Patrick that had he been the general manager, he likely would have fired himself, too. Bowa's main contention is that the front office - mainly, Ed Wade - didn't deal with him in a stand up sort of way. Instead, Bowa insists that Wade never gave him a true picture of the situation, preferring instead to insist that he hadn't made a decision on Bowa's fate.

Ed Wade has told reporters "that was absolutely not the case," when told about Bowa's feelings. Instead, Wade insists that he only made up his mind about firing Bowa in the last few days of the season. Wade also insists that he would have waited until after the season to make the move had Bowa not pushed the issue. Wade had guaranteed that Bowa would be the Phillies manager for the rest of the season, but wound up dismissing him with two games remaining.

Then, there's Joe Kerrigan.

On Wednesday's Daily News Live, Kerrigan both ripped and defended catcher Mike Lieberthal. Kerrigan said that he knew when he took the job with the Phillies that Lieberthal's catching ability was part of the problem with the pitching staff. Kerrigan insisted that Lieberthal was weak at framing pitches and handling a staff. However, when Lieberthal's clubhouse attitude was called into play, Kerrigan defended him and insisted that he was not part of any clubhouse problem.

Kerrigan also talked about pitchers not following game plans and refusing to work on things that Kerrigan wanted them to work on. The fact that Kerrigan had run-ins with Kevin Millwood and Brett Myers has been long documented. Rumors about a run-in between Kerrigan and reliever Tim Worrell circled this season, but Kerrigan would neither confirm or deny that the two engaged in a shoving match during the season. Kerrigan spoke at length about the difficult personalities on the club and believes that the Phillies need a manager who can deal with the various egos on the roster.

It all seems that the Phillies clubhouse simply was not a place of cohesiveness and was certainly not overflowing with anything resembling a team spirit. Instead, it was a place where behind the scenes finger pointing was very much the norm. While the Phillies built a beautiful and comfortable new clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park, the players egos made it anything but comfortable.

While some of these accusations may be sour grapes and while personality clashes are always bound to happen, the Phillies may need to look at the situation with an open mind. While Ed Wade is somewhat removed from daily dealings with the players, if his personality isn't trusted in baseball circles, it could keep some top managerial prospects from being fully interested in coming to Philadelphia. And, if the clubhouse is as much of a mess as it seems to be, that issue needs to be addressed as well. Players of today are difficult to manage. Their egos inflate with the size of their paychecks and clashes are going to be difficult to avoid. However, the Phillies may need to take a look at just what they've got and determine if they may need to jettison a few egos that may take up too much room in the clubhouse.

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