Following losing 4 of 5 to the Mets at home, Ryne Sandberg called a closed door clubhouse meeting to talk with the team. It was closed off to media but before they began the meeting one of the Phillies beat writers was able to hide a microphone in a locker and record the meeting. Here is the transcript:
Larry Bowa: Let me have your attention for a moment! ‘Cause you’re happy about what? You’re happy about…[puts out his cigarette]…happy about the way you are playing, some son of a bitch pitcher can’t go more than 5 innings, somebody don’t want to throw the ball to the right base, some guy don’t want to talk an extra couple steps lead. Let’s talk about something important. [to Ryne Sandberg] Are they all here?
Ryne Sandberg: All but one.
Bowa: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important! [to Ryan Howard] Put that cold cut plate down. Cold Cuts are for ball players [Howard scoffs] You think I’m fucking with you? I am not fucking with you. I grew up in Sacramento, California. I’m here for Monty and Amaro. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Howard?
Ryan Howard: Yeah.
Bowa: You call yourself a hitter, you son of a bitch?
Dom Brown: I don’t gotta listen to this shit.
Bowa: You certainly don’t, pal. ‘Cause the good news is you’re demoted to Lehigh Valley. The bad news is you’ve got, just a few weeks to turn it around or else all of you will get sent wherever the hell Amaro can get the best deal. Starting with tonight’s game. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re falling apart in the National League East here. As you all know, first place is the Atlanta Braves. Anybody wanna see who is in second place? Second place is the Florida Marlins. Finish in third place and you are kicked out of the league. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now? You got depth. Amaro and Monty paid good money. Start playing like ballplayers! You can’t close out leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks, pal, and beat it ‘cause you’re heading to the minors!!!
Jonathan Papelbon: The depth is weak.
Bowa The depth is weak. Fuckin’ depth is weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business 44 years.
Dom Brown: What’s your name?
Bowa: FUCK YOU, that’s my name!! You know why, mister? ‘Cause you are hitting .208 and playing like ass, I was a career .260 hitter and play the game the right way. That’s my name!! [to Papelbon] And your name is "soft". You say you are sore and you can’t play in a man’s game. You can’t close them. [at a near whisper] Then go home home and tell your wife your troubles. [to everyone again] Because only one thing counts in this life! Score more than the other team and win some games! You hear me, you fuckin’ faggots? [Bowa flips over a blackboard which has two sets of letters on it: ABH, and SYFH.] A-B-H. A-Always, B-Be, H-Hustling. Always be hustling! Always be hustling! S-Y-F-H. Scream, Yell, Faces, Holler. Scream do you hear the way I talk? Yell- that way people definitely hear you. And they better because it's fuck or walk. You close, you hit, you go more than 5 innings or you hit the bricks. Faces- are you being animated and making faces if things aren’t going right?!! And holler. S-Y-F-H. Get out there!! You got the prospects coming in. You think they came in to pick splinters outta their ass? A guy don’t walk on the field lest he want to play baseball. Fans sitting out there waiting to give you their money! Are you gonna make it worthwhile for them? Are you man enough to play the game the right way?
Bowa: [to Brown] What’s the problem, pal? You. Brown. [Bowa sits down.]
Brown: You’re such a hero, yelling like a crazy man who quit on the team in 2004. How come you’re coming back here wasting your time with a bunch of bums?
Bowa: You see this ring? [Bowa takes off his 1980 World Series ring.] You see this ring?
Bowa: That ring costs more than the amount of money you’ll make in your career. I helped coach the Dodgers and worked for MLB Network? What did you do? You see, pal, that’s who I am. And you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a shit. Cowboys fan? Fuck you, go home and play with your Troy Aikman figurine!! [to everyone] You wanna play baseball here? Close!! [to Jimmy Rollins] You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? Dallas Green used to throw bags of rotten peaches at us in the locker room and kicked Schmitty in the nuts multiple times?! You don’t like it, leave. I can go out there tonight, the materials you got, go 2 for 4! Tonight! Take some pitches! Can you? Can you? Go and do likewise! S-Y-F-H!! Get mad! You son of a bitches! Get mad!! You know what it takes to win baseball games? [He pulls something out of his brief case. He is holding two brass balls on string] It takes brass balls to win baseball games. [He puts them away after a pause.] Go and do likewise, boys. The runs are out there. You pick them up. There yours. You don’t, I got no sympathy for you. You wanna go out on field tonight and close, close, it’s yours. If not, you’re gonna be on the first bus outta town.. And you know what you’ll be saying, bunch of losers, sitting around in a bar. [in a mocking weak voice] "Oh yeah, I used to be a Phillie, it’s a tough racket." [He takes out large stack of red index cards tied together with string from his briefcase.] These are the new rules. These are the Bowa rules. And to you, they’re gospel. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. Only me and the guys who played with me know how to play the game the right way. [He hands the stack to Ryne Sandberg.] They’re for closers. I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. [to Brown as he puts on his ring again] And to answer your question, pal, why am I here? I came here because Monty and Amaro asked me to, they asked for a favor. I said, the real favor, follow my advice and send your fuckin’ ass to Lehigh Valley ’cause someone who is smiling while batting .208 is a loser.