Steely, rigid silence is always an option, as distant relationships with various father figures over the years have taught us.
"You catch the game last night?"
Unlike your grandfather, rocking silently in his chair, Larry can't lie his way out of this one. You know he saw the game last night. He was there. We can probably assume, however, that Larry Bowa does not respond well to being cornered, even conversationally. Ask this at your own peril.
"How about that Hansel Robles, right?"
Obviously we characterize Bowa a lot as being angry. Most of his reputation is built on having a quick trigger for emotional responses, set off by the breaking of certain unwritten rules. However, Bowa doesn't explode too much anymore. In fact, we have to go all the way back to August 2015 to see his most recent outburst, targeted toward Mets hurler Hansel Robles for quick-pitching Darin Ruf.
This of course led to one of the most awkward smiles in Darin Ruf's career of awkward smiles.
"Do you actually chew bats to stave off your teeth growing too long and impaling your brain?"
Let's really get the ball rolling on this rumor.
"My wife left me."
If there's anyone who can enjoy another round of a commonly-used internet joke, it's Larry Bowa.
"What is the most furious you have ever been?"
Again, Bowa doesn't tear people in half much anymore, but this question is worth asking for the historical aspect. However, it is all too easy for his response to be a grim silence, then a ghastly howling noise coming through the phone as Bowa is unable to recall the memory without feeling the emotions he had during it. The visual in this case would be Bowa opening his mouth as streams of otherworldly light pours from his eyes, ears, and mouth, but thankfully, it's a phone conversation, so you won't have to witness this when it inevitably happens.
"What's Ryne Sandberg's appeal?"
I imagine Bowa as a guy who stifles his positive emotions, like love or friendship, down deep inside. That said, he was brought onto ex-manager Ryne Sandberg's staff because of their close, amicable relationship. Since we the fans maintain a certain level of bitterness toward Sandberg, maybe get the other side of the story. Or, maybe getting him to talk about a subject as sappy as this would just get him to do the light/mouth thing, too.
"Why don't the Phillies have an alternate-cap with a Phanatic logo on it?"
I too don't believe Bowa is on the inside of the merchandising circles, but let's just slip this idea directly into the organization. There won't be many changes. Have you tried yelling uniform suggestions at the team while they're on the field? I have seen no proof that it's effective. Yet.
"Who smelled best on the 1980 team?"
He may not WANT to answer, but you know he HAS an answer for it.
"Do you miss your mustache?"
At some point in every man's life, the decision to grow a strip of hair under his nose and above his upper lip is undeniable. Science has been unable/unwilling to explain this phenomenon, and that has left humanity with nothing but questions moving forward. Bowa went through all of this, like any man, and, like any man, he made the heart-wrenching decision to cut the 'stache down after reaching a certain age. This decision haunts him, leading to wild, unchecked aggression over the course of many years.
"Let's explore that," you'll say to a clearly rattled Bowa.
"What was your mustache's name?"
There's a really good chance Bowa won't want to discuss this highly personal matter with you, a stranger on a telephone. You're going to have to force it out of him. Maybe get him angry, so that he blurts it out.
"IT WAS BILLIAM!" he might scream abruptly. "It was Billiam," he'll say again, quieter, through tears.
"Should I grow a mustache?"
You know what the answer to this question is. And shame on you, making this about yourself while Bowa punches a hole in the wall on the other end of the phone.
"What is the mystery item giveaway?"
Wait for him to calm down. This convo has been a real rollercoaster. But at the same time, he can't expect us to live with this kind of suspense.