Bowa, Francona in must-win situations

Updated: December 31, 2003, 11:12 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Phillies manager Larry Bowa is not a man who enjoys vacations in the traditional sense. In October he traveled to Florida to check out prospects in the instructional league. Then he visited Arizona to look at prospects in the fall league. Hey, why waste time working on your long irons when you can get a sneak preview of the 2004 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starting rotation?

In early January, Bowa will head to Hawaii for 10 days. He'll soak up the sun, write lineups on dinner napkins and wonder if this is the year Jimmy Rollins finally stops hitting the damn ball in the air so often. Then he'll return to Philadelphia to head up the winter caravan and -- time permitting -- monitor the spot welding at Citizen's Bank Park.

"I'll never be able to relax," Bowa said during the recent winter meetings. His National League East colleagues aren't helping much. Bobby Cox and Jack McKeon, in a blatant display of button-pushing, encountered Bowa in the hotel lobby in New Orleans and made sure to needle him about how formidable the Phillies look after all their off-season moves.

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer