After the Pirates pounded the last nail in the Phillies' 2004 coffin with a 6-1 win behind the probably-great pitcher Oliver Perez, Larry Bowa indulged in the most blatant act of dissembling cover-your-assery seen this side of Scott McClellan:
"[Kevin] Millwood's missed 34 games, [Randy] Wolf 47, [Vicente] Padilla 66, [Ryan] Madson 34, [Billy] Wagner 65, [Pat] Burrell 28, Polanco 28...I mean, what are you gonna do?" Bowa said. "And we're six [games] over .500? If somebody had told me this, I would have said, 'Man, you have got to be crazy.' "
I'm sure Braves manager Bobby Cox--who lost Marcus Giles, Chipper Jones and Paul Byrd for long stretches and Horacio Ramirez for most of the year, after seeing a virtual all-star team depart during the offseason--is crying his eyes out as he sips the annual division-clinching champagne. While the Braves dealt with injuries by slotting in serviceable fill-ins like Nick Green, Charles Thomas and the usual assortment of who-dat pitchers, the Phils ran human white flag Paul Abbott out there... and Bowa complained about the inadequate quality of his replacements.
Watching him get fired, hopefully as soon as next week, will be a rare moment of grim satisfaction in this rotten baseball year.