Bowa's blast fails to wake up sleep-walking Phillies

Not even Larry Bowa can wake this Phillies team from its sleepwalk into the abyss.

Bowa apparently had seen enough of the Phils' lackadaisical, sloppy play during a horrid home stand that saw them drop four of five to the Mets, in the process watching their home record hit a less than mediocre 12-19. The Phils had just gone 4-7 on their longest home stand of the season.

Bowa apparently decided it was time to let off some steam. He went on 97.5 FM The Fanatic yesterday and aired out the team, questioning their effort and even if some of them were major league caliber.

"You've got players here playing in the big leagues who aren't playing like big leaguers," Bowa railed.

It was exactly why the fans still love the guy, and why players chafe at his role with the team. Bowa tried this approach as a manager and it didn't work, forcing the Phillies to bring in the avuncular, much more player-friendly Charlie Manuel.

They won a world championship with "Uncle Cholly." But those days are just a glimmer in the rear-view mirror. Bowa clearly believes - as most fans do - that this team, in particular the perplexing Dom Brown and some others - needed a message. So he sent a howitzer across the bow, scorching them on the radio.

Manager Ryne Sandberg followed Bowa's blast with a closed-door team meeting in Washington before the opener of a three-game set vs. the Nats.

Apparently neither Bowa nor Sandberg made a lot of different.

The Phils looked dead once again in falling meekly, 7-0, to the Nationals.

Now what? The Phillies are 8 games under .500 at 24-32 and fading fast.

The season is in danger of getting away from them.

Ruben Amaro Jr. needs to step up and send a follow-up message to Bowa's rant.

Or simply hand out the 'For Sale' sign as the team becomes sellers as the trade deadline nears.