In Larry Bowa's mind, the Phillies and most other teams will never be confused with the Yankees, and not just because of the billion-dollar payroll wielded without apology by the Bronx Bombers.
That attitude Bowa says the Phillies lack permeated the winningest team in baseball, by design, Bowa learned in this, his first season in New York.
"It's not an issue of if you get to the playoffs, but it's 'you'd better get to the playoffs" around here," Bowa, the Yankees' third base coach, said. "That's the goal, and it's non-stop here. Anything can happen once you get to the postseason, but in the speeches from Joe Torre and the front office in spring training were, 'we expect to play when it's cold out.'
"In my situation, a lot of times I was told, you can't be that competitive. You put too much pressure on people, which I think is hogwash."
Bowa believes true leaders can take the cues to win, no matter how aggressive and relentless the message.
Again, he points to the Yankees clubhouse, where Pressure is always spelled with a capital P.
It's amazing, the leaders here. When [Gary] Sheffield puts on the uniform, the way he plays, ARod, Moose Mussina, [Johnny] Damon. I mean, I could go all up and down the lineup. I don't want to leave anybody out. But when your leaders do it, obviously it makes everything easier for the staff and the front office, for everyone."
Money doesn't assure that, Bowa knows. Lots of bloated payrolls fell way short of the promised land this final week of the regular season. Not the Yankees, some of whom wouldn't recognize October if it didn't contain a playoff series or two.
"Look, a season is a grind. It takes a special person to grind it out, from the first day of spring training until the end," said Bowa. Look, a season is a grind. It takes a special person to grind it out, from the first day of spring training until the end.
"We had two guys go down in Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui - and you're talking 50, 60 home runs and 250 RBIs between them. And the kids filled in.
we had two guys go down in Sheffield and Hideki Matsui - and you're talking 50, 60 home runs and 250 RBIs between them. And the kids filled in."
Kids like Melky Cabrera and Robinson Canoe, the No. 9 hitter who threatened to win a batting title going into the last day of the season.
"When you get players who grind it out and never let up, it makes a difference. When you get a group of them it's something special," said Bowa. "Most teams don't have groups of them."
The Yankees seldom don't, a case of the rich not only getting richer, but picking right when it comes time to choose the pick of the big-league all-star litters.