First came Jimmy Rollins. Then Chase Utley. And then, yes, Larry Bowa, too.
The Phillies Reunion Tour '14 continued on Wednesday with an appearance by none other than Scott Rolen at Bright House Field. He watched batting practice with his two young kids in tow.
Rolen, who famously clashed with then-manager Larry Bowa at the end of his 7-year stay in Philadelphia, said things have been on good terms with the Phillies for a while. Five years after winning the National League Rookie of the Year, Rolen was traded from Philadelphia to St. Louis in July of 2002.
Rolen questioned the team's committment to winning at the time. He landed with a St. Louis team that won the World Series in 2006.
"I think you can look at a lot of things in your life and wonder if you’d handle things the same way, things that seemed important at the time," the 38-year-old Rolen said. "And you know what? It was important, so that's what should have happened. If you’re tying to do the right thing and you’re principled and making the right decisions, you back those decisions up. Now, 15-20 years later, whatever, the life decisions might be different. You’re 38, 39, 40 years old - not 20. That’s a pretty big gap I don’t know. I can’t say regret or anything. Everything kind of worked out as well as it could have and should have, I guess."
Nearly a dozen years later, Rolen was greeted warmly in Clearwater. Bowa shook his former third baseman's hand and smiled, offering a few pleasantries.
It was the first time Rolen had stepped onto a professional baseball field since striking out to make the last out against the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 NLDS as a member of the Cincinnati Reds.
"I’m not even sure what official retirement is," Rolen said. "If I have to put a suit on and go somewhere, then, no, I will not be officially retired. I had a couple of offers last spring with the Reds and the Dodgers (last year). I have a 6- and a 9-year-old, that kind of outweighed the two offers that I had. I played a while. It wasn’t an everyday situation for me. I just felt like it wasn't going to work out, it wasn’t what i was looking for.
"This is what I was looking for right now. We had a good year. I stayed on a baseball field, it was just a lot smaller dimensions. ... had a blast. Transitioning, the first year, like everyone says, is difficult. Even Doc Halladay, I watched his press conference and you could see relief on them. There’s no question there is some relief. But it’s a year of not doing something you’ve done since Little League, really, playing baseball. It’s a transition, but I think it’s a good transition. I’m excited to keep going with where I am."