Just slimy, gutless, superficial weasels. Too afraid to do what is right because they fear of some potential backlash, however small it may be, so they continue to put the onus on others.
Yo, Phillies fans, how does it feel to be others?
While those who own and run the team you love crawl into a “you decide … no, you decide” cave in regards on what to do with Ryan Howard, who looks like a shot, bloodied and battered fighter the last five rounds of an impossible-to-win bout, you now are the ones left to determine his fate.
As noted right here last week, this isn’t about adding to his already exponentially long list of too many chances to turn things around, or allowing him to earn his keep, a laughable feat for someone making $25M and incapable of hitting .200, or to let him finish the season with his dignity intact.
This is about PR, and PR only … and the Phillies are too chicken to pull the plug because doing so “may look bad” or “may have them fall out of favor with some fans” or, gasp, “may mean a few less tickets sold.”
So, it’s up to you, Phillies fans. If you’re able to stomach the endless nights of hitless, strikeout-filled ineptitude, he stays. For as long as you can stomach them.
But should they become too much, should they somehow finally make you relinquish that unhealthy attachment to a past that is never going to return, should they ultimately force you to state that you, Phillies fans, have had enough, that you want him gone …
He’ll be gone.
Faster than you can utter, “If only he got another series, another week, another month.”
There will be no happy ending here. No memorable exit in which the former star leaves in a blaze of glory.
This is a final act that has dragged on five years after the show closed, and it is one that needs to end for everyone invested in it – the Phillies, the Phillies fans, and, most of all, Howard.
The excuses that led to the extensions on this silliness always displayed holes as big as the crater-sized ones in Howard’s ever-devolving swing. Had he not injured his Achilles, had he only been pushed at first base …
Look, the reality is, he got hurt. It happens. It’s part of the game, it’s part of life, and as much as it may suck, it is what it is … and he has never been the same player – and, frankly, his skills already were deteriorating at a rapid rate, even at the plate.
The hero-worshipping always clouded the view on the second big pile of BS, with clarity only coming of late with the hardly viewed presence of Tommy Joseph. Hey, how Darin Ruf became persona non grata in this town is beyond me, but here are the facts – the dude, much like Howard did almost a decade earlier, showed some serious power the moment he got to the majors. Unlike Howard, the organization did not move the aging vet in front of him as it had for Howard with Jim Thome.
Untrue? Think again. Both Howard and Ruf had cups of coffee their first times up and then followed with half-seasons the next year. In Howard’s 351 at-bats then, he drilled 24 homers. In Ruf’s 284 at-bats then, he cranked 17.
Yeah, Howard’s initial pop was at a slightly more prodigious clip, his homering every 14.6 ABs to Ruf’s 16.7. But comparable.
Here, though, is the real deal: At the same time Ruf was doing his early damage, in 2012 and ’13, an aging and hobbling Howard was only homering every 21.9 ABs.
Instead of accepting that, the team’s front office stuffed its collective head in the sand. Just buried it, and kept clinging to memories of the younger Howard while, intentionally or not, destroying any possible worthwhile career Ruf could have had with the club, yo-yoing him back and forth to the minors, putting him in the outfield and forever placing him in no-win situations.
You, as Phillies fans, bought all of it … and now, here we are.
The ball is in your court. Can you end the farce once and for all, spelling relief as much for Howard as anyone else?
Because the Phillies clearly don’t have the cojones to do so.
Baseball, as much as anything in life, is about statistics, pro and con. They determine the true worth of a player in bottom-line style. You know, save for those pesky intangibles that may not show up in the box score.
Still, push comes to shove, it’s all about production … and if Ryan Howard has been hailed for anything to the highest extreme during his Phillies career it has been his ability to produce runs. Lots of ’em. So it stands to reason that he would have a lot of supporters out there.
Even now, while struggling to hit half his body weight.
Those under the belief, though, that he “carried” those offensive powerhouses the previous decade, that he was the driving force every year, might be surprised to know that … well, that ain’t really the case.
Did you know Howard wasn’t even the team leader in runs responsible for (run scored + runs batted in – home runs) during his MVP season in 2006? His 195 were good for second to Chase Utley, whose 201 matched what Howard did in 2009.
Did you know Howard finished third on the team in the same category a year later? His 183 trailed Utley (185) and Jimmy Rollins, whose career-best 203 matched Howard’s career-best 203 in 2008.
All told, yes, Howard led the way in the team’s most recent heyday, totaling 946 in his best five years. But Utley wasn’t that far behind with 914 for his five best … and, through games Tuesday, still leads Howard all-time in runs responsible for as a member of the Phillies, 1,632 to 1,615.
By comparison, the Phillies’ top career run-producers are Ed Delahanty and Mike Schmidt, whose respective RRF totals of 2,569 and 2,556 dwarf those belonging to Howard and Utley.
Top individual RRF seasons in Phillies’ history? One through five would be: Chuck Klein’s 288 (1930), then Delahanty’s 277 (1894), 272 (1893) and 263 (1899) and, finally, Klein’s 251 (1932).