OK, yeah, we get the outrage and uproar. My lord, someone had the audacity to throw a beer bottle at Ryan Howard – with the accuracy of Joe “Must Go” Cowley … that would be the wide-right, wide-left, wide-everywhere version of Joe Cowley, mind you, after he’s had a few brews, and, now, good grief, we may have to worry about the longtime-shadow-of-himself slugger getting booed and leaving Philly, eventually, in a huff.
Oh, the humanity …
But, seriously, folks, when will the real madness end?
Not for nothing, but this tired, futile clinging onto the past has nil to do with the fans unable to move on or the nitwit Saturday night who heaved a projectile at Howard and then symbolically hauled ass outta Citizens Bank Park in a way he apparently wished the Phillies first baseman would.
Faster than the club can say, “ticket sales, we hardly knew ye,” the big fella should be gone.
Gone for his own safety.
Gone for his own dignity.
Gone for his own legacy.
Gone for his own sanity … and everyone else’s.
Sorry, but this “unable to let go” dance has gone on 2-3 years past any legit expiration date. Declining skills are one thing, and those showed in glaring fashion 5 years ago. Adjusting to those while still allowing the “love” flow is somewhat understandable. The guy was still productive in 2010 and ’11.
By 2012, though, he wasn’t just a liability in the field anymore. He was everywhere, and has remained as such ever since … to the point now that his presence on the team is nothing more than a combo of laughable and sad to those with a conscience and a grasp of reality while remaining something that requires medical assistance for those who don’t.
First and foremost, that latter group includes who runs the Phillies, and who have in the last few seasons, from Ruben Amaro to Charlie Manuel to Andy MacPhail to Matt Klentak to Pete Mackanin. All of them – repeat, ALL of them – are as responsible for Saturday night’s stupidity as anyone, including the tub of goo who had the beer muscles-fueled gall to let fly.
There is no reason for Howard to be on the Phillies.
Loyalty, money, fan interest … go ahead, name all the rationalizations you choose, they all fail in the face of reality: Howard can NOT play at more, and nothing truly worthwhile can be gained by him holding a spot on the roster.
Frankly, incidents such as the one Saturday do more damage than most would fear had the bottle connected with, say, Howard’s cranium. They create sympathy for the “victim,” and steer the masses away from the issue at hand – that the guy they fell for a decade ago hasn’t existed for years, and that him sticking around all this time has only hurt the club.
The fact that those running the club enabled it to happen … well, positively nonsense.
Tommy Joseph's start with the 2016 Phillies is very similar to a former organizational prospect at first base.
WE'VE SEEN THIS BEFORE ... SORT OF
Like Tommy Joseph.
Like his story. Like his makeup. Like his swing.
But, gotta be honest, not seeing much difference between him and Darin Ruf, the forsaken slugger in the Phillies organization forever destined to almost refugee status in the farm system.
Yo, if we’re gonna be talking Ryan Howard and his supposed replacement, let’s keep it real here, folks.
Frankly, only thing that seems to separate Joseph and Ruf is that the newcomer is getting a chance the latter did not.
Check this out: Joseph, in his first 33 at-bats in the bigs this spring, had 10 hits, three homers, four runs scored and five RBIs. For his solid debut, he’s been granted a preliminary fulltime-starter-in-waiting tag. Ruf, in his first 33 at-bats in the bigs four years ago, had 11 hits, three homers, four runs and 10 RBIs. For his even better debut, he was granted another trip down to Triple-A.
Timing, obviously, plays a big role in life, perhaps nowhere more so than in sports, and Joseph, clearly, has arrived at a time when Howard’s worst days are just too apparent to ignore anymore. Then again, he wasn’t killing it in 2012, either, when Ruf arrived.
The Phillies, with their incessant excuse-making and kowtowing to Howard’s ego, destroyed any potential career Ruf had in Philly, yo-yoing him up and down the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and then placing him in impossible-to-succeed situations when he was here and they opted, sparingly, to use him on a whim.
Kid yourself all you want, rationalize the Phillies’ misuse of him all you like, but that kid never got a legit shot to prove himself.
The hope now is that the chord is finally cut from Howard, and Joseph really gets one.