To all those who moan about the mistreatment of Ryan Howard, about how he hasn’t been appreciated and given his just due, got three words for ya:
Get a clue.
Seriously, enough with this drivel that has as much merit his $25 million price tag this season. Howard was as celebrated as any athlete in this town, including Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley, during his prime and beyond. If anything, Howard has been handled with kid gloves the last handful of years, just like his former Phillies teammates were before departing town last year.
Yet, listen enough to his supporters and the PC police who reside among the local media, and you’ll get the impression this guy not only was held to a different standard, but had the villagers coming after him with pitchforks and fire in some sort of distorted pro sports version of a modern-day Frankenstein.
Only two athletes in my lifetime, individuals who rated at Howard’s level, if not above, ever could have claimed to be placed in such a role:
It’s kinda amazing to hear Phillies fans old enough to remember Schmitty’s heyday strum the violin for Howard. There is no comparison to how bad it was for the former compared to the latter. Schmidt’s famous quip that noted Philly was the only place you could experience the thrill of victory one night and the agony of reading about it the next day had merit when it came to him.
His aloofness and often awkward way of communicating, in many ways, made him persona non grata with, first, the media in town, and, then, the fan base … because here the two are interminably intertwined, and forever influenced by the other. The fact he was arguably the best player of his generation didn’t even seem to matter – until the final days of his Hall of Fame career came to a close.
Sorry, Howard never suffered such foolishness.
A more contemporary comparison to Howard, since their careers overlapped, D-Mac, as Eagles QB, held the most important position in town (sorry, mayor) for close to a decade and mostly excelled in handling the duties that came with it. But you’d hardly know it. Oh, he had supporters, no doubt.
Yet, even now, we spend more time discussing his failings and even one of his own protectors on the offense line leads the debate as to whether or not McNabb threw up during the Super Bowl. Really, we can’t move on from that? It was more than a decade ago.
Rarely do we hear about McNabb’s toughness, including the fact he carried the Birds to victory one time in 2002 with a broken ankle. With Howard, it’s been a never-ending testament to the trials and tribulations he has endured due to a torn Achilles.
C’mon, people. Get a grip. This town isn’t nearly as tough on its athletes, its stars, as it likes to claim, and Howard certainly didn’t get the brunt of anything. McNabb and Schmidt did, and that’s about it.