Results tagged ‘ fans ’

Get Over Ryan Howard

howard trophy

The Ryan Howard obsession needs to end.

It came to a head Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park, where a fan threw a beer bottle at Howard probably because, you know, Howard is hitting .151 in the final season of a five-year, $125 million contract. I am guessing the fan is tired of seeing Howard on the field and he wants him to go away. Many fans have expressed this sentiment recently, especially after Pete Mackanin put Howard on the bench so Tommy Joseph can play. But rather than boo Howard, the fan cowardly chucked a plastic beer bottle as Howard walked into the Phillies’ dugout. I assume the fan scurried up the grandstand steps and out of the ballpark as quickly as possible, high-fiving his buddies or texting them afterward about what he did.

Too bad for the alleged bottle thrower there is video and photos of him, and the matter has been turned over to the Philadelphia Police Department.

Listen up. From what I understand there are no plans to release Howard. None. Now, things might change. Things often change. But right now there are no plans to release Howard. And you know what? It doesn’t matter. It just doesn’t. So, honestly, get over it.

After all, what would releasing Howard accomplish at this point?

Mackanin already has made Howard a bench player, so he is not taking away playing time from anybody. Howard is not blocking the next great Phillies first baseman. Releasing Howard and calling up Darin Ruf (or somebody else) in a reserve role will not catapult the Phillies to the postseason. The Phillies have too many weaknesses in too many places to play in October. Keeping Howard on the 25-man roster the rest of the season is not stunting the Phillies’ rebuilding plans, either. They’re rebuilding just fine with him in a reserve role. In fact, Howard has provided guidance and leadership to the team’s youngest players. He has said all the right things.

He is not an issue in the clubhouse.

We are talking about four more months, folks. Four months. That’s it. Four more months and Howard’s Phillies career is over. Are four more months really that big of a deal? Some people are really that angry about it?

I know some people are concerned about Howard’s legacy being tainted. I thought about that, too. But then I thought more about it. Sure, it was sad to see Willie Mays falling over in center field in his final season with the Mets. Sure, it was sad to see Charlie Manuel get fired. But Mays’ legacy has not been ruined. He is still regarded as one of the greatest players in baseball history. And every time I’ve seen Manuel step onto the field at Citizens Bank Park he receives a standing ovation. When the Phillies introduce Howard in 2028 at the 20th anniversary of the 2008 World Series championship team, Howard will get his ovation, too. His legacy won’t be ruined. It just won’t be.

Howard deserves better than this. Has he been paid handsomely? Of course. Has he underachieved most of his contract, compared to the first half of his career? Yes. But the fact remains Howard is the greatest first baseman in franchise history. He won the 2006 NL MVP, the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year and he hit cleanup as the Phillies won one World Series, two NL pennants and five consecutive NL East titles from 2007-11. He also is one of the most community-minded players the Phillies have had in years, and one of the most standup players I have come across. These things mean something to the Phillies, who are looking at the bigger picture here. The vocal minority should, too.

The Phillies have many issues. Howard finishing the season on the 25-man roster is not one of them.

Affeldt Wrong About Philly’s Impact on Free Agents

affledt 2Hola, amigos. I know it’s been a while since I last rapped at ya … but I just read Jeremy Affeldt‘s farewell column on, where he listed the five things he will not miss about baseball.

Fifth on the list? Philadelphia.

Why? The terrible, terrible fans.

Affeldt wrote, “The irony is, while Phillies fans succeed in making many players dread traveling there, they also (not surprisingly) impact the decision-making process of those same players in free agency. Sure, it’s great to play for a rabid fan base, but after experiencing firsthand how powerful that fervor can be when it is channeling extreme negativity, it really makes you think twice about where all that collective anger comes from, and whether you want to subject yourself and your family to that all the time.”

But let’s be real about this. It’s easy to sit in the visitors’ bullpen at Citizens Bank Park and tell your teammate, “I’d never sign here. Not for all the money in the world.” It’s something entirely different to get a competitive offer from the Phillies in the offseason and say, “Nope. Not signing there.”

Affeldt is in the final season of a three-year, $18 million contract. That’s great money for a relief pitcher. Perhaps Affeldt truly is the exception to the rule, but hypothetically speaking if the Giants decided not to resign him following the 2012 season and the Phillies offered him that three-year, $18 million contract, I bet his concerns about Phillies fans would have disappeared. You see, money rules, almost without exception. Jim Thome is one of baseball’s all-time good guys, but he left Cleveland for the mean streets of Philly because the Phillies offered him the biggest contract. Cliff Lee took less money to come to Philly because he loved his time here so much in 2009. Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt waived no-trade clauses to come to Philly because they wanted to win. Raul Ibanez is one of baseball’s all-time good guys. He came to Philly, too.

But this happens everywhere. Not just Philadelphia. Free agents almost always go where the best contract is.

So don’t let Affeldt worry you. There aren’t groups of free agents steering their agents away from Philadelphia because the fans are mean. Are there a few players that might feel this way? Does Philly’s reputation gives some players some pause? I’m sure there are. But quite honestly, those players probably wouldn’t succeed in Philly anyway. If they’re that concerned about the fans then it’s probably for the best.

But to say Phillies fans truly impact the decision-making process in free agency is hyperbole. Believe me, if the money is there or the team is winning (or both, which was the case from 2007-11) the Phillies won’t have any problems signing anybody they want in the future. In fact, I have absolutely no doubt that when the Phillies decide to reenter the free agency pool in a big way they will do just that.

Postseason Preview Week

I still don’t understand why Joe West reviewed a non-home run call on instant replay, especially when Charlie Manuel never asked him to review it. (West said Manuel did, but Manuel did not speak with West until after he reviewed the play so that seems impossible — unless telepathy was involved.) I’ve got to think something will happen to West, some sort of disciplinary action, although I doubt we’ll hear about it. But I will bet the final score stands because MLB does not have a history of overturning rulings in protested games.

I also don’t understand why fans insist on reaching onto the field of play to catch baseballs. I know, it’s instinct, yadda, yadda, yadda. I say have some self awareness. Hey, I’m in the first or second row, if a ball comes my way I’m not going to do anything that might make me the next Steve Bartman or cost my team a victory. (The fans offer their sides of the story here. “Get over it,” one said.)

But, as Cliff Lee would say, whatever.

That’s yesterday.

Today the Phillies begin a stretch of seven consecutive games against two teams they could face in the postseason. They open a three-game series tonight against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park before flying to Milwaukee to play the Brewers in a four-game series at Miller Park. If the postseason started today the Phillies would be playing Arizona in the NLDS, while Atlanta would be playing Milwaukee. If those seeds held in the first round the Phillies would be playing either Atlanta or Milwaukee for the NL pennant.

So there’s certainly plenty of intrigue this week.

To recap:

  • Joe West: Huh?
  • Interferring fans: Really, dude?
  • This week’s games: Oooooh.


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Victorino Files Complaint

victorino beer catch.jpgShane Victorino never felt the beer or the cup hit him as he made the catch.

A Cubs fan threw a full beer on Victorino as he made a catch at the left-center field wall in the fifth inning last night in 12-5 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Victorino only realized what happened after the fact.

“I didn’t even know it was happening,” Victorino said. “It didn’t affect me at all.”

Victorino said he does not want to press charges, but he said would file a complaint with Chicago police. He has since filed that complaint. The Cubs also filed a complaint with the fan.

The fan could be charged with assault.

“We’ll look for him, and we’ll hand it over to police,” Victorino said. “If I file a complaint, they’ll at least go get the guy. If I press charges, he gets arrested. He’s probably at home laughing right now watching all these replays, ‘Ah, they got the wrong guy. I got away with it.'”

Cubs security pulled the wrong fan from the stands because he appeared to pointing at Victorino after it happened.

“We’re going to get the right guy,” Victorino said.

Victorino later said on the field, “I hope he gets to understanding that you can’t do stuff like that. If it happens on the streets, I don’t think he’d be walking too far with something like that happening in the streets. It’s just not something that you do. The big picture is this guy should be held accountable.”

Update (7 p.m.): Chicago police said a man believed to have dumped the beer on Victorino has turned himself in. Chicago police detectives entered the Phillies clubhouse following the team’s 6-1 victory over the Cubs. Victorino declined comment.

Update (10 p.m.): We’ve got a name!


Photo courtesy of Chicago Sun-Times.


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Romero Involved in Incident with Rays Fan

romero mug.jpgA man tells The St. Petersburg Times that J.C. Romero assaulted him Thursday night after he made a comment to him about steroids.

Robert Eaton told the Times that Romero grabbed him by the neck and pushed him following Thursday night’s game between the Phillies and Rays at Tropicana Field.

“We are disappointed to learn about the alleged incident with a Rays fan and one of our players following Thursday night’s game at Tropicana Field,” the Phillies said today in a statement. “We are in the process of gathering all of the details surrounding the situation. Until such information is provided, it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”

Eaton told the newspaper that he was attempting to get autographs from Phillies players. Once a few Phillies players declined, Eaton said he said something like, “How about you get me some juice?” to Romero.

Romero just finished serving a 50-game suspension for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancing substances.

Eaton said Romero told him to “shut the f— up” and that he didn’t know what he was talking about

“He reared back and kinda grazed my chin and grabbed me by the neck and threw me back,” Eaton told the Times. “I was in shock.”

Eaton has hired a lawyer.

“I don’t feel what I said was wrong,” Eaton said. “I feel if you cheat the game you’re going to hear it from people. He brought that on himself. I just can’t believe that a professional athlete would cross the line.”


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