Another Sad Ending for Ryan Howard

Posted by Pat Gallen, Sat, October 08, 2011 02:47 AM | Comments: 91
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

Can Ryan Howard make a comeback? (PHOTO AP)

It was not a dream, although it appeared to be a mirage. If anything, it was just the baseball Gods being completely perverse. Ryan Howard making the final out of the season in the playoffs just happened again.

Now, to make matters worse, the man who is set to begin a five-year, $125 million deal in 2012, likely has an achillies tendon tear, an injury that could cost him six months or more. Howard will have an MRI to figure out the extent of the damage.

If the news is true – and it likely is since he said it following the game – the second guessers will have a field day. Is this what Howard gets for signing his name on that lucrative deal last season? It seems like it’s been nothing but a slippery downhill slope since that time.

If you look at the numbers, it’s been a spiral for Howard over the past few seasons. His power numbers have declined, his OPS has sunk like a brick, and his health has suffered. Ahead lies a major setback far worse than his mechanically-wrecked swing; one that will only add fuel to the fire that has been set around him. In my head, I picture Howard running from an angry mob wearing red pinstripes. Except he’s slowly fading. And at the end, he breaks down and succumbs to the mass of humanity. The weight of the world has finally collapsed on Ryan Howard.

Perhaps it’s our fault, in a way. We as fans expect Howard to be the 50-homer, 140 RBI guy that he’s been in the past. His contract stipulates that we believe this, right? And since he’s clearly no longer that person, it’s easy to gang up on him. But have our own beliefs about what it is to be a power hitter making nine figures made it harder on Howard?

Hell, it was just two short seasons ago that he was the toast of the town, the apple of our eye. We’d never want anyone else to man the bag at first. He was a Phillie through and through, a native son who grew up through the farm system to become one of our own. He led the Phillies to a second straight World Series. And now, many can’t wait until that five-year deal is through.

But, let’s not kick a man when he’s down. Howard is human like the rest of us, just with a fatter wallet and a couple of endorsement deals.

Howard deserves our support because he’s been a team player and a leader of a franchise that has made the playoffs in five consecutive seasons. Never has Howard been problematic in the clubhouse or on the streets of Philadelphia like many athletes before him. He’s the anti-Allen Iverson.

Howard owned up following a painful injury and loss – he spoke to the media while others like Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins did not.

As baseball fans and paying customers, criticism is absolutely warranted. There is no doubt about that. Finishing the playoffs 0-for-15, or hitting just .249 in the regular season with a career-low .838 OPS deserves a backlash. He’s paid to produce much, much more than that. However, instead of laying blame at the feet of an easy target, I implore you to rethink it.

Placido Polanco didn’t show up to the playoffs. Carlos Ruiz seemed to run out of gas. Hunter Pence could have been better. Raul Ibanez struggled mightily. It was a team effort – or lack thereof.

Instead of calling this a knockout, rally behind Howard – or try to at least, because I know that’s a tough chore at this time. Because the fact is, he’ll be here for five more seasons, manning that bag like he always does, hat slightly titled. His linebacker-like body may continue to give him trouble as the years go on, but he’ll have to learn to cope and figure out a way to stay on the field.

He’ll have to fix his busted swing. He’ll have to work harder than he’s ever worked this offseason and for every one following. And Phillies Nation will have to support him because he’s got us and we’ve got him.

It may not be the happiest marriage it’s ever been, but to live together we’ll all have to figure some things out to make it work. And we can do that, because as Roy Halladay said after the toughest loss of his life that we’re the greatest fans he’s ever been around. Let’s live to Doc’s standards and let’s be behind each and every Phillie.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    @ pat
    Good article to begin the off season.

    Ill be here if not banned.
    6 months should be enough.

    Very sad. Howard gave his all. I wont ask for more.

    Its over. This is it.
    Id give anything to play on sunday.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    This was a very sad sad sad ending of the season. To make it worse Howard gets injured on the last play as the Card’s celebrate. Double painful to watch at Homefield…I hope the big man is OK though….this is just sad for Philadelphia again…

  • Posts: 0 the fan

    that is two years in a row we gotta watch another team celebrate on our turf now

  • Posts: 0 Glutenous

    Offense just flat out died after the 3rd inning of game 2. I was at he park for that game, and as everyone was filing out after the last out was made, I heard someone in my vicinity make an ominous statement. “It is quieter now than it was last year when we lost to the Giants,” they said. It was as if we all collectively knew, even if sub-consciously, that that was THE pivotal game in the series, and I really believe that is the case. Losing an early 4 run lead with Cliff on the mound, while mustering only 2 hits in the final 7 innings was a sign of bad things to come. Instead of taking a commanding 2-0 lead in the series, the wind was taken from the sails of the Phillies that night. What a disappointing end to a fantastic season. It is going to be a long Winter people. There is one thing we can all be sure of, and that is that this offseason will bring about some changes. Maybe even some surprising ones.

  • Posts: 30 Gavin

    Avatar of Gavin

    When he comes back, he’ll be better than ever!

  • Posts: 0 Troutman

    Gavin, what makes you believe Howard will be “better than ever”? He is brutal. Two years in a row he has come up microscopic in the playoffs. He’s old, he’s hurt now, and he’s a mess mechanically. Additionally, his approach at the plate completely sucks. A walk every once in a while would be the worst thing, would it there Ryan? Can’t stand the blind optimist on here sometimes…going to be a long dry spell for this club now. Nucleus is old and feeble.

    Only way anything changes is if RAJ gets very aggressive and can dump a large, wasted salary like Howard for some youth. JBlow…buh bye. Reyes? Punk, but an upgrade. Pujols at 1B instead of the Big Piece (of crap)? For sure. Should be an interesting offseason. Put it this way, if it ISN’T an interesting offseason, the Phils may not make the playoffs next year. Things need to change with this lineup.

    • Posts: 30 Gavin

      Avatar of Gavin

      I agree on how bad he was this year, but I think that’s not just in how he thinks about baseball, but it’s also because of all the little injuries he’s had. If he now is out for such a long time, he can not only recover from this injury, but also all the others. And I’m not saying that will change his approach at the plate, but being absolutely healthy will help.

      • Posts: 549 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        How can you say you do not argue that he is a mess mechanically, but believe just by being healthy all while being a mess mechanically, he will be better than ever? If he can go back to what he was in 05 or 06 where he had power, and had a decent AVG, than great, but he lost weight, lost power, changed his plate discipline, all to improve in the field. Sure he was able to get to some extra ground balls in the field, but at the detrimant of power/RBI’s. He is NOT a bad player. He is still a good player, but he is NOT worth the amount of money he is getting paid. And being healthy will not do anything unless he changes he approach at the plate again. Stand closer maybe, work on opposite field (which will probably come by moving closer to the plate.

    • Posts: 1 lildave1228

      Avatar of lildave1228

      I agree ..I am so sik of his comming up small …………..so smalllllllllllllllll…..his head is so not in the game …..get closer to the plate bum . you cant guess fast ball . they arent gonna throw u a fast ball bum learn to hit anything ……oh I FORGOT >>>25 million what should he care . he gets paid anyway ….

    • Posts: 549 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      Rayes might be skilled, but he is hurt all the time. He is hurt more than J-Roll and he is 4 YEARS YOUNGER! Why go to get Reyes if he is hurt more than J-Roll, is only an offensive upgrade, and honestly would probably kill the current clubhouse. There is alot to say about personalities in the clubhouse, and playing like a team. As much I would like to see RAJ ditch Howard and go after Pujols or Fielder, it just aint gonna happen. If you think it will, I have an awesome bridge for you to buy!

  • Posts: 2005 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    “Perhaps it’s our fault, in a way. We as fans expect Howard to be the 50-homer, 140 RBI guy that he’s been in the past. His contract stipulates that we believe this, right? And since he’s clearly no longer that person, it’s easy to gang up on him. But have our own beliefs about what it is to be a power hitter making nine figures made it harder on Howard?”

    You are obviously attempting as any good reported, to cover all reasoning for why there is perhaps such anger. Lets just clarify for those that have not, Ryan Howard set the expectations, not us.

    The entire offense had an off year. Frankly, if we did not have Stutes and Worley to compliment Lee, Doc & Hamels, the Phils may not have made it this far. Seriously – compare the offense this year to that of the 4 years previous. How mediocre – The Phils top hitter, Chooch was maybe the least productive hitter in the majors this year with 42 rbi in a full season. Raul, Poly need to move on. There is a chance that the face of the offense, Jimmy Rollins might be leading off for another team (and fade into oblivion ala Burrell, Roland).

    Regarding Ryan, there really is not much sympathy. Hurt or not, for the most part he looked like he was guessing when swinging and lucky when he got a hit. I think he needs to get over himself, forget the “Superman” moniker burnt into his shoulder and start concentrating on just making contact not saving the world with one mighty swing.

    I am saddened, near sick. A 3 hit shutout in the most important game of the season. The Phils did hit the ball hard but for the most part right where the defense was sitting waiting for it. A 1,2,3 final few innings. I feel cheated, jipped.

  • Posts: 2005 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    Sorry, I just woke up and misspelling abound -

  • Posts: 0 Doug

    I think most would agree that we overpaid him when we signed the contract, but he was going to command a big contract. I’ve been in philly six years and it’s hard to imagine anyone else over at first. It’s just hard when you’ve decided to shell out so much money, and the other team in the playoff will intentionally walk a guy to face him. I think it’s fair to say that what we really want is a return to some semblance of form.

    Fingers crossed that the second guesses heckle him after it turns out not to be a tear. It’d suck to have him out.

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    So here we are on Day 1 of the offseason. I told someone last night that the “sun will rise tomorrrow” and it has. We all feel cheated somehow, I guess. Such is life as a Philly sports fan. While we’ve had championships along the way …Phillies, Flyers, Sixers, Villanova in the NCAAs (Eagles don’t count beacuse it was tooooooooooo long ago)…..this is the way it is a lot of the time here. We expect it. That’s why 2008 was so sweet.

    Yes, we do need to support Ryan and make this marriage work – great analogy, Pat!! I will say that without him next year….which could be a real possibility…. this lineup is in real trouble.

    I’ve heard all kinds of things in the last 8 hours that the Phillies could do and one is to move Mayberry to first, hope to God that Brown is ready to play everyday in left and re-sign Raul for MUCH LESS MONEY to be a lefty off the bench to replace Gload. Galvis doesn’t appear to be ready to play so I think you need to try to sign Rollins but for 3 years plus an option only.

    Polanco will have the off-season surgery and will probably be ready to go and Chase played better than we all thought he would for beginning the season on the DL like he did. So he’s less of a concern to me right now.

    There’s much, much more such as what to do with the pitching staff but that’s another topic I guess.

    I’ll watch the Eagles tomorrow out of the corner of my eye, praying that they can get it together. And go Flyers. God, I hate the winter!!

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Shumaker battled Roy until he got a hanger he could drill. Carpenter outpitches Halladay and that the game. Howard INEXPLICABLY AND WITH NO ONE ON swings 3-0. So stupid and unnecessary in a game where one run is like 10. Carpenter pitched a terrific game. I noticed no one thought to bunt. I hope Ryan is OK. Listening to Coste last night you’d think Ryan contracted pancreatic cancer on his way to first. Things to do in the offseason is for another day but they’ll be back in the playoffs next year.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    I hope we never again have to hear claptrap about “meaningless” September games. The pattern emerged then, and carried over into October.

    They need fresh blood next year — maybe starting in Amaro’s office.

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Dipsy..your opinion please…. is swinging at 3-0 last night night worse than looking at a called 3rd strike last year?

  • Posts: 9 Sweet Dee

    Avatar of Sweet Dee

    What a nightmare. Is it Spring Training yet?

  • Posts: 0 TheDipsy

    Chuck – Wilson’s pitch last year was terrific. A perfect pitch – a “pitcher’s pitch”. I’ll answer your question this way – If I’m Charlie, when Howard comes back to the dugout after the Wilson pitch, I just let him go and don’t say anything. Hey, the guy thinks its low. But after last night, I would chew a hole in his ass. BAD BASEBALL! Un effin forgivable.

    Crucial difference – Last night, you have time to step out of the batter’s box and KNOW – MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION – that you’re not swinging. No matter what. Just stand there. The Wilson pitch – you need to make a split second decision – which is mostly reaction. I’m not all over him about last year like a lotta people.

    The Dipsy

  • Posts: 41 JakeyJ

    Avatar of JakeyJ

    Congrats to the Cards and Carpenter, who pitched a great game when he needed it most. As bad as it feels right now, I think as long as the Phils secure Hamels,they will still have some post season runs likely in the years ahead. The pitching will be pretty good. Changes to the offense are already built into the lineup because of the age and contract cycles of some players. As long as the team fills these positions with younger players with potential, I don’t see the need for all the doom and gloom. What I don’t get at all is the hatred and vile spewed at each other online by fans of all teams. Has our educational system degraded so much that there is such a large pool of folks out there who when they communicate,they make fools of themselves?

  • Posts: 0 Ray

    I must admit, I’ve directed a lot of anger towards Andrew and Jeff all season defending Howard as rightwingnut. But Howard, oh Howard was absolutely terrible along with a few others to say the least. I have no defense for him anymore, I hope he’s ok, but he was horrendous, terrible, pathetic. Still don’t think the Planet of the apes and Gorilla in the mist comments from Jeff was warranted. I also wonder if Jeff speaks as bad as he writes. The mysteries of life
    Also, I don’t compare the Phillies to the Braves of the 90′s and early 2000′s. The Braves won on a strike year, to me that never counts. Didn’t count for the Redskins when they did it twice either. The Spurs either. Win it on a full year or screw off. Plus we were responsible for the Braves not getting there once during their great years :) I’m still glad we screwed their season because we weren’t going anywhere with this offense anyway. Big changes better be coming!

    • Posts: 0 Ray

      “the mist comments from Jeff were warranted”

  • Posts: 0 Joe D

    This one was really, really hard on me. Talkin’ Joe Carter hard Blues as Mr. Zimmerman would say.

    To me it seems that the core of the team is obviously aging, and not well. From what I gather Howard, Polonco, and Victorino were all playing hurt. Ruiz, while not hurt, is a 32 year old catcher who plays 130+ games a year, so he is just plain worn down by the end of the season (although he made 2 absurdly good plays last night). The past 2 seasons it was apparent they ran out of gas in the end. I was worried about Cholly overusing the SPs this year, meanwhile he should have been resting the position players.

    Where do we go from here? Sign whom? Who knows. The thought of 162 more games next season to get to the same place in ’12 sounds exhausting, and I dont even have to play them!

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Who cares if they were hurt. We all have to play after a long season. Our offense is pathetic.

    • Posts: 0 Joe D

      Yes, we do all “have” to play after a long season. Just saying that the age of the core guys (whom I all love dearly) makes them much more susceptible to injury and fatigue related problems. An excuse, sure, but also reality.

      Pathetic? The Mets are pathetic. Hard to see this today, but really we have it quite good. I’ve been watching this team since 1987 (steve jeltz anyone) and this is the golden age of phillies baseball.

      That said, I am so sad.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Hopefully Howard can return from his injury. He is a good guy, but he is a dumb hitter and last night proved that. He really is clueless up there. The Phils need to make some serious moves this offseason and the Hot Stove should be exciting. It was an exciting season and even great horses run out of gas before the finish line. It happened to us this year.

    • Posts: 0 jake

      What the Phillies really need is a batting coach..GG, while a nice guy, really hasn’t proven that he can do it..Milt Thompson was a better coach and all the players respected him..and he knew how to bunt…

      • Posts: 549 Brian Sr. of CO

        Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

        Ok, so while I agree that Milt Thompson is better hitting Coach than Greg Gross, I am not sure that proves much. I don’t really think Milt was all that special as a hitting coach. I remember watching countless games where stupidity would ride at the plate (similar to 3-0 count and swinging at that crap), but Milt would just sit on the bench, and do nothing, just watch. The other players would step in and talk. It seemed other players were the hitting coaches and Milt was just another fan watching the game. I liked Milt as a player, but was never sold as a coach. Obviously that is just an observation based on watching, and not behind the scenes in the clubhouse, but its hard to believe with how open everything is anymore that it was much different. There is too much that is “leaked to the Media” by a “person who wants to remain anonymous” or an “undisclosed person within the organization”. I find it hard with everything that is said about player or coaches, or closed door meetings that it was much different than Milt being a glorified spectator.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    Howard’s been hurt almost all year this year and half of last year with an ankle that lead to this achilles. its the same foot I believe isn’t it? he’s still a 140 RBI potential guy. we refuse to acknowledge that he’s been playing hurt. yet if this was chase utley we’d be commending him for playing as a wounded warrior type. yet this guy just can’t get any love ever. His NLDS was just about as good as Albert Pujols’ was for his team. just as productive, But I bet they wouldn’t be piling on Pujols in STL.

  • Posts: 0 Sherry

    If Ryan Howard truly has a torn Achilles Tendon, then I comend him for playing through the pain before it tore completely. However, let’s be perfectly honest. Were they the best team in baseball all season long? Yes, absolutely. However, NONE OF THEM, showed up in the post season. To sit here and point fingers at one specific player, manager, or even general manger, would be ludicrous!

    • Posts: 2 dovesue

      Avatar of dovesue

      Well said!

    • Posts: 0 doug

      bollocks. if he was hurt he should have taken all the rest he needed in august and september when the games meant nothing. to continue to gimp around in the 4 hole and eventually play a MAJOR role in your teams demise is inexcusable. the 4 hitter cannot go on an 0-15 streak in the playoffs.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    guys don’t go into decline in their early 30′s. Alex Rodriguez is a guy in decline (with more years and money on his contract than Howard has on his). If Howard can return to full health, he will put up several more 40 homer seasons. Guys don’t decline at his age. He’s in his prime still for a few more years. before the ankle injury last August, he was well on his way to another typical Ryan Howard season. I think people really lose sight of that.

  • Posts: 0 Blair

    To blame 1 person would be absolutely ridiculous. Ludicrous. There entire lineup (Chase, JRoll, and a tiny bit of Pence, Howard excluded) was no where in sight since clinching the NL east. Give or take a game here n there. It was as if we clinched and chilled out while the rest of the teams in a hunt of the playoffs were playing great baseball. Not a good move. Sure, rest your starters but keep them fresh.
    I have phaith that Howard will get healthy and come back as good as new. I understand moving some players but some of you guys are the reason Philly has a bad name. You take bandwagon to the next level. Not just jumping on it b.c we are winning but the first to bitch and point fingers when it comes to a sad, painful end. It’s a disgrace. I’m devastated over this loss but I love my team and have hopes for a better 2012. I hope they all get healthy and have a productive offseason. Can’t wait for next year!

  • Posts: 556 Bruce

    Avatar of Bruce

    Wait till next year! Would that do? I know… I know everyone is very disappointed. The expectations were high. The season ended so abruptly before our eyes. What can one say that has not been said before about the team’s offensive struggles. Again the malady spread like a contagious disease throughout the lineup after the first game of the playoffs.

    With the exception of Rollins and Utley who were about the only ones with success, the bats of the lineup that Manuel used were put into deep freeze by the Cardinals pitching including the bullpen. In particular, the bottom of the batting order was a black hole with Polanco (.105 BA) and Ruiz (.059 BA) a combined 3 for 36 in the series.

    However, we should not be finger pointing individual players for fault. As manager, coaches and players will say to anyone listening, it takes a team effort to win and the same collective failure in losing.

    We must give credit to Chris Carpenter, their ace and former Cy Young award winning pitcher who dominated the Phillies lineup. He was at the top of his game allowing just 3 hits in a complete game shutout. Poor Halladay pitched his heart out to no avail. He must be wondering if he went to the wrong team in his desire to win a W.S. Championship.

    What now? Where do the team go from here? Who Knows? The players will be doing some soul searching and management will be scratching their heads to find a remedy for next season.

    Personally, I’m more concern for Howard who appears to have suffered a serious injury. An MRI is scheduled today for him. I’m hoping for best results with him. Typically, the fickle fans will spew their hatred on a player who is most vulnerable in the limelight. My heart goes out to Ryan. Totally ignored is his production of 116 RBIs in a season of injuries and lack of support in the batting order behind him. Ignored too is his greatly improved defensive play at 1B. Best wishes for him and the team for next season.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    People do not say they are better than the Cardinals and the Giants.
    I really have to deal with this?
    The St Louis cardinals better in 2011
    The San Fransisco Giants were better in 2010

    You arent that good.

    Its one thing to lose again and again. Its another to deal with people who say they are the best.

    The Cardinals are better. The Giants better last year.
    You are not as good as these teams.



    You lose.
    I really have to argue/deal with reality on this level?

    You are not as good as Chris Wheeler says. You are not as good as media tells you.

    If one more person tells me the Phillies were better than Giants last year or the Cardinals this year. My head will explode.

    You are an idiot for thinking this.

    • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

      like i said before, its like flipping a coin 5 times, getting 3 heads and declaring heads is better than tails. its a small sample size and the playoffs do not determine the best team. they simply don’t. they’re exciting sure but if you really wanted to just find out the best team you’d have all 30 teams play a perfectly balanced schedule and declare the team with the best record at the end of the season the champions. simple as that. the phillies are way better than the cardinals. its not even close. NOT EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE.

      it’s like saying just because one person has more money than another or is more successful in life that they’re the better person. or the smarter person. its just not true. that’s not how it works. there’s a great degree of chance in this life and in this game.

    • Posts: 0 Joe Benzon

      You can make a great argument that the Cardinals are better this year, but you can’t even begin to make an argument that the Giants were the better team in 2010. That wasn’t even close. That was way more of a disheartening of a loss for me then the NLDS loss yesterday.

  • Posts: 1110 Manny

    Avatar of Manny

    Forget it. It was painful to see him get hurt while the Cardinals celebrated. But I’ve had it with the Big Man. He came up short. He’s our clean-up guy… and I’m very aware that he’s declining (fast), but yet he’s still unwilling to change his approach to the game. That is just terrible.

    The play that really did it for me was the 3-0 count against Carpenter to lead off the seventh inning, I believe. Carpenter looks a little wild… What does Howard do? SWING at the goddamn 3-0 count with no outs… when all we needed was a guy on base to tie it up. The game changes COMPLETELY had he just stayed put, think a little, and get on base. Then the camera proceeds to show Carpenter basically laughing after that play… No $hit, I’d be laughing, too.

    I’m trying to envision what the future will be like. And yesterday it seemed pretty damn clear that this offense needs to be shaken up. We had the perfect opportunity to do this by letting Howard walk now, with his best years clearly behind him. Now we’re really in a pickle. He is and will be our main bat in the future and nothing will be able to change that.

    The 5-year contract starts now.

    • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

      et tu Manny?

      Id give a limb to be wrong about Howard.
      I wasnt.
      Others will now bash and I wont really pile on.

      In his defense. Charlie or someone allows him to swing 3-0.

      I shit my pants fell back in them and had a fit when he swung 3-0 in the 7th to lead off the inning down a run.

      I wish I was wrong. I really do.

  • Posts: 0 jim

    Howard is a choke artist. Just like whats his name! that former Qb for the eagles was. When the games on the line. You better hope it aint Ryan comin to bat. That is, unless you are the opposing team. trade him to St Louis. Maybe being a hometown boy el work for him. Im done.. I lost faith that he is what the Phillies need going forward.

  • Posts: 0 Runshouse

    To be fair, Doc has only been around Toronto fans so the bar is pretty low.

  • Posts: 2 dovesue

    Avatar of dovesue

    What a really hard night for this was for Philadelphia fans again. We could beat this dead horse to death again and again but I just want to say that no matter what, I will wear my Phillies gear, shirts, keychains and proudly display my Philly License plate because we did have a great season and yes I am disappointed to tears but this is life and next year is another season. My heart goes out to Roy H though because I really really really wanted our team to get this man a ring! I love you Phillies! Dammit!

    • Posts: 549 Brian Sr. of CO

      Avatar of Brian Sr. of CO

      Finally someone said it. Still had my Phillies hat on today! I am getting tired of hearing junk about this team just is not that good. Seriously people? You have to be a decent team to win 102 games. What people need to stop and realize, once you get to the playoffs, it doesnt matter what the regular season record was. Lets think. 1993. 2008, 2010. I can go back other teams, but those are GLARING. We now have a bigger whole than before at 1st base. Does this put Mayberry at 1st and Brown in LF? Brown is as much as of automatic out with less power then Howard. This team NOT a bad team people. Get with it. Think about it. The question is. Was there any get out of jail free card for the Phillies in this stupid contract that says if he is injured they can get away with a minimum amount? I have no idea. I only know all contracts are written differently.

  • Posts: 0 NYCphan

    I am as down as anyone today, but once a bit of time passes, I am going to look back on what I consider a great season. To me, 102 wins and best record in baseball over the regular season is what counts. The 19-inning game, Cliff Lee’s two dominant months, Doc’s consistent brilliance, seeing Cole really come into his own, all the comeback wins, showing the DBacks, Giants, Brewers and Braves who was boss when it counted…so many great memories.

    For me, playoff time is the icing on the cake. I am disappointed as HELL that they didn’t go all the way. I cried for Doc last night. I am beyond frustrated they they didn’t play to their capabilities. But, they simply got beat by a team that happened to be hotter at the time, who was playing better baseball AT THE TIME. Take any random 5 game series during the course of the regular season; could that in any way be a true measure of how good or bad a team really is?

    It just really is a shame that the playoffs/WS are considered the ultimate measure of a team. Nothing to be done about it, just the way it is.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff

    Great wear your Phillies hat. I enjoy this team but I do not feel the same pain when they lose. I have my son who is 17 months and do not get involved like I used to. These guys are getting paid millions to play a sport we all played when were younger. Crazy. I wont give them any of my money. Tickets are outrageous for a family, shirts, jerseys, etc. Why would I buy a jersey when the players wont be here for long. CRAZY. They have enough money and do not need mine. Its a fantasy sports were they are all friends now. Yes, the Phillies lost last night but I still woke up to my wife and son..Thats good enough for me. Then I see a guy like howard about to make 125 million for doing nothing while there are people in this world that cant provide food for the families. ITS JUST A BASEBALL GAME.

    • Posts: 556 Bruce

      Avatar of Bruce

      @Jeff: I hope you have a Phillies cap to wear (smiling). Nothing wrong in showing your loyalty. Yea Jeff, we were all young once and suffer disappointments with the team over many years. Now that I’m older and wiser and having experienced those dreadful times, I have become numb (or is that immune?) to the current team’s not fulfilling our expectations. And yet as always, will still follow my team with renewed hopes for next year.

      In perspective, one needs to step back and look at the bigger picture. Indeed, “it is just a baseball game” but it is our favored sport to enjoy and discuss, praise or criticize as we see it. The sport we follow is simply one of many pleasures of life as same as having hobbies or caring and enjoying the love of your family.

      I totally agreed with you that in professional baseball and for that matter, in all sports, players are way overpaid. Again, in using perspective, one needs to remember it is an entertainment business just like Hollywood’s overpaiod actors, producers and directors. And of course, it’s also the owners of teams and the media networks that contribute the wealth and and obliging to the demands of players who want that “piece of pie”.

      The Phillies organization knows that the success of their team create more incoming revenue (see 200 plus straight sold out games at CBP the past two seasons) and will take advantage of it by raising prices on tickets, concessions, etc. As one reflects on it, the common phrase we hear..”it is what it is”. That’s life.

  • Posts: 58 LCMRSalazar85

    Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

    I went to the game last night, and have to say this one hurt, and is going to for quite sometime. Just as bad (if not worse than) as Ryan Howard’s injury. The one thing that was glaring to me that really showed up in this game is this team was hardly patient at the plate. That was the difference that caused the ugly ending to the season. The question is: How does it get fixed? Our infield is showing it’s age (assuming JRoll comes back), our bench is not built to do much more than be used in situations. We got more questions than answers in left field next year. Dom Brown is not ready for prime time, and although John Mayberry, Jr. had flashes of brilliance, he’s another question mark. Except for Madson & Lidge, our pitching is in good shape. If we trade, what do we have to trade with that would be of benefit? Is it time to look at the coaching staff? RAJ and Charlie have some very difficult decisions coming and soon. Like I said, this one hurt, bad. How long will this take to heal?

  • Posts: 0 Chipper Jones

    Hey what up Doc?

    Whats wrong up here? Flags stacking up and still only 1 ring?
    Thats sad.
    Theres always next year, remember?
    I was wondering, was Howard on the grass because his foot was in pain? or because he didnt want the tbs cameras to have a clear shot at his tears?
    Enjoy the rest of your contract you guys.

  • Posts: 0 Chipper Jones

    I´m dying to see what Utley has to say this season now that your season is down the drain.

    I would recommend him to stand up at the center of CBP and cry out loud: “PHOKIN´ WORLD CHOKER”……….Im sure he knows how the line goes and how to put some spice into it.


    • Posts: 58 LCMRSalazar85

      Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

      Last time I checked, you have the same accomplishments, but 8 times more chances in a row. Before you get on us about choking, look at your own flags first.

    • Posts: 0 rutleyh

      That is not fair. Chase was injured. His mistakes were ones where he was trying to make something happen.

      The team, at least the starting 8, has a lot of wear and tear now. I do think JRoll is gone and Raul obviously has played his last game.

      You don’t hit, you don’t win. They need a vocal type of player to “motivate” the others.

  • Posts: 0 Chipper Jones

    Well, I thought some of you said/acted like your Phillies were invincible……..you are learning the hard way that money can buy almost anything, but happiness, LOL.

    $180 000 000.00 + and all you have to show for is 5 and out? Shame, shame.

    Better luck next time.

  • Posts: 0 Chipper Jones

    Hey, you have your vocals already………..cant think of guys with bigger mouths than Utley and Rollins……….well maybe Reyes.

    • Posts: 58 LCMRSalazar85

      Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

      Yes, and you had Ron Gant, Chipper, etc. 1 WS in 14 tries when you were supposed to be the dominant team back then. At least we’ve got 2 WS flags. Go back into your hole troll. At least my team made it to the playoffs & didn’t give up 8 1/2 games like yours did.

  • Posts: 0 rutleyh

    I am very disappointed, and annoyed at the lack of hitting. It is true that Lee had a subpar game 2 but the offense shut down after the 2nd inning. A lot of things surprised me but Chooch’s play, both offensively and defensively really shocked me. He is better than what he showed this series.

    I think back to the early 70′s and the frustrations of the Reds until 75. They lost the WS in 70 and 72 and the playoffs in 71 and 73. On paper, they always had the better team. The difference here is that the Phils already won a series of course. The Reds broke through in 75 and the difference seemed to Griffey and Foster when you look at it. All the other pieces were already there and playing full time before then.

    I can see JMJ playing a full season next year. I really, honestly can’t see Dom Brown becoming a full time left fielder next season. He would really hurt us defensively and his offense is a question mark. Who knows about SS? I still think Galvis is more than a year away. We might have to get a stop gap. How about someone who makes consistent contact with the ball and is adequate on D?

    The guys who will be back need to look themselves in the mirror and do the things necessary to play to their potential. I am really sorry about what happened to Howard. He was obviously hurt more than we knew. Having said that, when he comes back, he does need to modify his approach at the plate. More balls in play will help. He doesn’t need an overhaul.

    We have to look forward. There is no reason why we won’t be competitive again next year.

  • Posts: 0 rutleyh

    Money doesn’t guarantee success Chipper. Look at the Yankees. Look at the Mets!

    The fact is that the more times you are in the tournament, the more times you can win it all. That is what makes the Braves ineptitude so stunning. 14 straight Div Titles and 1 WS? That is hard to do from a probability perspective.

  • Posts: 0 Chipper Jones


    We gave you your chances, 5 flags and 1 ring, might not get another chance for postseason in 10 years……..
    Your whole infield played their last game together as you know it. Howard might is an uncertainty and Utley is a knee bomb waiting to boom………I hope you guys spend 80M on Rollins, I really do. Pieces are starting to fall out of place. Wish you luck.

    ng to fall out of place.

    • Posts: 58 LCMRSalazar85

      Avatar of LCMRSalazar85

      How’s Jurgens? How’s Chipper? How’s Uggla?

  • Posts: 5449 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Nice artlcle Pat as usual, thanks for everything all season. In deference to you and my fellow PN writers and commentors, I respect you all. I’m more than a bit upset, so pardon if I repeat what someone else may have already stated.

    I have repeatedly pointed out for 2 seasons now, that clean up hitters are lead off hitters 25% of their at bats. If you are #4 in the lineup, that’s just the nature of the game.

    - – Bottom of the seventh in the biggest game in FRANCHISE HISTORY, down by one run, you lead off the inning, you work a 3-0 count. Your team has only had three hits to that point the entire game, and the pitcher has made it abundantly clear that he does NOT want to give you a good pitch to hit. If you played little league baseball, if you’ve never picked up a baseball, but you watch it, you know what to do in that situation! Your TEAM needs base runners. You are the leadoff hitter, and in this situation right here right now, you are NOT the RBI guy. One run does not win the game, you need two runs. This is not just any game, this is the biggest – - – - game in the history of the franchise, and you need two runs to win it. Your chances of receiving ball four are about 99% better than your chances of hitting a ball out of the park. So what do you do? Well naturally you choose the 1% chance that you might tie the game. So you can be the big – - – -ing hero. And oh baby! if you hit it far enough, Tmac and Wheels will ooh and ahh about it.

    Why? Because you don’t need to be a team player, you are the big piece. You aren’t part of a team, you are bigger than the team. You are better than all of them, all you have to do is hit long bombs they are not capable of. They still only count for one run, but chicks dig em! 644 times you stood up there this season, and 33 times you hit a bomb. Outf-ingstanding! And you can really get them to fly when you stand 25 feet out of the batters box. You can’t reach the outside corner, but that’s okay, because you are bigger than the team.

    Look, I feel bad about the injury, I’m suffering through an Achilles injury myself right now. Maybe after they perform surgery to fix his, they can call in a brain surgeon, because trust me, that part of the Howard anatomy isn’t working well either. And, on top of that, he is virtually un-tradable. 2017 seems like a long time from now.

    Last year everyone lamented how he stood, looked, and took that really good pitch from Brian Wilson – not me, I thought it was a perfectly placed pitch. But the lasting memory of Chris Carpenter laughing in incredulous disbelief that he swung at the 3-0, that it was so easy to get that out, will be ingrained in my mind forever.

    • Posts: 1110 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      Lefty, that’s exactly how I feel about this whole mess. Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

    the guy we should be killing is Cliff Lee. not Ryan Howard. Cliff Lee didn’t show up for the playoffs (just like he didn’t show up last year either). He was the reason we were supposed to be over the top . and he contributed nothing. Kyle Kendrick could have went out there and gave us a better effort than he gave us in game 2.

    • Posts: 1110 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      I completely disagree with that assessment. If you see how Cliff got beat that game, it was bloop singles and lucky hits. Cardinals hitters had a BABIP over .500 and Cliff’s FIP was around 1 in that game. He did not pitch poorly. Definitely, not one of his best games, but he pitched well enough.

      • Posts: 0 Ryan H.

        he absolutely stunk. blanton woulda been better

  • Posts: 5449 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    And yes, it’s true that there is plenty of blame to go around to all the hitters, but I am commenting on this piece that has been written.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    True Howard under performed so did the rest of the team with the except of Rollins. Still the turning point was the Lee game. I thought we had it in hand decided to take a shower and shave to be told Ummm the Phils are losing….Wtf? Your phracking my leg arent you. That game was the turning point in this series i believe. The only real stars where J-Roll and Hamels and possibly Ben Fran. We need another 3rd baseman, Polly cannot make it another full season as a full time starter. He can be a good backup 3rd baseman, 2nd baseman and pinch hitter. I believe most of the pos players will be back. However changes to the lineup is needed and changes to the overall philosophy are needed as well. The team has to get better. I wouldnt have been so upset if they at least made it pass round 1. Overall feelings where down in this game sort of subconsciously most people knew we wouldnt make it pass the Cards.

  • Posts: 0 rutleyh

    No one hit outside of Jimmy. Chase made baserunning mistakes which is unlike him, Chooch played poorly on both sides of the ball. Lee didn’t hold a 4 to 0 lead. Sure, Howard had a bad series. I do think he needs to change his approach at the bat somewhat. Still, the guy had 33 HR and 116 RBI’s in 152 games. It wasn’t as if the batters in front of him were all hitting 320. The Pence batting third thing didn’t start until very late in the season.

    The window for our big 3 starters is not shut. I am concerned about the relief pitching though.

    This team will look somewhat different next year but there is no reason to think they can’t make the postseason again.

    What I think could change a little is the passion that the Phils fans have displayed for the last few years. Even if they win 12 in a row next year at some point, there will always be a gnawing feeling of, “will they stop hitting” in the minds of most fans.

  • Posts: 0 rutleyh


    The Braves had to win 1 game against a team that already clinched and couldn’t do it. That IS choking.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

    Someone some where allows and/or encourages swinging at 3-0 pitches.
    He does it over and over.

    Which is OK sometimes. Leading off an inning down 1-0 in the 7th isnt.

    If I wanted to go into asshole mode. I’d talk about how the fans ( many here) encourage him to be the hero. Love the 800 foot shots when they arent needed.
    But when you need a very basic common sense play it isnt happening.

    You all want him to be the hero. He drove in 116 after all.

    The Phillies dont need anymore heros. They need about 8 team players.

    Can we field a team of 8 Ruizs? It wont be flashy. Most of you probably wouldnt even attend the games or care. But they would win.

  • Posts: 209 tavian

    Avatar of tavian

    Ryan Howard, after this year, will turn into a hole and a heartache. He will be a huge hole in the Phillies lineup and a sharp painful heartache to the Phillies fans.

    Howard will drop out of success much like Andruw Jones, Richie Sexton and Adam Dunn.
    Suddenly he will get so confused that he will not be able to play this game at all. He will become a $125 million dollar cancer to this team and bind our wrists and hopes for years.

    Howard will become the symbol of wasted money, foolish contracts and pathetic players who simply fell off the table. He will be the albatross around the neck of Ruben Amaro Jr that he wears into infamy as the example of a greedy executive who moved too fast without weighing the results.

    But Howard and his family will live in ig houses in the St. Louis area and he will maintain his image as a real nice guy. While the Phillies fans will go back to the days of heartache.

    • Posts: 0 Andrew from Waldorf

      A bit unfair. The Phillies chose to grossly overpay.
      Someone told him to swing away 3-0.

      He is the hero. Its why he makes 25,000,000.00$

      He may be the monster but the fans and the orginazation fed the monster.
      The Phillies announcers are sickening to the point of building the guy up. But they are on the payroll.

      I cannot blame the player for what we allowed and encouraged.

      No anger for the player. Anger for the orginazation and fans who encourage and think he is elite is there though.

  • Posts: 1 Leopold Stotch

    Avatar of Leopold Stotch

    I watched approx 130 games this year including EVERY post season game and the story of MOST of Sept. and the playoffs was EVERYONE’S BATS (with the exception of game 1)!!!!

    You can blame Ryan Howard all you want but 1 bat isn’t gonna win you a championship and like the author said…. hardly ANYONE’S bats showed up.
    Sure Howard STUNK for the most part but so did 90% of the team! I said it to anyone who would listen all through the month of Sept. that if they don’t get them bats swinging… it doesn’t matter how good your pitching is… if you can’t score at least ONE RUN… you aren’t winning anything.

    We love our beloved Phillies now it’s time to focus on our Flyers and Eagles!!!!

  • Posts: 2897 Chuck A.

    Avatar of Chuck A.

    Dipsy, I agree on the comparison between last year with him looking at strike 3 and this year with him swinging 3-0. While you never want to lose a series and a season by looking at a called 3rd strike like last year with Wilson, to have the green light last night when it was obvious that Carpenter was not finding the zone….that’s beyond inexcusable.

    I will always love Charlie, love him to death….but I blame HIM in that situation. If he says that Howard has the green light whenever he wants it that’s fine, except that he should reserve the right to take that away as he sees fit. Why he didn’t see fit last night is beyond me.

    And for those of you who keep saying that the Phillies are the better team….keep smokin’ whatever. ON PAPER they are…and maybe another 5 game series turns out differently and they are.. But that doesn’t count.

    We were outplayed and out managed. I hate LaRussa, but he managed a better series than Charlie did. In’game strategy has never been Charlie’s strength and it showed in this series. Now if the bats had shown up and if Cliff Lee didn’t sh!t his pants on Sunday night and if Roy Oswalt hadn’t done the same and if Chase Utley hadn’t tried to go 1st to 3rd on a stinkin ball hit to the SS….well then this point would be moot.

    • Posts: 1110 Manny

      Avatar of Manny

      You’d expect Howard to be smart enough to not swing with a 3-0 count, leading off an inning with no outs. The fact that Charlie gives him the green light or not is just a facade for Charlie to protect his player. But, in reality, any player… ANY SINGLE MLB PLAYER… should be able to make that decision by himself.

      Plenty of blame to go around, I agree. But pitching wasn’t the problem (Cliff Lee didn’t sh!t his pants, he was blooped to death) at all. It was the offense, pure and simple. And who’s the leader of our offense? Who’s the big bat in our lineup? That’s Ryan Howard. And he didn’t rise to the occassion… so most of the blame [deservedly] goes to him.

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