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Ryan Howard is delusional

Apr 7, 2011, 8:23 AM EDT

Phillies' Howard smiles after scoring the game-winning run against the Astros during their National League baseball game in Philadelphia

Ryan Howard had a great game last night — 4 for 4, a homer, two doubles, a walk and two RBI — and he’s had a hot start. So maybe what he had to say after last night’s game can be chalked up to adrenaline or something. But whatever caused him to say this, it’s not reality-based:

“The statement we’ve made is us being us,” Howard said. “A lot of people counted us out.”

Who counted you out, Ryan?  Who counted out the team that has only dropped one game? That has the best rotation in baseball? That has won its division for four straight years and even on the young season remains in first place? That was picked by a plurality if not a majority of commentators (this one included) to with the NL pennant?  I’ve seen concern voiced about the lineup and team health, but I’ve not seen anyone’s concern that even approached a level of counting you out.  People have counted the Pirates out. No one, unless they’re just trolling for a reaction, has counted the Phillies out.

I don’t mean to pick on Howard. For one thing it’s possible that this was taken out of context and he was referring only to the team’s offense (UPDATE: confirmed, he was talking just about the offense), though that would be silly, because they’ve only had one game in which they haven’t scored at least five runs (they’ve gone 5, 9, 7, 1, and 10).  And of course he’s a sensible and thoughtful guy who normally gives sensible and thoughtful quotes. But it says something about the athlete’s psyche if even someone as level-headed as Ryan Howard feels like he has to play the “no one believed in us card.” I think someone — maybe Nick Swisher or CC Sabathia — said something along these lines about the Yankees last week. too. That was still crazy, but it was even less crazy for a 2011 Yankees player to say it than a 2011 Phillies player.

But hey, if this kind of thing is motivating Howard — and the fact that he is now batting .524 on the season shows that, yep, he’s motivated — good for him.

(thanks to Jeremy for the heads up)

  1. paperlions - Apr 7, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    Philly fans have a very well developed inferiority complex, of course they are going to respond to any criticism with hyperbole…that is part of the complex.
    KC is 4th in MLB in runs scored….we’ve had a week of games, the current stats say very little about the ability level of any team.

  2. spudchukar - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    59 comments and still no mention it was the frickin’ Astros and Mets. What is delusional is Howard’s choice of words. He choose them not Craig. Are Phillie Phans so insecure that discussion possible weaknesses in your line-up threatens your collective manhood. It is a pretty thin level of confidence that takes such umbrage. I don’t know about sticks and stones, but a few critical words sure seem to induce extensive neurological trama. Perhaps you guys need to work on your pain threshold.

  3. philly56 - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    From watching the Phillies last season and all of the 1, 2, and 3 run games they only managed to win because of their pitching, and hearing all manner of sports journalists calling the offense an aging and declining bunch being carried by an exceptional pitching rotation – the general consensus, I think, going into this season was that the Phils were absolutely a dominant threat in the NL east because of the pitching but pretty much only because of their pitching because the lineup itself was actually *probably* going to be worse this year sans Jayson Werth and with Utley on the DL (again).

    I think he was just saying that so far this season they’ve been proving that wrong, that if the start of this season is any indication how 2011 will go the pitching will continue to be dominant but the offense itself will be a threat all by itself this year. That it is silly for someone to count out an offense capable of scoring that many runs in a single home stretch, but tbh I don’t remember them ever having a single four or five game stretch last year where as many runs were brought in so there you go.

  4. kiwicricket - Apr 7, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    My work here is done.

  5. Lukehart80 - Apr 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    It surprises me how many people are up in arms over the use of the word “delusional.”

    Getting this worked up over something so benign makes you seem incredibly over-sensitive and whiny. If you thought Craig was baiting you, why did you take the bait?

    Get over it, people.

  6. higpoo - Apr 7, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    Personally, I see his point. Prior to Spring Training, with the signing of Cliff Lee, the World Series was being handed to the Phillies on a golden platter. Once news of Utley’s knee injury became news, then Lidge’s arm injury was added, a good many professional sports reporters started stating that without the two of them, the Phillies chances of winning the World Series was severely hampered. And whether you believe John Kruk to be a professional sports reporter or not, he was one of those who claimed without Utley and Lidge, the Phils would not even MAKE it to the World Series. So, I’m with Howard. The Phils have the stuff to make it to the play-offs with or without Utley and Lidge. And from what I’ve seen, the offense so far is doing just fine without Utley (as much as that pains me to say).

    • paperlions - Apr 7, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      I had no idea the Phillies had already qualified for the WS.
      Saying that losing your best player reduces your chances of winning the WS is not a slam, it is just a fact, and it is true for every team….and hitting well against the Mets and Astros in 3 of 5 games that were all played in Philly is not evidence that losing Utley for an extended period of time will not be a bad thing.

  7. monsieurbear - Apr 7, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    “No one, unless they’re just trolling for a reaction, has counted the Phillies out.”

    David Schoenfield of the SweetSpot blog at ESPN counted the Phillies out:

  8. monsieurbear - Apr 7, 2011 at 4:36 PM

    Jonah Keri (whom you recently interviewed and did not in the interview allege to be just trolling for a reaction) has also counted the Phillies out (as has Steve Berthiaume):

  9. irishjackmp - Apr 7, 2011 at 7:50 PM

    Yes, given the Halladay/Lee/Oswalt/Hamels pitching staff they have, the “alot of people counted us out” was a completely idiodic thing to say. That being said, no one ever confused your average professional athlete with a brain surgeon or rocket scientist.

    As long as Howard keeps putting up the numbers he has so far this year, he can say all the idiotic things he wants.


    A Phils fan

  10. macjacmccoy - Apr 7, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    He’s talking about hitting genius. And almost everyone counted them out in the hitting department.

  11. macjacmccoy - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:12 AM

    I just saw your update but maybe that is why you should do some research before going into a huge diatribe about something you heard second hand and have no clue what the meaning behind it was.

    I think this proves Mark Cuban’s point perfectly. Internet bloggers have a tendence to create drama and turn things into something there not without any hesitation for if what there talking about is what legitimately happened . That they would rather write about a juicy story then the truth.

    • nps6724 - Apr 8, 2011 at 8:04 AM

      All it proves is the original reporter, who is an “actual journalist”, needs to do a better job. He simply provided a quote with zero context for all to see. Why would anyone feel the need to further research a quote like that? And the only reason it was corrected was BECAUSE of this article. If this article isn’t written, Pat Gallen never tweets Craig the correction.

      Can any of you Philly fans point to another article written about this game where it was clarified beforehand that Howard was speaking specifically about the offense? If not, any objection to Craig “not doing his research” is bunk.

  12. clean187 - Apr 8, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    You get articles like this when the author lacks the ability to read between the lines & takes a quote completely at face value.

  13. monsieurbear - Apr 9, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    So to summarize, Howard stated that those that counted the Phillies out were wrong, leading Craig to characterize Howard as “delusional”.

    In the the Yankees-Red Sox live chat, it was noted that Jonah Keri counted the Phillies out. Craig stated that Jonah Keri was wrong for counting the Phillies out. Which makes Craig what?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Apr 9, 2011 at 8:37 AM

      You have that wrong:

      1. Ryan Howard said that “a lot of people” “counted the Phillies out” and that they have now been proven wrong. It was later clarified that he was referring to just the offense.

      2. I said that, no “a lot of people” did not “count the Phillies out” and to suggest that they did was delusional. When it was noted that he meant just the offense I considered it and still believed that it was delusional to say that “a lot of people” “counted the offense out.” Rather, many have merely noted the offense as a potential weak spot, not a killer (i.e. something that should make one count the Phillies offense out as a factor).

      3. People came up with two examples of someone who did count the Phillies offense out. David Schoenfield of ESPN and Jonah Keri.

      4. I said in the thread that despite whatever Schoenfield said, the clear majority of ESPN experts still picked the Phillies to win the East (and how can one pick them to win the East if the offense is a true Achilles heel?). In the chat I said that, while I had not read Jonah’s take, if he indeed counted the Phillies offense out, I believe was wrong to do so.

      Where this left me is thinking that (a) it is patently unreasonable to count the Phillies offense out despite whatever flaws it has; and (b) for Ryan Howard to believe that “a lot of people” counted the Phillies offense is out is delusional, either because hardly anyone truly did or, because even if a couple people did, to do so was silly, and thus Howard’s implied “this gave us motivation and we proved you wrong” thing was kind of silly.

      You don’t have to agree with me. But please, do not misrepresent me.

      • monsieurbear - Apr 9, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        Your argument was that “No one, unless they’re just trolling for a reaction, has counted the Phillies out.” This point was so important that you spent about 100 words pounding home that “no one” counted the Phillies out. Your point wasn’t that “a lot of people” didn’t count the Phillies out. Your argument collapses if any serious person counted the Phillies out. So three serious baseball people at ESPN counted the Phillies out: Jonah Keri, David Schoenfield, and Steve Berthiaume. Did other people count the Phillies out? I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter for the purposes of this discussion. Your argument fails with a single counter-example.

        Perhaps these dissenters’ opinions are objectively unreasonable. David Schoenfield provided a detailed analysis of his reasoning in his blog. Is it reasonable? It isn’t unreasonable. Is it correct? Whether it correct or not is irrelevant. Neither you, nor anyone else, can judge the correctness this early in the season. Is there such a thing as an incorrect opinion? Perhaps that is a question for another day. The bottom line is that you were wrong in your assertion that no one counted the Phillies out and you should admit it.

        On a side point, you use a five-game sample to “prove” that it would be “silly” for anyone to worry about the Phillies’ offense. I know that you know that it is “silly” to rely on such a small sample size to conclude anything about any team’s prospects. Unless, you also counted the Red Sox out after five games.

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