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Why don’t Philly fans hate Ryan Howard?

Jul 11, 2013, 4:37 PM EDT

ryan howard getty Getty Images

It’s never fair when an athlete who is otherwise a fine human being becomes hated in the town he calls home. But it does happen all the time, be it because of unfulfilled promise, injuries or overall poor play.

One of the toughest sports cities in the country is Philadelphia and one of the more disappointing players of the past few years has been Ryan Howard. Yet, as Stephen Silver points out, he’s more or less gotten a free pass:

Ryan Howard is something unique in recent Philadelphia history: He’s a superstar athlete making huge money who’s been a major disappointment, yet he hasn’t become a figure of hate among the city’s fans. Philly may be the toughest city there is on its own star athletes, yet Howard, with some exceptions, remains relatively popular.

Silver lists a number of reasons for this. And assuming he’s right, which I think he is, it evidences some pretty mature and sophisticated sentiment on the part of Phillies fans as a whole.

Which, really guys, you have to cut that out. You keep doing that and you’ll totally kill the schtick I have going on here.

  1. eagles512 - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    This is completely wrong. Since McNabb left, I’d probably say Howard gets more criticism than anyone here.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      He’s talking about hate not criticism. Two different things.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      The contract plays into the criticism. Most people agree we’re not getting equal return on investment around here.

      But hate? No way, the bullpen gets booed, Hell, Rollins gets more boos than Howard does, and that’s because the average Phillies fans, not the Eagles fans looking for something to direct their ire towards something in the offseason, note that he was a big part in bringing a championship to town, he’s not a jerk, and he does try. He’s blue collar. That jives with most folks in this area.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      But would you rather have had Jim Thome longer? Anybody but me remember what a pain in the ass Howard was during that whole thing?

      Also, if Phillies fans love people who bring the. Championships, why do they stoop so low to antagonize Jayson Werth? Do they wish RAJ were paying that bloated contract, too? Or do they wish they had kept him instead of getting Ibanez, or what? This is starting to look a bit like made-up ass-hurtery, here, Philly. I gotta be honest. The hometown of hardasses like Bernard Hopkins should be better.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:43 PM

        Um, last time I checked, a key player who gets overpaid to go to a division rival, that then speaks poorly about his previous organization, which gave him the chance no one else would, deserves some ill will.

  2. jpash42 - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Your stupidity amazes me.

  3. Jorge Lancerio - Jul 11, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    I don’t know man. This seems like something Howard’s PR group would write.

  4. tuberippin - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Hey Craig, any time you want to actually write something of substance, I’d love to read it.

  5. schlom - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:05 PM

    Could it be that he’s a very likeable guy? Or is that too simple?

    • dmaziuk - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      As someone who has been to Spring Training in Clearwater to see Howard in action around fans, he is a complete dick. So that’s not why. Also, I think most Philly fans really don’t like Howard, but every time you think of him and his contract it immediately reminds us how much we hate Ruben Amaro.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:26 PM

        Thome, Jim.

  6. Innocent Bystander - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    This is wrong. Phillies fans HATE Howard…unless a non-Phillies fan trashes him. Then they come to his defense.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      Wrong. Dead wrong.

  7. sgtr0c - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    As most baseball fans for most teams, the real ones are not Famous On The Internet. (or sports radio).

  8. philsphan34 - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    What the hell is he talking about? Ryan “Golden Sombrero” Howard gets killed by the fans and the media

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      By some of the media, and that’s a ratings thing.

      Ever see the list of Golden Sombrero all timers?

      Not exactly a who’s who of scrubs at the top.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:03 AM

        Weeelllll … most of the leaders in the negative categories are pretty terrific. Look at who has thrown the most interceptions in the NFL or fumbled most. Turnovers in the NBA. Walks (by pitchers) in MLB. You have to be great to stick around long enough top be an all-time leader in anything.

      • yahmule - Jul 12, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Bo Jackson, titanically overrated in two sports, tops the list.

  9. cohnjusack - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    I think it doesn’t hurt that Ryan Howard is one of the likeable guys in baseball. He was on It’s Always Sunny…how could you hate him?

  10. evanwins - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Because he was an extremely integral part in bringing a World Series Championship to Philadelphia.

    Craig doesn’t understand that because it’s been so long since the Braves won anything let alone a World Series.

    Conversely, why does Craig hate him so much? Is it because Ryan Howard has seriously hurt the Braves repeatedly over the past 7 years? Or is it because the Braves haven’t had someone like Howard who can put the team on his back and lead them into the postseason for so long?

    Hey, how’s BJ Upton working out for you guys? Is it hitting over .200 yet? No? Shame, that’s a lot of dough for someone who hits less than most pitchers.

    • El Bravo - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:23 PM

      “Craig doesn’t understand that because it’s been so long since the Braves won anything let alone a World Series.”

      You mean other than a playoff spot last year over your crap team?

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:11 PM

        Good to see they did something with that 😉

      • evanwins - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:46 PM

        Oh well yeah, that wild card spot last year.

        How was the “Wild Card Spot” parade for that? Did you have fun at it? Was it well attended?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:47 PM

      Your reading comprehension is fantastic.

      Please point out where I said I hate Ryan Howard in any way, shape or form.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:14 PM

        I think, all of this thumb downing crap, really is from bored NFL addicts who get all their baseball knowledge from listening to rabid sports show hosts on the radio.

      • evanwins - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:44 PM

        Please try to have some integrity, just a little.

        And the reason why I think you hate Ryan Howard probably has something to do with all of the overtly negative articles you post on him…that and that really tasteless piece you did when you wrote a fake death letter for him a few weeks ago.

        Yeah, I’d say my reading comprehension is pretty good. Your ability to be honest with people though, that’s suspect.

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:40 PM

        No Evans, he just does that to troll people like you because he knows he’ll get the response you freely give him. The lesson here is to stop feeding the troll. Or type a clever retort and make fun of him.

    • recoveringcubsfan - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      So you applaud Werth when the Nats come to town? Yeah. Thought not. Championship-winning doesn’t really mean so much, huh?

      • makeham98 - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:25 PM

        Dumb dumb dumb. Like Werth was when he whined after leaving town. Guy got a platinum contract after being a (very good) role player and whined. Hey, I’d spend the money on Cliff Lee over you as well.

      • 18thstreet - Jul 12, 2013 at 9:21 AM

        It seemed to me that the Phillies, extending Howard while Werth and Howard were both still on the team, let it be known that they preferred Howard over Werth. The decision to pursue Lee seemed entirely different.

        If it were me, I wouldn’t have kept Werth either — and certainly not at those prices. And while I understand that the Phillies liked Howard (even as they were overrating him and overlooking obvious flaws (i.e., his inability to hit lefties)), there was just no reason at all to extend the guy two years early. It’s not like when a team buys out a young player’s arbitration years early (as the Red Sox did with Pedroia or the Rays did with Longoria). It was extending an aging player with old player skills before they had to.

    • Francisco (FC) - Jul 11, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      Evans, we’ve talked about replying off the cuff before. I know Craig can needle and tease Phillies fans and then we simply rag him for the various swings in Brave’s fortunes, but Craig has never hated players.

    • Jonny 5 - Jul 12, 2013 at 8:13 AM

      “Or is it because the Braves haven’t had someone like Howard who can put the team on his back and lead them into the postseason for so long?”

      This Phillies fan says.

      See Jones, Chipper Jones. I mean really, what type of Phills fan can get the nightmare known as Chipper Jones out of their mind? Do you pay attention? To the games?

      • evanwins - Jul 12, 2013 at 3:05 PM

        For as great as Chipper was he still has the same amount of rings as Howard.

        And for 6 years Chipper did NOTHING to slow the Phillies down.

        And while I respect Chipper, he could not put the entire team on his back and propel them to vixtory. I’ve seen Howard carry the team for a month, single handedly. Usually in September when it mattered.

        I DO watch the games and honestly I haven’t seen a lot of players over the years who could carry a team the way Howard could. A-Rod at one point, Pujols…not many others.

  11. klucky97 - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    its apparent that neither of these two guys have ever been at the bank …just sitting their you hear people critizing …i had diamond club seats and saw him strikeout in the batting cage no suprise hahahah

  12. El Bravo - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    It’s funny. I was talking to a collegue and diehard phillies phan today at work. He hates Ryan Howard like I hate the Phillies. I want to see your sources, Craig.

    • greymares - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:55 PM

      Funny your hate for the Phillies is because thet were good. and his hate for Howard is because he was good. your Braves couldn’t out play the Phillies (the reason for your hate ) . howard can’t seem to duplicate the talent he showed when he was working for almost nothing, (and was rewarded with the big contract). but most Phillies fans understand that Howard hasn’t stopped trying and is still in the process of over coming a devasting injury for a big man.

      • El Bravo - Jul 12, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        I hate the Phillies because of you (pl. version).

  13. strk3 - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:22 PM

    Mr. Silver may not own a radio. Howard typically gets killed on the local shows by fans and hosts alike.

    • greymares - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      Brings up another point, what kind of loser calls a radio station ? If you don’t agree with the ratings gathering host they find ways to cut you off early. most of these host’s have no idea what side of a baseball has the seams or whether a football is blown up or stuffed.

      • recoveringcubsfan - Jul 11, 2013 at 9:29 PM

        But could the hosts place an apostrophe correctly?

  14. phisticuffs - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    1. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team – lost weight multiple years in a row, worked on his defense (really – he went from a butcher to slightly below average)
    2. He’s a consummate teammate and has never caused an issues in the clubhouse.
    3. Seems like a truly nice guy.

    With all that said, we HATE his contract, and his inability to recognize a breaking ball down in the dirt (it’s baseball malpractice to throw him a strike, let alone a fastball), but for the above reasons, it’s almost impossible to hate him.

  15. charismel - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    You gotta love these national guys who make official declarations about a city that they know ABSOLUTELY nothing about. And for the record, we dislike national media as much as we don’t like Ryan Howard.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:48 PM

      The guy who wrote the linked column lives and works in Philly.

      • dennisund - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:43 PM

        Which makes it even more bizarre to be that much out of touch with how things are. Howard has a leg up on Donovan McNabb, Ilya Bryzgalov and Andre Iguodala because of the 4 overpriced superstars in recent times, Howard was part of a championship team, had more than one great season, and doesn’t constantly say delusional things that make fans cringe. The fact that Howard keeps hobbling around while playing means that fans at least recognize that he cares and is willing to fight. But of all Phillies players, the conversation is more aptly put as: who is more of a cringeworthy player- the overpriced, failing-to-adjust slugger or the loud-mouth, fan-bashing, not-run-out-grounders shortstop Rollins? For some reason Howard gets the raw deal in that regard.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:51 PM

        If you’re at the park, believe me, Rollins hears it, deservedly so, more than Howard.

        At least I know Howard is giving effort.

      • dennisund - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM

        I go to the park fairly often and I don’t hear the boos for Rollins like I do for Howard. Rollins certainly deserves it more than Howard, but Rollins gives you a little more alpha male quality with bold predictions.

  16. chaseutley - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    I picture Craig sitting as an evil Sith Lord composing this article…..
    “Give in to your hate, Phillies fans. Let the hate flow through you. It makes you powerful.”

  17. geoknows - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Maybe because Phillies fans are smarter than Ruben Amaro and realize that the contract was probably the stupidest one ever handed to a player and it’s not Howard’s fault that Amaro is an idiot?

  18. strk3 - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Kudos to Craig for a Philly post that isn’t entirely negative. Take a few Tylenol and get some extra sleep tonight. You should be right as rain tomorrow.

  19. therealtrenches - Jul 11, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    Craig, when listening to Philadelphia sports talk radio earlier this week, the question was nearly the opposite: why aren’t phillies fans as hard on Chase Utley as they are on Howard? A dumb question, but it was based on a reality: fans call in to rip Howard an awful lot.

    I think the called third strike v. the Giants in the 2910 NLCS has a lot to do with it. Making the last out v. St. Loo in 2011 didn’t help. In both cases, if he makes contact, the Phils probably win.

    • therealtrenches - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      (of course, he *did* make contact vs. the Cards…just not very substantial contact…)

  20. sjhaack - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Because he’s a good person who was a great ballplayer, and is now a decent ballplayer who is being paid like an amazing ballplayer in part because of flaws he’s never been able to cover, and in part because he’s been dealt some really hideous cards on the injury front. But accepting a paycheck well over what he’s worth isn’t a flaw on his part! Good for Ryan Howard! He’s given a bunch of money and time to good causes. I’d do the same. I don’t hate Ryan, I hate his contract.

    Also he married an NFL cheerleader, how rad is that?

  21. jimmywho14 - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I feel like I’m in some strange universe. Craig wrote something not totally negative about Philly fans. It’s the first sign of the apocalypse

  22. Jonny 5 - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    I’ll tell you exactly why Ryan Howard gets much more slack from the fans in Philly than some other players who need not be mentioned right now. On top of him being a nice guy and the WS ring.

    Howard always tries his best. He never gives a half hearted effort and this is something every Philly fan has a soft spot for. Philly fans love hustle. This is why Utley can do no wrong. Even when Utley lies about an injury and sucks because of it. He always tries his best to give his all. We love that. I know I do.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 6:54 PM

      It makes me wonder what quasi universe the people spewing above about this nonexistent hate are from. This is not the case at the Park, not at any bars I go to, and not around the people I work with.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:19 PM

        Can y’all explain the McNabb hate? As a Jets fan, it seems really odd when people get down on a player who was part of a really successful team. The Eagles went to what, 4 NFC title games? How many other teams can say that? It’s like the shit people give the Jets. Back to Back AFC championship games and people act like they’ve been 3-13 the last 10 years.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:41 PM

        I don’t get it either. Honestly, he is the best QB in modern franchise history. Maybe because he never kissed Eagle’s fans asses, like Vick does. Those fans are a finicky group, the other big three’s core fans are way more even keeled.

        His treatment here turned me off to the NFL. I love having my fall and winter Sundays back. Or if I want to watch a random game, I can, objectively, and enjoy it.

      • schmedley69 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM

        McNabb usually did not play well in big games, and he had a tendency to put his foot in his mouth. He also liked to deflect blame and would make excuses for poor play. He had the same problems in Washington and Minnesota. They despise him in Washington much more than they do in Philly. McNabb still has a lot of fans in Philly. His detractors are just a lot more vocal. Craig’s buddy Angelo Cataldi of WIP is the ring-leader of the anti-McNabb faction. He orchestrated the draft day booing and continues to dog him to this day, but McNabb has a lot more fans in Philly than Cataldi does.

      • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        That’s a fallacy. He never won *the* big game, but you don’t get to four NFC title games and a Super Bowl without winning some big games.

      • Jonny 5 - Jul 12, 2013 at 8:28 AM

        Copo, I CAN explain the McNabb hate. Mcnabb, although a very good NFL QB and life time Eagles player (basically) never owned up to his mistakes enough. He frequently (enough) had fingers to point when he messed up. He was part of an epic collapse in the super bowl. He killed more worms in the NFL than most players on average. He had a very “woe is me” attitude. He even went as far as to claim the fans in Philly are pseudo racists because he couldn’t handle being booed when he made a terrible play. That was probably the straw that broke the camels back imo. One thing you just don’t do is imply a mindset like that to your entire fan base. It’s a terrible way to think actually. As if non whites in the crowd weren’t booing at him as well. He’s a very paranoid type of guy and things that have passed his lips are exactly why Mcnabb is hated in Philly.

        With that said, hate is too strong a word for me. I don’t hate people for character flaws as innocent in intent as his are. I’d like to say something to Mcnabb actually just to set the record straight. It isn’t the color of your skin which drew “hate” from Philly fans #5, it was how thin your skin was that really caused most of it.

  23. hisgirlgotburrelled - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:18 PM

    ROY, MVP, first championship in Philly in 25 years… I had written more, but this sums it up. Oh, and he seems like a fun and nice guy that plays as hard as he can.

  24. ironman721 - Jul 11, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    They do hate him

  25. dman5599 - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    You are beyond clueless if you think we don’t hate him. I understand you have to fill this website with posts, but at least take 5 minutes to research what you are saying. We loathe him, trust me.

    • heyblueyoustink - Jul 11, 2013 at 8:35 PM

      Trolling idiot alert.

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