Bill Conlin Shows Us Why People No Longer Read Newspapers, Says Howard Should Sit

Ryan_howard_sitThis is the main sports page on, the day of Game 6 of the NLCS

They have got to be trying to sell papers and get page views, right?  Right?  Please be right.

Bill Conlin is a respected long time writer for the Daily News.  He's also a bit of a goof and has apparently slid right off his oversized rocking chair.

I'm all for knee-jerk reactions. I'm the same guy who called Ryan Howard out for walking around on an air cast at Dorney Park and who questioned his decision to make a pre-NLCS-game appearance on the Eagles' sideline.  Those knee-jerk, parental like reactions are what make us passionate fans. But what Conlin wrote today, saying that Ryan Howard should be benched for Game 6, is lunacy at its finest.

His theory loses all credibility right off the bat. 

Ryan Howard should be accorded the same best-for-the-team logic that impelled Phillies manager Charlie Manuel to bench slumping leftfielder Raul Ibanez in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against nasty lefthander Madison Bumgarner.


Your best-for-the-team logic, Bill, includes playing Mike Sweeney at first base in one of the most important games in team history.  Sweeney has had one at-bat since I last shaved- that's almost a month (truth- playoff beard).  And there is a BIG difference between Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard. Howard is batting .286 in the playoffs and is former Rookie of the Year, MVP, 2x home run champion, World Series champion, and last year's NLCS MVP.  Ibanez is an aging left fielder, who has been a streaky hitter throughout his career and is batting just .185 this postseason.  The only reason Conlin is calling into question Howard's performance is because of the high bar he's set for himself.

So why is Sweeney the better option?

Manuel does not figure to be swayed to bench Howard in favor of righty-swinging veteran Mike Sweeney. The 37-year-old veteran stroked a pinch-single batting for Jose Contreras in Game 2 of the National League Division Series. He served a 100-mph Aroldis Chapman heater to shallow left-center in his first postseason at-bat.


That's right, Sweeney should play in place of The Big Piece because he had a bloop single in Game 2 of the NLDS against the Reds.  I'm getting dizzy.

Piece had two hits off of tonight's pitcher Jonathan Sanchehz in Game 2 of the current series.  I'd put a little more stock in that, One Chair.

Ironically, Howard stroked a ground-rule double to left-center and a line single to center off Giants lefthanded-Phillies killer Jonathan Sanchez in Game 2. But nobody was on base for either hit.


Obviously it's Howard's fault that nobody was on base.  Obviously.

Conlin, who's long been in Howard's corner, knows that one of the reasons RyHow is the biggest threat on the Phillies is because he's always one swing away from going on a long-ball laden, run producing, fear-of-God inducing tear.

These sort of out-of-touch, off-base, controversy stirring pieces that are one of the reasons why people don't read newspapers anymore.  Well played, dying industry.  Well played.  You keep printing these awful, sensationalist articles, and we'll keep ripping them apart… and giving you attention.  I guess your plan worked.

I fully expect Ryan Howard to hit a home run tonight.

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14 Responses

  1. I hate to be that guy, but I do agree with sitting the slumping Howard. His efforts have been sub-par and mediocre at best. But that being said in this particular situation, being an elimination game, I would not sit him because if he has a good game, he is the most dangerous hitter in baseball.

  2. I expect to Chase as well, Missanelli & a good contingent of callers were puttin Chase on blast yesterday, talkin about trades, and he’s old…etc. I seriously hope that got back to Utley. If him and Ryan go off tonite that’s the fear of God being instilled in the Giants not only tonite but tomorrow as well, in addition to the asylum known as Citizens Bank Park.

  3. If this was in season, then I would also agree. No one is so sacred (look at the benching of Rollins before).
    However, this is just the wrong time to take your major players out of the mix. Yes, Ryan has not hit for RBI’s. Do we use the same logic with Utley? What about Victorino? Should we wholesale the lineup?
    Jumping the lineup around might make a little sense. Judging by the friskiness of Rollins, it might make sense to move him back up top and manufacture some runs from the get go (as long as the ALWAYS SWING AT FIRST PITCH rule is not in effect).
    However, no matter how Ryan has batted so far, his coming to the plate affects how the batters before him are pitched. As stated, he can “go yard” at any time, and we are now back in CBP, when his HR’s might not be so hard to come by. However, his threat is nmuch stronger than Sweeney’s, especially in win-or-go-home games.
    These next two games will be chess matches to win. Why mix up the pieces from the get-go?

  4. Sitting Howard at this point is so wrong I won’t even talk about it.
    Playing small ball when ever the case arises is the key ( IMHO ) to winning tonight. The Phils need to keep the Giants off-balance and change things up.
    Take some chances and the heart of the Phils order will get their chance to crush the ball like they have in the past.

  5. I wouldn’t bench him for Sweeney. I would, however, bench him for Ross Gload. Gload hits the ball hard almost everytime he comes to the plate and while he may not be a gold glove first baseman, as we saw on Thursday night, either is Howard. It really is a shame that we extended Howard for so many years for so much money because he may put up gaudy numbers every year, but he NEVER hits when it counts. If I’m manager, Valdez is playing second and Gload is at first tonight. Utley is either hurt or something happened in his personal life that he can’t shake from his mind during game time and is letting it effect his entire game. He can’t hit and he can’t field and he cant throw. If you can’t do those 3 things, you can’t play for a minor league team, let alone play in an NLCS. Noone hopes they prove me wrong more than I do, but first they’ll both need to dislodge their heads from their asses. On that note: GO PHILS.

  6. I don’t know why anyone would want to bench Howard. His line is .294/.400/.471. Even if he hasn’t hit any homeruns, the three doubles this series is great for any player. It’s not his fault that the players around him aren’t hitting.
    If there’s someone that needs benching it’s Utley. He has only three hits this series, and he has had a lot of fielding troubles. I would feel a lot better with Valdez at second base.

  7. Sure Howard has been struggling, but the dynamics of the lineup change when he is out. Then Werth becomes cleanup hitter, probably Rollins 5th. I dunno just seems like you are making it easier on the pitcher.
    I’m a believer in that a good lineup top to bottom eventually causes pitchers to make mistakes and allows the lesser hitters on the team to get big hits. If every pitch is a grind to get the big guns out, then eventually you leave a fat one for a Francisco or a Chooch and they pound it. The Yankees from about 10 years ago used to benefit from this, imo, when guys like Scott Brosius were hitting .300. Having an extra big gun in the lineup like Howard eventually helps the whole lineup. Every pitcher is worried about making that one mistake to Howard that he hits out of the park. Much less worry about Mike Sweeney hitting a single to LF.
    I would like to see Werth in cleanup spot between Utley and Howard though, if you are going to make a lineup change.

  8. Clay…Howard is hitting .294, yes. Three doubles..sure. 10 strikeouts in 17 at-bats? Also yes. He has not homered in nearly a month (Sept. 25 against the Mets). He has struck out 27 times in his last 51 postseason at-bats. (more than half)…thats absolutely ridiculous..3 doubles or not. He rarely can even put the ball in play. You aren’t paying him 20 mil a year to hit 3 meaningless doubles with ZERO rbi’s and 10 k’s in 17 at bats in an NLCS.

  9. It probably makes more sense to bench Utley at this point.
    If you had to bench one person though, I think you bench Ibanez in favor of Ben Francisco. I mean, I’d probably do it anyway without having to do it.

  10. Striekouts aren’t any worse than most other outs. In fact it’s statistically better to strikeout than to ground out. I really can’t understand how people can complain that Howard strikes out so much. So what? He reaches bases safely more than half the players on the team, and he does it while slugging big.

  11. Oh,my friend,do you want stars?If you are feeling lonely distant from home,look up in the stars within the sky, the place there may be a star for luck that I’ve ship you.

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