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.