You have to feel a little sorry for Ryan Howard. It’s hard to watch him flail at the plate knowing he’s a two-time home-run champion, knowing a ruptured Achilles likely accelerated his decline. And, hey, it’s not his fault the Philadelphia Phillies gave him a contract extension worth $125 million guaranteed.
As if the relentless criticism from a fan base and local media that once revered Howard wasn’t enough, his manager thought it in the club’s best interest to bench the Big Piece for three games last week. Just another sign of the times for a slugger who was voted Most Valuable Player of the National League in 2006 and anchored the Phillies’ lineup during a run of five division titles and a World Series championship.
As much as we can all probably agree it’s a shame, the professional ball-player would be wise to maintain some perspective. Faced with some tough questions after the Phils’ 4-2 win on Sunday, a less-than-magnanimous Howard sarcastically asked a reporter if he wants to trade places.
“You want to trade places? You want to see what it’s like?”
Before any reporters could ask their next question—which presumably would’ve been Where do I get in line?—Howard answered for them.
“No, you don’t.”
Dude, you play baseball for a living, and you make $25 million a year to do it. Nobody is saying that it doesn’t take a lot of hard work and sacrifice to reach that level, and it is undoubtedly like literally any other job in the world in that it comes with plenty of downsides.
For Howard to assume that simply because he is struggling and his future in Philadelphia might be in doubt, and because going to the ballpark everyday probably isn’t as fun when the team stinks and a forgetful fan base is muttering every time he steps up to the plate, that every reporter in that room and 99 percent of the fans who hear his comments wouldn’t trade places with him is downright ignorant, at the very least inflammatory and borders on offensive.
It probably isn’t worth holding Howard to words that were clearly spoken out of frustration. Then again, it’s perfectly understandable if you suddenly have a lot less sympathy for the guy.