In another world a long time ago, Ryan Howard Bobblehead Night figured to be a good idea for the Philadelphia Phillies; but not in this world and not at this time.
The Phillies are still planning to go full steam ahead with their plans to give away Howard Bobbleheads on Wednesday Aug. 20, but this idea right now makes about as much sense as that 10-cent beer night in Cleveland in 1974. To bring fans to see the miserable Cleveland Indians play the Texas Rangers on June 4, 1974, management decided to sell 10-ounce cups of beer for only 10 cents. One thing led to another and fans ended up throwing batteries, golf balls, cups and rocks onto the field. Texas was awarded a forfeit after the game was stopped in the ninth inning.
Since a similarly-sized cup of beer at Citizens Bank Park is $10, not 10 cents, these days, Aug. 20 will not get as ugly in Philadelphia as that night did in Cleveland. Still, giving away a statue of a guy who moves like a statue, is getting paid $25 million to hit .224 and is a lightning rod for all that is wrong with the franchise was probably not a good idea in the first place.
Phillies fans blame Howard for a lot of the team’s current ills and they are probably more right than they are wrong. Howard’s abysmal batting average is largely his own fault as perhaps he more than any player in the history of baseball stubbornly continues to hit into pronounced shifts. Even manager Ryne Sandberg expressed his unhappiness with Howard by benching him for three-straight games. In today’s game at the Washington Nationals, three infielders — the shortstop, second baseman and first baseman — were lined up to the right of the second base bag and Howard still hit into the shift for outs. Meanwhile, he gets all of left field to hit into and refuses to go to the opposite field.
Philadelphia fans are unhappy about that and giving them a Ryan Howard Bobblehead during this miserable season is a miserable idea.