Never since Ricky Watters’ infamous “for who, for what?” comment, have a couple of remarks by a professional athlete in Philadelphia stirred the emotions like Ryan Howard’s recent ones.
Last week at this time, Howard crooned his first hit “You Don’t Want to Trade Places With Me” while talking about how rough it was being benched for three-straight games by Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg. Last night, after hitting into the shift and coming up with a miracle game-winning hit, Howard followed that up with “You Guys Have Forgotten What I’ve Done.”
For the record, Ryan, yeah, at $25 million for hitting .217, most fans would like to trade places with you. And since you have not done anything special since 2011, it’s pretty easy to put that past history in the rear-view mirror.
Self-pity is not a good look for anyone, especially for Howard who is coming off a 1-for-25 road trip. If there are two things that Philadelphia fans cannot stand, it’s a guy who won’t hustle or does not care. Watters, once of the Philadelphia Eagles, was in the former group. It now appears that Howard is in the latter one.
Watters’ time in Philadelphia was short-lived after he alligator-armed a Randall Cunningham pass intended for him over the middle in a 1995 Eagles’ loss and, when asked about it by reporters afterward, uttered, “for who, for what?” and elaborated that he was not going to get killed going after a pass for anyone, the team or the fans. “For Who, For What” ironically later became the title of Watters’ autobiography. In the annals of Philadelphia sports comments, that goes down with Allen Iverson’s “we’re talkin’ about practice, practice” remarks after then Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown said his practice habits needed to get better in 2002.
Howard’s recent remarks probably will not stand that test of time, but this kind of self-pity is not going to be well-received in Philadelphia nor should it be.