The newspapers and radio talk shows had him dead and buried.
After coming off two serious injuries, they said his bat — and his outrageous salary — was an anchor around the team’s neck, dragging it down to the depths of mediocrity, like a sunken ship that’s had too many years in the deep.
He was labeled “not tradable.” What team in the right frame of mind would take a 34 year old “has been” whose lost his home run stroke and get’s paid $25 million a year through 2016, with a $10 million buyout for 2017?
“I don’t think so, Ruben, but thanks for calling. Say, how are the kids doing?”
But suddenly, the Big Piece and his bat have awoken the Phillies. It still being June, and as of Friday, Howard and the Phillies have been scratching and clawing out wins and are now just 4 behind Washington and three and a half behind Atlanta.
Holy South Philly cannolis! Who would have thunk it? Howard and the Phillies have shut the critics up faster than Hillary can say Benghazi.
It’s made Bowa so happy, he can’t spit out the sunflower seeds fast enough.
Speaking of Bowa, perhaps the good cop-bad cop routine is working. Not long ago, Bowa, in between expectorating the kernels, called out the Phillies on radio — said they are coming to the park “too happy.” Said the veterans got to look in the mirror.
Since then the Phillies have won 8 out of 10 and look like a team that knows how to win. The Piece has 14 home runs and 50 RBIs.
On Thursday night against the Cardinals — the team’s fourth straight win — he had a home run, single, and three RBIs, in the Phillies 4-1 victory — in his hometown, St. Louis. Jimmy Rollins extended his hit streak to 13 games, and the rook David Bucannon went 7 and two-thirds and got the win.
Diekman and Papelbon shut down the eighth and ninth.
Don’t get the white towels out yet, but with the Piece back hammerin‘ the ball, anything is possible.