The Windup (cont.)
From the Mailbag
When are the Phillies going to wise up and get Ryan Howard out of the cleanup spot? Yes, he may be a great power hitter when he gets hot, but right now, he's hurting them. How many teams are going to pitch around the three-spot to get to him? They could slip Geoff Jenkins into that spot or Shane Victorino, now that Jimmy Rollins is off the DL, just to get an on-base threat going. Move Howard down in the order -- to the seventh or eighth spot until he comes out of his slump. He'll get one less opportunity to strike out per game, but maybe take some of the pressure to perform off him and let him get his stroke back.
Bud, moving Howard might seem like something smart to do, but I'd let him work out his problems right where he is. For one, he's not going to see as many hittable pitches down in the order, and Howard needs pitches to hit more than anything right now. Two, I think he's comfortable there. He's hit in different spots in the order, but not lately. My thinking is that he'll come out of it. With Chase Utley in front and Pat Burrell behind him, Howard will get his chances. Just a matter of time until he takes advantage of them.
I agree with what you said about how the Dodgers looked early in the season, but I'm not so sure Joe Torre should be applauded for finally coming up with the current lineup. I could have done that on Day 1. Signing Andruw Jones was a mistake and there should have been no debate about playing Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and anyone other than Nomar. If I can figure that out, it is pretty obvious.
Well, Barbara, if all Torre had to worry about was putting the best team out there, I'm sure you guys would be on the same page. But Torre had to see Jones for himself to decide how much he should play. He also knows that, even if Juan Pierre is putting up a better batting average, Jones will give you better defense in center and provides potentially much more power at the plate. Look, I wouldn't have paid that kind of money for Jones, no matter how short the contract. But he's not going to be this bad all season long.
Have you ever actually been to a Cardinals game? You dumped on St. Louis fans twice last week, once comparing them to the rowdy fans at Wrigley, Fenway, Shea and Yankee stadium. You went at them again when you mentioned you didn't buy into the intelligence of St. Louis fans despite them applauding Yadier Molina for throwing out a baserunner from his knees. Are you serious? What more do you want from the people who are always clad in red and are so polite a grandmother fits in better than a drunk 25-year-old? Maybe there is a reason Busch has the rep it does.
Well, Dave, you weren't alone in your e-ripping (and, yes, I have been to several Cardinals games, both in the old Busch and the new one) ...
John, you ignorant slut! You say how you don't buy into the truism that we are the smartest fans in baseball. And yet you mention the standing O we gave to Yadier Molina. And you mention the exploits of two native St. Louis sons -- Max Scherzer and Ryan Howard. Yep, Max, like Ryan, is also a product of the fertile St. Louis high school baseball system. It must be all those Yankee-Red Sox basebrawl games you've been watching!
Guys, back off a bit, will you? I didn't dump on Cardinals fans. I didn't say that they're bad. I'm not saying they're stupid. I just said I'm not a big believer in the "best fans" label that the folks around the team take so seriously.
Thanks so much for not buying into that "St. Louis fans are the smartest in baseball" nonsense. I was at the game when Molina gunned down Ryan Theriot stealing, and it was cool to see him get a standing ovation. But I've seen Cardinals fans blindly cheer their hometown heroes despite boneheaded moves and decisions (Mark McGwire, Jason Isringhausen, etc). St. Louis fans are no smarter than any other fans in baseball, except in their own minds.
"Who's the best," is a nice little debate to have. It's also impossible to determine, which is why I object to St. Louis fans appointing themselves to that role. I will say that blindly cheering for your hometown heroes is part of being a good fan for a lot of people. It's how the people in San Francisco backed Barry Bonds, and how the people in Houston still revere Roger Clemens. Blind loyalty or smart fans? What's good and smart to one set of fans is dumb and short-sighted to others.
Grady Sizemore is the most overrated player in the majors. Granted, he's a decent player, but everyone in the sports media was slapping the MVP tag all over him the last couple of seasons, and he's done nothing to justify that. He won't be anything more than a .270-.280 hitter who steals some bases.
Most overrated? That's a little harsh. But I'll agree with you that Sizemore has not hit the big-time that so many have predicted for him. That said, he's only 25 years old. Give him a few more years before you bury the guy.
Whoa -- Scherzer has one blue eye, one brown eye? Freaky. Scared me when I saw his mug on SI.com's MLB homepage.
Yeah, it's a condition called heterochromia, and it certainly sets Scherzer apart. Well, that and the 97 mph heater.