Ryan Howard hasn’t been a dominant player for the Philadelphia Phillies since tearing his Achilles tendon in 2011, and the end of his career could certainly be coming soon.
It can’t come soon enough for Philly columnist Stu Bykofsky, however, of the Philadelphia Daily News, who wrote an open letter begging the first baseman to retire after the upcoming season.
Here is an excerpt from Bykofsky’s letter to Howard, published on Friday morning:
“Of our 2008 heroes, only you and Chooch, Carlos Ruiz, remain.
“Both of you are slowly sliding into the shadows.
“You’ve gone from the Big Piece to the Big Load.
“Since blowing up your Achilles’ tendon in 2011, you haven’t been the same. The comeback year you and we expected never came.
“Don’t do this to us, Ryan. Don’t make us hate you. Don’t make the Phillies cut you.
“Retire at season’s end. Please.”
This was pretty bad (Big Load?), but then Bykofsky goes off the rails completely asking Howard to consider that he’s already made enough money and doesn’t need any more. He seems to think that Howard would think it a negative thing for the Phillies to have to pay him $10 million next season to cut him.
In the end, while Bykofsky might think he’s being clever with his arguments, they come off sounding pretty weak.
Howard won’t likely ever be the same player he once was, but that happens to all the greats. For a time, Howard was one of the biggest superstars in MLB, and his strong play sparked some great teams in Philadelphia.
It would have been much more compelling if Bykofsky had written something that admitted Howard’s career is winding down but that lauded him for his past achievements, rather than focusing on how much he sucks now.
Besides, what’s Bykofsky going to say if Howard breaks out with a resurgent 2016 campaign?
Also, for the record, open letters to athletes usually suck. This one did, too.