Originally written on PhilsBaseball  |  Last updated 11/17/14
Ryne Sandberg directly challenges Ryan Howard by Scott Butler 11/4/13 Ryan Howard has an average of 43 home runs and 132 RBI during his 10-year career. However, in the last two seasons he averaged 12.5 homers and 49.5 RBI, a drop off of over 30 homers and 82 RBI. Needless to say, the Phillies need the old Ryan Howard back. Howard missed 173 games over those two seasons, so his averages will improve just by getting on the field. But it will take more than simply showing up for Howard to regain his old form. Howard needs to give a better effort and his new manager was not afraid to convey that message to the public. Ryne Sandberg spoke about Howard on Sep 23 and did not mention the words slider or home run once. Instead, he referenced Howard getting in better baseball shape three times and acknowledged overall better preparation six times. Here are some of the key phrases he used: get into baseball shape have a good work ethic better in-shape player better frame of mind he can be better prepared To put this in simple terms, Ryne Sandberg called out Ryan Howard publicly. This was a direct challenge to Ryan Howard delivered to the entire fan base. Howard cannot possibly see it any other way. Ryno first challenged Howard to get into better baseball shape. "Maybe, in some ways, he'll be disappointed in this season," Sandberg said. "It all adds up to a year where he'll be ready to go. It'll all start right now with the games in Florida along with his workout program the whole winter. Him being healthy will allow him to get into baseball shape. I look for him to come back and be a big guy right in the middle of the lineup. … I know I'll have a conversation with him about continuing to have a good work ethic and get the training in he needs to this winter." Part of the reason for Howard not being in great shape, as Ryno acknowledged, is that he was not healthy enough to be in shape. But Howard cannot use that as an excuse anymore. Sandberg also challenged Howard to be better prepared overall next season. "From what I've gathered, I think he can be better prepared to face somebody to start a baseball game," Sandberg said. "Whether it's through the hitting coaches, having conversations, going over scouting reports, we have plenty of video, whatever it might be, I think he can utilize that." Those comments may appear innocuous at first, but they are about as harsh as you will hear from a manager. What it means is that the most expensive player and subsequently most untradeable player is not giving his best effort. Sandberg was careful to say better prepared rather than not prepared. No matter how he spins it, the message is clear. But Ryno did not bash Howard and was not there to criticize. Sandberg's intention, it seems, is to get the most out of the most important offensive piece in the Phillies lineup. “He has a knack of driving in runs. Cutting down on strikeouts would be a priority. All of that could come with a better in-shape player, a better frame of mind, and a healthy player.” Sandberg took a starkly different approach than his predecessor. Charlie Manuel was indeed a players manager and with that, he rarely voiced any criticisms publicly. Ryno put it right out there for everyone to see. Whether it works, well, we have to wait for that answer. The gauntlet has been raised. It is up to Ryan Howard to respond now.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
1 Comment:
  • It's all well and good that Ryne stated those comments over and over but Howard needs some quality time in Winter ball along with a few of his teammates. Words only go so far; action go a long way with a good attitude and effort.

Hernandez allegedly shot friend after fight over strip club bill

Report: Andre Johnson requests to be traded or released

James Harden suspended for groin kick to LeBron James

Mark Cuban will play the President in 'Sharknado 3'

Five most exciting one-bid conference tournaments


Report: Redskins interested in Ndamukong Suh

Report: Darrelle Revis likely to hit free agent market

Le'Veon Bell could face up to a four-game suspension

Report: Giants place franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul

Vikings GM: Team has spoken with Adrian Peterson

Yu Darvish on notion he quit on Rangers: ‘That’s BS‘

Who received franchise tags at the deadline and who did not

WATCH: Whiteside, Len ejected after getting into wrestling match

WATCH: Texas-Baylor fight leads to seven ejections

Nik Stauskas wears Michigan State gear after lost bet

Bret Bielema takes away player's car after DUI

NHL player traded after daughter's heartbreaking letter

Curt Schilling unloads on Twitter trolls again

Pirates Corey Hart cut his foot getting into a whirlpool

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter, jabs Clemson

Michael Jordan makes his first Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young rips ESPN anchor over Iggy Azalea insult

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five potential landing spots for Andre Johnson

Texas-Baylor fight leads to 7 ejections

Mark Cuban will be Prez in 'Sharknado 3'

Report: Redskins interested in Suh

Report: Revis likely to hit free agency

Steve Spurrier joins Twitter

MJ makes Forbes billionaire list

Nick Young fires back at Robert Flores

Sad LeBron literally looks in mirror after loss to Rockets

MLS 2015 season preview

Report: Broncos to franchise Demaryius

James Harden kicks LeBron in groin

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.