Ryan Howard, King or Prince of the NL?

 

Ryan Howard was all smiles after winning the 2006 All-Star Home Run Derby. How big is that smile now that the King and Prince have left the building? Photo: blog.momogusknits.com

Ryan Howard is no stranger to criticism. Big numbers and big bucks haven’t necessarily been translating to big breaks for the Big Piece when it comes to Philadelphia.

Playing a loaded first base in the National League doesn’t help the 32-year old Phillie either who will start the 2012 season on the disabled list after suffering a torn Achilles during last years playoffs. From All-Star snubs to MVP short-comings it’s been tough being Ryan Howard of late.

That is until now. With the exit of both “King” Albert Pujols and  Prince Fielder to the American League this offseason, Howard now reigns as the leagues premier first baseman.

Or is he?

It’s no secret that after the 2011 season the first base position has diminished drastically.  Add former San Diego Padre turned Beantown Bomber Adrian Gonzalez to the mix and arguably the three best first baseman in the NL during the 2010 season are all gone.

Perhaps now Howard will finally get his due. But does Howard deserve all the criticism he has generated since his 2006 MVP campaign?

Sure he strikes out way too much but defensively he is quicker than he’s ever been and he’s taken major strides at the bag. Maybe it didn’t take the exit of Pujols and Fielder to realize just how good Howard is.

In order to fully compare the NL Big Three, I’ve taken a sample of each players’ averages in home runs (HR), runs batted in (RBI), on base percentage + slugging percentage (OBS), batting average (BA) and games from the 2006-2011 seasons. The sample size starts at both Howard and Fielder’s first full season in the majors, while the numbers follow Pujols’ 2005 MVP.

In that time period Howard leads in HR, (44 to 41 for Pujols and 38 for Fielder,) and RBI (133, to 118 for and 108 for Fielder) and he’s third in BA at .274, (.325 for Pujols and .282 for Fielder) the three former key triple crown stats to determine a sluggers immortality.

But the game has developed exponentially and baseball has been introduced to the Bill James (watch Moneyball and you’ll understand) of the world that have led use to judge hitters in much more efficient ways. Among those stats Howard ranks third in OBS .929, (1.037 for Pujols and .932 for Prince) and second in games played per season at 153 (160 for Fielder and 152 for Pujols.)

All in all Howard ranks first, first, third, third and second. Pretty competitive with Pujols and Fielder but I’ve determined two additional stats to see just where Howard ranks. Wins above replacement (WAR) or how many wins a specific players accounts for per season compared to the average position player (both defense and offense is calculated) and Most Valuable Player shares or how many times each player placed in the top-10 in MVP voting.

There’s no question Pujols is one of baseball’s all-time greatest hitters and his 7.9 WAR is off the charts but Howard tops Fielder with a 3.4 WAR to 3.2 WAR. MVP shares is where Howard shines. He’s tied with Pujols with 6 MVP top-10 shares while Fielder has garnered 3 over the same time period. Let’s not forget Pujols snagged 2 MVP’s during that run, Howard had one and Fielder never came closer than third in the voting.

While Pujols comes out on top again with 5 All-Star appearances, both Howard and Fielder have three each, although Fielder started at first twice while Howard started once as a designated hitter.

Clearly Pujols was the NL’s best first baseman (he also earned two Gold Gloves for outstanding fielding at first base) but Howard inches out Fielder as the leagues 2nd player in the position.

With Pujols and Prince gone, Howard will now slip into the NL’s top spot.

Then there was Cincinnati Red Joey Votto. The Reds 28-year old first baseman has emerged just as two of the NL’s biggest stars have exited. Votto, who’s first full year began in 2008, has an MVP of his own in 2010 when the league was still stacked, two All-Star appearances and he’s averaging better WAR 4.9, OBS .957 and BA .312, than both Howard and Fielder. With his 2011 Gold Glove he’s also now the best fielding first baseman in the league as well.

Votto may be the future but his 29 HR and 96 RBI are far in comparison to Howard’s monster power numbers. You can argue that each player’s numbers reflect an even advantage as far has the quality hitters in front and behind them.

Breathe easy Howard your officially the poster boy again for the City of Brotherly Love.

That is until the Reds big machine gets going, again.

 

You can follow Matthew Nadu on Twitter @MatthewNadu

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Flyers’ Wives Walk the Hottest Runway in Town

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Hair O’ the Dog, One Night to Kick Cancer

It’s not everyday Philadelphia throws the biggest black tie event of the year. In fact it only happens once.

Hosted by Wired 96.5’s Chio and Shila, this Saturday’s  The Hair O’ the Dog gala glamorizes its guests with Philly’s finest catering, top shelf open bars, gowns and glow dancers, you’ll have to see it to believe it. Guests will enjoy elegant settings at the Philadelphia Westin  Hotel and Philly’s own DJ Johnny Looch will be spinning throughout the night.

Essentially it’s a fairy tale evening, in more ways than one.

If that doesn’t sound perfect enough, founders Rob Molinaro and Dan Cronin are giving one mother the evening of a lifetime. The gala is supporting two charities on its 18th anniversary, The Garden of Reflection, Pennsylvania’s official 9-11 charity and celebrity stylist Martino Cartier’s Friends Are By Your Side, a network of salon owners and beauty experts that are dedicated to easing the stress of women fighting against cancer.

This year Christine Jock is the “Queen O’ the Dog.” The single mother in her thirties has been battling  an aggressive form of Breast Cancer, leading her to undergo a double Mastectomy. Jock was also diagnosed with melanoma as well before losing her job.

For at least one night the ‘Queen’ will be fully pampered having VIP treatment including attire for her and her date, gifts and airbrush tanning at Julie Dorenbos and Susie Johnsen’s Skin Palette.

If you really want push your party thresh hold or you just don’t want the magic to stop, Whisper Nightclub and G lounge will hold the official after parties until 6 a.m.

So dust off the old prom dress and tux, that is if it hasn’t shrunk from sitting in the closet and experience Philly the way it was meant to be lived. It’s a night you and the “Queen” will never forget.

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Tis’ the Season for Movies!

Hey everyone! Check out my IMDB page because I’ve been working on tons of stuff. Currently I just wrapped up the horror feature “Hallow’s Eve” with horror queens Danielle Harris and Ashley C. Williams and up-and-coming actors Courtney Baxter and Josh Flitter.

My other slasher “Down the Road” with the great Clint Howard is in festivals all over the country nabbing ‘Best Feature’ at the LA Shockfest last month.

I also host a new show on Comcast channels 66/966 called Datemakers that will air on Sundays starting January 15. Also keep an eye on the CW57 for new YMCA promos the Crew and I shot last week and CBS3’s Holiday Special.

I’m praying that the supernatural series The End Game: Dark Pawn gets picked up soon, hopefully by the SYFY Channel.

To wrap things up, I’m currently starting and producing Tom Walton’s feature “Dreams” which has a “Crash” like feel to it. Along with Walton, DP and actor Vaughn Goland and myself, the film also features former Bay Watch star Jeremy Jackson.

Finally my play “Do You Trust Your Best Friend”by the amazing Derrell Lawerence will have an encore show February 11 at the Temple Preforming Arts Theatre and yes “Flash” aka John Canada Terrell will be back on stage with us and our leader Walter DeShields.

Last but not least keep an eye on Fanadelphia for our teams complete coverage, pictures and behind the scene videos from the Winter Classic with our dear friends Scoop Cooper and Lou Nolan.

Quick stroll through the "Always Sunny In Philadelphia" cast in Part 1 of the season finale...

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Beating the Winter Blues

Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” might be one track you leave off your holiday playlist. After all it’s hard to believe that during the “most wonderful time of the year” anything could be blue.
The season is full of bills, empty wallets, in-laws, traveling, layovers, hangovers, guys in red suits breaking and entering, spoiled egg nog, kids, kids, kids and of course a bit of joy.
It’s no wonder Clark W. Griswold blew a gasket in “Christmas Vacation” there’s more stress in the air these days than snow.
Okay, so maybe the holidays aren’t so ‘joyful’ after all and according to the National Institute of Mental Health, the holiday season is actually bluer that you might think. The season is just downright overwhelmed with SAD or seasonal affective disorder due to increased stress and the lack of light during winter causing some to spiral into, that’s right, the blues. Loneliness, sadness, disconnect and suicide are often sign of this depression.
The King might have known something we didn’t but the cure to depression is traditionally a long road of antidepressants full of unwanted side effects.
Until now.
A new pill free method is being put into play- hypnosis.  “Some people may be skeptical of coming in for hypnotherapy because they have friends and family as a loving support system, but what if they don’t have that support?” says Bryan Toder, certified clinical hypnotist and owner of the Plymouth Hypnosis Center.  “I believe sadness and loneliness can occur around the holidays for people lacking in these areas especially when they watch TV, or overhear a colleague talk about all the joys of their festive plans.”
Hypnosis may be deemed as taboo but with a new year comes a new state of mind. If you are experiencing any symptoms of depression know that help is available whether it’s a trip to the doctor, cutting out stressful activities, meditation, hypnosis or something as simple as a massage.  The longer you hold off the worse your situation becomes for you and your loved ones.
And before you swing by the bar for happy hour to blow off steam, remember alcohol is a depressant…

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Twitter Nation Just Got #Tebowed

Demaryius Thomas crossed several defenders at Denver’s 38-yard line, running full speed he simply extended his arms. As if descending from the heavens above, a perfectly thrown football landed between his fingers carrying him forward with momentum. Sprinting like tomorrow will never come, Thomas, the name Saint Thomas meaning architect, scampered 62 more yards past Ike Taylor and Ryan Mundy of the Pittsburgh secondary and into the end zone securing the Broncos’ (9-8) improbable 29-23 overtime Wild Card playoff win over the Steelers (12-5.)

Back at the Denver 20-yard line, quarterback Tim Tebow ‘Tebowed’ the entire nation.

As accustomed with one knee down and consumed in prayer, the rest of Mile High Stadium was in a frenzy while the man of the hour once again made peace with his Maker.

The Denver pieces are coming together and the design is complete- so far.

Sunday was Tebow’s best game in his two year career on his biggest stage. He finished the day 10-21 passing for 316 yards and two touchdowns in the air while running for 50 yards and another score. Not gawky numbers compared to other quarterbacks in the league but somehow this kid continues to win, with a smile.

Tim Tebow was a phenomenon even before his NFL record longest one one play, 11 second victory drive in overtime in his first playoff game. Even before his playing potential controversy, before he hit the NFL, heck even before his two National Championships and Heisman Trophy campaign at The University of Florida. Tebow is a phenomenon of character and the world now knows it.

With that game winning 80-yard strike the Twitter nation erupted. If you’re unfamiliar with social network get familiar especially if you’re a sports fan. While the City of Brotherly love had it’s playoff hopes crushed, Tebow gave Philadelphia and the rest of the nation a reason to believe in miracles.

Do you believe because these Philadelphia athletes and sportswriters do.

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Brent Celek (BrentCelek) was in aw, “I don’t care what people say, this Tebow is a beast.”

Flyer’s legendary goalie Bernie Parent (Bernieparent) has seen his fair share of hat tricks, “Hats off to Tim Tebow great win tonight.”

Eagles Pro-Bowler cornerback Asante Samuel (Thepresidentcb) called it how he saw it, “The world is going bananas!!! Tebow Tebow Tebow…”

World Series champion Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins (JimmyRollins11) followed suit, “Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow…”

Even the big boys like former Eagle Hugh Douglas (Bighugh53) knew they had seen something special “Wow!! Congrats!!”

Philadelphia Daily News writer Les Bowen (LesBowen) is no stranger to the debate of Tebow and his potential ”Justice. Karma. Etc.” While ESPN analyst Buster Olney (Buster_ESPN) had an Nostradamus moment “Puffs of smoke just appeared over Denver: The Broncos have been selected.”

Ahmir Khalib Thompson or Questlove of the Philly based band The Roots chimed in “take a knee #Tebow.”

But perhaps out of all the debating whether Tebow is worthy of all his success, one man perhaps put the entire essence of Tim Tebow, his game, his character and his faith into perspective, 76ers commentator Malik Rose. (MalikRose) “Watching ESPN and I see Tebow’s miraculous 80 pass play in OT gave him exactly 316 yards 4 the game John 3:16 for the man of God. Go Tebow!”

John 3:16, the foundation of all that is Tim Tebow.

Maybe Tebow is a fluke and perhaps next Saturday’s Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots will expose that but until then you just got #Tebowed.

Follow Matthew Nadu on Twitter @MatthewNadu

With Denver's 29-23 OT win against Pittsuburgh the nation was offcially Tim "Tebowed." Photo: Scout.com

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From Spike Lee to the Stage, Flash is Back!


Flash is back and he's as smooth as ever.

It’s not easy walking through the club everyone knows that. It doesn’t make it any easier when the crowd goes wild when a Motown oldie pops on.
“Heartbeats!”
That term might not process especially when your drink ends up wearing you. That is unless you’ve seen the holy grail of soul films in Robert Townsend’s “Five Heartbeats.” More particularly when you see the womanizing, slick, should be  Sammie Davis Jr. protege, Flash, played by John Canada Terrell.
JCT was smooth but it’s hard to be Flash when you can’t dance at the club and let’s be honest that’s basically everybody. Fortunately the star that debuted his film career in Spike Lee’s “She’s Gotta Have It” will be performing for one night only in local writer and actor Derrell Lawerence’s play “;Do You Trust Your Best Friend?” at the Temple Performing Arts Center Saturday December 3 at 7:30pm.
Terrell plays a smooth talking former junkie that finds faith, success and a whole lot of mess as betrayal runs rampant between best friends.
Terrell is sure to bring that Motown mystic to the stage by playing one of the few voices of reason that leaves you wondering “can I really trust my best friend?”
Well, can you?

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