Gonzo: Bradley is key for Birds

Former Phillies catcher Chris Coste was inexplicably left off the list of marginal players who became Philadelphia fan favorites.
Former Phillies catcher Chris Coste was inexplicably left off the list of marginal players who became Philadelphia fan favorites.
Posted: September 02, 2010

While waiting for football games that count, it's time to empty out the mailbag:

This Stewart Bradley is a savior stuff is really getting silly. If I recall correctly, the last time Bradley played in a game that counted was the NFC championship game against the Cardinals. How'd that game work out for him? Oh right, I forgot: Those 32 points were Donovan McNabb's fault.

 - Jeff

Jeff,

Bradley isn't a savior, but he is an integral part of the unit. Without Bradley last season, the Eagles were 12th overall in the NFL in defense, but anyone who watched the Cowboys dismantle the Birds in the playoffs knows that ranking didn't get them very far. The Eagles have to like their chances better with Bradley on the field.

Re: The NFC championship game. Yes, the points allowed were McNabb's fault. He also caused the BP oil spill.

- Gonzo

I just read today's submission, Sweeter then Sweet, about Mike Sweeney and the habit of the Philadelphia fans for picking out some obscure, semi-talented player as their favorite. 

You gave a long list of players to support your theory, [but] I can't believe you left Chris Coste off that list.

- Jack

Jack,

I can't believe I left him off, either. Huge omission. The guy was in the minors for much of his career. Then he made the Phils, became a marginal talent behind the plate for a few seasons, wrote a book about it, and was instantly accepted into the fan fold.

Even now, you can't say anything bad about Coste without the fear of reprisal. I was at a bar not long ago when two people sitting near me engaged in a heated conversation about the merits of Coste's tome. One guy liked the book and defended it with vigor. The other said it was poorly written schlock. I thought they might come to blows - over Chris Coste.

No one fought over Wilson Valdez or Ben Francisco that night. These things are unpredictable.

- Gonzo

Ability aside, in the short run, for NOW, I'd rather have Sweeney than Howard at first base. And the reason is simple: The team seems to play harder with Sweeney, which tends to result in more wins. It's about winning and not about placating the feelings of stars.

- Jim

Jim,

Ability aside? What else is there other than ability? The rest of your argument is specious. Howard is one of the best sluggers in the league and he was having a fine season before going down. He's an all-star and an MVP and a World Series winner, but you want to sit him down because "the team seems to play harder with Sweeney"? I'm supposed to be the crazy contrarian around here, Jim. You're worrying me.

- Gonzo

I'm shocked to hear people say Sweeney should start over Howard. Let's take Sweeney for what he is: a righty bat off the bench who will be able to pinch-hit in October and spell Howard in September. But he is not an everyday player.

- Mike

Mike,

Totally agree. I've received a few e-mails suggesting the same thing - that maybe Sweeney ought to play for a while, or at least until Howard snaps out of his slump. I can't be sure, but I don't think anyone ever got a hit while sitting on the bench. So how exactly would Howard work out of his rut by being benched? For the Phils to have any shot at winning the World Series, Howard has to play and play well.

- Gonzo


Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or gonzalez@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly

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