Standing with someone when times are great is the easiest thing to do. Jeering with the crowd the moment hard times arrive often reveals who someone's phony friends were all along.
Howard has never been a great fielder. But, the rightfully nicknamed 'Big Piece' was the major element within the Phillies' lineup for seven years (2005-2011).
It wasn't surprising that the veteran's absence for more than half of the last two seasons coincided with back-to-back missed playoff years. That fact is rarely, if ever, heard when shrieks of 'that bum must go' are expelled on South Philadelphia's outdated streets.
This ten-year veteran turns 34 in November and has three guaranteed years remaining on his market-value contract. Every reasonable human being who claims to actually be a fan of 'their team' won't be rooting against this middle-aged baseball man this winter, or next spring.
Will the crowd be heard if Howard is able to regain part of his past form in 2014? Of course.
Meanwhile everyone else will continue to respect the second-greatest slugger the franchise has ever known. Many of those honest souls never attacked Mike Schmidt either.