Top-whatever lists are generally tedious and mind-numbing, usually only serving to create barely tepid conversation in the absence of anything else interesting going on. It’s whys ports specialty stations like the NFL and MLB Networks go list-crazy during the offseason.
But when the Phillies dominate a national list based on popularity, it’s hard not to want to pound your chest and brag to that idiot Mets or Yankees fan you unfortunately see around.
In a July poll conducted Nielsen and California-based market research firm E-Poll, as reported by Forbes, Roy Halladay came out on top as the most liked player in baseball with a 70% favorable rating. Tied for fourth were Chase Utley and Cliff Lee, both at 57% favorable, and rounding out the top 10 was Ryan Howard, at 52% favorable.
Favorable ratings are based on the number of those surveyed who described a player as someone they “like” or “like a lot.” Only those who were recognized by at least 10% of respondents were included.
The Phillies clearly have most the representatives of any team in the top 10, with four. Actually, no other team has more than one.
It’s easy to see why the Ginger Terminator was at the top of the list. Best pitcher in baseball, no nonsense approach, perfect hitter followed by playoff no-hitter, excellent video game commercials, all while remaining unfailingly humble. The fact that only 70% of people said they like him clearly shows that 30% of people are stupid.
Then there’s Chase Utley, the proverbial throwback who plays the right way, the guy dads point to and say to their kids “play exactly like him.” Utley’s amazing ability to inspire was summed up perfectly by the immortal Harry Kalas when he said, “Chase Utley, you are the man.” The only people who shouldn’t like him are the Mets fans who sit in Utley’s Corner at Citi Field.
Cliff Lee is the darling of Philadelphia, the one that got away that actually came back. He left money on the table, and at the same time stiffed the hated Yankees, because he and his family loved the area and wanted to come home. Now the region loves him back with a passion. Also, the fact that he flipped off the Yankees probably scored him major points with the outside-Philly crowd.
Lastly is Ryan Howard, who if this poll was taken a few years ago may have scored higher. When he’s on he’s one of the most feared hitters in the game. Plus, Howard’s never in trouble, says all the right things in public, and has a smile that oozes charm, not arrogance. He may have slipped a bit from his MVP levels but he’s still a great player and really, chicks dig the long ball. And no one has hit more bombs over the past five years than Ryan Howard.
“The Phillies in a way have become America’s Team, they work hard and they win,” says Stephen Master, V.P. at Nielsen Sports.
That cringe-worthy comparison aside, it’s nice to see the appeal of the players in the Phillies clubhouse is being recognized by more than just those of us who live and die with them.
Here’s the full top 10 along with appeal rating:
1. Roy Halladay – 70%
2. Josh Hamilton – 62%
3. Joe Mauer – 60%
4. Chase Utley – 57%
5. Cliff Lee – 57%
6. Ichiro Suzuki – 57%
7. Mariano Rivera – 56%
8. Evan Longoria – 54%
9. Chipper Jones – 53%
10. Ryan Howard – 52%
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