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Ryan Howard Discusses Phillies-Marlins Series and Getting Snubbed From All-Star Team With Philly2Philly.com


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Ryan Howard has literally and figuratively been a huge part of the Philadelphia sports landscape since 2005, when he won the National League Rookie of the Year despite only playing in 84 games. He was that good.


An MVP the following year and lots of clutch hits to help lead the Phillies to the World Championship in 2008 got his Phillies career off to an amazing start.



Despite his 71 RBI (as of July 5) which have tied for the league lead with Milwaukee’s Price Fielder, Howard was left off this year’s NL All-Star squad.



The Big Piece gave me a few minutes by phone on Wednesday to discuss this and other stuff.



Matt:   Thanks, Ryan. I know you’re busy in Florida preparing to play the Marlins tonight.  I appreciate your time.



Ryan:  That’s okay. It’s only the Marlins, They’re like six games behind Washington. I‘ve got some time.



Matt:  You make a good point. What do you think’s up with Florida? They have lots of pitching and some good talent, yet they’ve stunk on ice since June.



Ryan:  A few guys are struggling, their best pitcher (Josh Johnson)’s on the shelf, and things just snowball like that in baseball.



Matt:   Ryan, I just checked attendance figures for Major League Baseball—



Ryan:  Wow, that’s quite a full life you have going there.



Matt:   (absorbs shot without retort) Anyway, speaking of the Marlins, they are last in attendance in all of baseball at just over $17,00 per game. The Phillies are first in baseball at $45,000-plus, and well into standing-room-only each night. Does fan support make a difference?



Ryan:  It doesn’t hurt, man. We have rabid fans but in Florida you can hear a few loud, drunken voices kind of echo around the stadium. You see a lot of empty orange and blue seats there. Not a winning atmosphere.



Matt:  Let’s get right to some tough questions, okay?



Ryan:  Yeah, go ahead.



Matt:  Should you have made the All-Star team?



Ryan:  I don’t know. Prince Fielder (Brewers) and Joey Votto (Reds) are both very good, and having strong years.  But Gaby freakin’ Sanchez?!



Matt:  Well, every team needs to be represented, and he was the Marlins’ rep this year.



Ryan:  How many RBI does Sanchez have this year?



Matt:   I looked it up. He has 47, and you now have 71.



Ryan:  There you go.



Matt:  But he’s hitting .292, and you’re at .259. And his OPS had been higher all year—



Ryan:  OPS?! Who cares? I’m paid, and damn well, to knock in runs, and I deliver. Do you win games with runs or with OPS?



Matt:  Agreed. But the Marlins needed a rep.



Ryan:  So, Josh Johnson’s injured and Hanley Ramirez has sucked this year, so I don’t go.



Matt:  Not really fair. But I didn’t think this would bother you. I’ve never seen you talk about your personal stats and awards.



Ryan:  There’s pride, man. Albert Pujols was injured, and I still don’t crack the top three first basemen. For Gaby Freakin’ Sanchez?



Matt:  Are you happy that your top three pitchers made it, and also Placido Polanco is starting?



Ryan:  We have incredible pitchers here, and of course, I’m really happy for those guys.



Matt:   And, for Polly?



Ryan: Good player, and good guy. But he takes off Tuesday night) and we get 18 hits and 14 runs.  Just saying.



Matt:   Did you score that many because he was out?



Ryan:  Maybe. The third basemen in the NL are pretty bad. I would have made the team, and started, if I played third.



Matt:  Could you really play third, like Pujols sometimes does? You have trouble throwing the ball from first to second as it is.



Ryan: I have a great throw from third to second, or third to first. I just don’t get to use it.



Matt:  I see. Maybe, Charlie will play you there soon, so we can see it. Anyway, what are your plans for the All-Star break?



Ryan:  Rest, relax, spend some time with my girlfriend. (Philadelphia Eagles’ cheerleader Krystle Campbell).Krystle Campbell



Matt:  We’ve seen Krystle. Are you resting, or spending some time with her?



Ryan: Hey, man, she does wear me out.



Matt:  I’m not sure what to say to that.



Ryan:  Shopping. Too much shopping.



Matt:  So, an All-Star first basemen…well, usually…and power-hitting MVP candidate gets dragged shopping by his lady.



Ryan:  Yeah, you got it out of me. But you’ve seen her, right? I can take it.



Matt:   Yup. So, Ryan, the Phils are four games up on the Braves, and still have the best record in baseball despite some injuries. Are you feeling

good about your chances?



Ryan:  You have to like our team. We have the best starting pitching in the game, a great young bullpen, and enough hitting to get it done this year.



Matt:  Enough hitting…really? Would it help you and the team to have a reliable hitter to protect you in the lineup?



Ryan:  They’re reliable enough.



Matt:  Reliably good enough?



Ryan:  Um, n—what’s your next question? I have to leave for the park soon.



Matt:  The 2010 postseason ended a little early last year when you infamously took a called third strike against the Giants’ Brian Wilson.



Ryan:  (feigns surprise) Gee, I didn’t realize that.



Matt:  But seriously, Ryan. Would you like another shot at Wilson and the Giants this year?



Ryan:  It doesn’t matter. Just so we get to the World Series and win it.



Matt:  True, but what’s your ideal scenario?



Ryan:  Okay, I’ll play along. Wilson and that ugly-ass beard come in to face me . Two outs in the bottom of the ninth. We’re down by three, and I

come up to the plate with the bases loaded.  And The Big Piece launches one into the night.



Matt: Wow! A walk-off grand slam to get the Phillies to the Series against…



Ryan:  The New York Yankees.



Matt:  And then, what happens?



Ryan: We sweep ‘em in four.



Matt:  No dramatic ninth-inning grand slams against the Evil Empire?



Ryan:  Yeah, I’m seeing two or three of them off Mariano (Rivera); that would be cool.



Matt: And if you do all that—



Ryan:  You mean when I do all that; I’m into visualizing this.



Matt: So after you do all this, and there’s another crazy parade down Broad Street, will the fans still complain about your batting average and strikeouts.



Ryan: No, not at all. They’ll just dog me for my wild throws into left field. But, if I played third base—



Matt:  We’d dog you for your wild throws into right. Thanks again for your time.


A Disclaimer: The above conversation with Ryan Howard did not really take place—but is it really all that far-fetched?

Along with being a lifelong Philly sports fan, Matt Goldberg is a unique, award-winning writer, speaker and all-around humorist who resides with his wife and son in South Jersey. He is a featured columnist for the Phillies for Bleacher Report, and is also the author of two new humor books—Wordapodia, Volume One, and All That Twitters is Not Goldberg.


For information on ordering books (which feature lots of sports humor),  requesting customized writing, media requests and special events, please contact matt@tipofthegoldberg.com  or visit www.tipofthegoldberg.com


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