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It takes a bottle throwing incident to support Ryan Howard?

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It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to observe that Ryan Howard’s best days in a Major League uniform are over.

 

However, it’s not the job of some knucklehead fan to remind him.

 

That’s exactly what happened Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. After Howard grounded out end the game, a Phillies' 6-3 loss to the Brewers, a beer bottle was thrown at him as he walked back to the Phillies’ dugout. Photo: lehighvalleylive

 

Luckily, the bottle landed at Howard’s feet and he was not harmed. The Phillies are investigating the incident, and a photo of the alleged bottle thrower has been circulating online.

 

Really? I have to waste my time writing about this?

 

Are you serious?

 

It’s gotten to this point with Ryan Howard?

 

One fool in the village universally portrays Philly fans in a vile manner yet again?  

 

We all know Howard’s story. He’s got a big contract, been in decline for a number of years and is currently hitting .151. But you don’t think he’s embarrassed enough by his play on the field this season? People have resorted to throwing things at him?

 

Come on, people. This is Ryan Howard we’re discussing here. A man largely responsible for the only piece of championship hardware this city has seen since Return of the Jedi was the number one movie at the box office. You once cheered for him incessantly during his 2005 Rookie of the Year season, as well as his monster 2006 campaign, when he put together one of the best seasons any major leaguer has ever had. 58 home runs. 149 runs batted in. I’ve got news for you: Nobody in the game will be touching those numbers for a long time.

 

Remember the three home runs he hit off Tim Hudson during that weekend series against the Braves that September? Or how about all those Septembers To say that things have been going downhill for Ryan Howard since the 2009 World Series is a vast understatement.where Howard practically carried the Phillies on his back and into five consecutive postseasons. Remember the two home runs he hit against the Rays in Game 4 of the 2008 World Series? Including that bombastic second blast off Rays’ reliever Trever Miller? You know, the one that essentially cemented a 3-1 series lead for your Phillies? Remember his 2009 NLCS performance? The five additional times he placed in the top 10 in MVP voting? During the first six years of his career, nobody in the history of baseball put up the power numbers Ryan Howard did, and that cannot be forgotten.

 

Did he have some less than spectacular postseason appearances after his 2009 NLCS MVP performance? Absolutely. The 2010 NLCS? Guilty as charged. Has his performance declined rapidly since that fateful injury against the Cardinals in the 2011 NLDS? Without question, it was career altering.

That notwithstanding, anybody who gives Jimmy Rollins or Chase Utley most of the credit for being the heart and soul of arguably the greatest era in Phillies history should make a point to reevaluate those assessments, because the Phillies win NOTHING in 2008 without Ryan Howard. Nothing.

 

This makes what happened Saturday even more heartbreaking than the actual act committed itself. Brooks Robinson hit .149 during his final season in an Orioles uniform. Did he ever get a beer bottle thrown at him? Highly doubtful. Dave Winfield hit .191 during his final season with the Indians. Ken Griffey Jr.? .184 in his final season with the Mariners in 2010. Were they treated the way Howard was? Sure, the aforementioned players are all Hall of Famers, but you can argue that Ryan Howard was just as valuable to his team as Robinson, Winfield and Griffey Jr. were to their respective teams in their prime.

 

After what transpired Saturday, Howard offered his remarks regarding the bottle throwing incident, and his comments were 100% justified.

 

“I’ve done too much in this town to have that kind of stuff (happen),” Howard said. “You want to yell out, ‘You suck,’ that’s whatever. You start throwing stuff, that's when it gets personal” (here is a photo of the alleged bottle thrower).

 

UPDATE: The man who threw the bottle at Howard has been arrested.Photo of the alleged bottle thrower courtesy of 6ABC.com.

 

Howard's assessment of the situation says a lot coming from the normally mild mannered Phillies’ slugger. All of his friends on this team are gone, the Phillies haven't been legitimately competitive since 2011, and he knows more than anybody that he’s not performing like he used to. Don’t think for a minute that doesn’t grate on him, just like it would for any athlete possibly facing the end of a career. Forget the money for one second, and take into account the human factor, the pride factor.


Howard has received his fair share of boos in this city. More than Utley, Rollins and Cole Hamels combined. He’s cooperated with reporters during even the most turbulent times when certain beloved Phillies legends would not, and he’s handled his demotion with the utmost class. What happened Saturday was unacceptable, and the fine line between a kid’s game and real life briefly became shockingly distorted.

 

The good news is that the majority of the Phillies’ fanbase (some of which probably booed Howard that same day) are supporting Howard, and are doing their part on social media to post the picture of this “fan” who if caught, should (at the very least) suffer banishment from Citizens Bank Park.

 

The bad news is that it took some idiot with a beer bottle for a large population of the Tri-State area to finally wake up, take a look at the big picture, and offer Ryan Howard any kind of encouragement.

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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Photo: LehighValleyLive.com

 

Photo of the alleged bottle thrower courtesy of 6ABC.com.