The Ryan Howard Legend Continues... But Arthur Rhodes Ruins the story...
6/21/2006 11:10 AM
Byline: Mike Cunningham
Arthur Rhodes ruins the chance for me to tell my grandkids someday about how Ryan Howard beat the New York Yankees, single-handedly. Well, maybe not?
Maybe I'll lie to my grandkids someday. Perhaps last night's game against the New York Yankees ends differently. Presumably I'll tell my grandchildren that Ryan Howard indeed won the game with a 3 run home run, his third of the night. Hopefully, the internet at that time will be split into 3 or 4 different networks, so my resourceful grandson or granddaughter won't be able to find retrosheet.org or even hammradio.com.
Last night, Arthur Rhodes gave up 4 runs in the 8th inning, all earned, despite a David Bell misplay of a Bernie Williams grounder in the first at bat which set up the rally, which was originally scored an error. [Does someone hate Rhodes? Or was someone trying to save Bell's legacy? Or did someone try to preserve a perfect night for the resurrected Bernie Williams?] The Phils had a 7-5 lead at the time.
Those seven runs? All courtesy of your hometown legend, Paul Bunyan himself, Ryan Howard. Citizens Bank Park filled to capacity last night with 44, 775 fans and according to ESPN, it was overflowing by 2.9% over capacity. Quick Math tells me that capacity is 43, 513. The Phillies list the stadium at 43, 500. Regardless, legends will be handed down by twice that number, who will all claim they were there when they saw Howard single-handedly beat the Yankees.
He did if you left before Arthur Rhodes came in the 8th. Talk Radio nuts who wanted to criticize Charlie Manuel for not leaving in Geoff Geary, who finished the 7th after failing to hold on to runners left behind by Rheal Cormier, allowing the ARod to tie the game with a single. But that run didn't matter did it? Not for the legend of Ryan Howard?
Howard's first homerun of the game came in the first against Mike Mussina. It was a 3 run blast that off the bat was SO high I thought it would bring rain. It kept going. It was mammoth. I've had the pleasure of seeing Howard's moon shot over the centerfield wall into the cotton candy/lemonade stand, 491 feet away. I was present for Barry Bonds Ruthian blast for 713, which nearly reached the 3rd deck. Howard's shot was topped both. Although, we didn't believe it hit the 3rd deck. It wasn't until the bottom of the second inning, were we treated to a replay of that shot. A guy from Wilmington reached over the railing to catch the shot
A young boy catching the ball just above the Auto Trader sign. The replay shows Bret Myers and Ryan Madson screaming like little children over that shot. It was legendary. And I was there. Have the ticket to prove it too.
The legend continued in the 4th with Pat Burrell on first. He scored with Abreu on the first homer. The crowd could feel another homer. They could. Catcher Jorge Posada set-up outside. My buddy Scott said to himself, "He'll just hit one the other way." And he did. Another huge shot. Distances in the stadium are weird and Phillies claimed there was perhaps a 30 foot difference between the two. Perhaps that's where the balls were stopped. Because Howard's shot was 550 at least! Measure the damn ball to sea level!!!
The comparisons to Willie Stargell, David Ortiz and the Phillies own Dick Allen continue. The legends will continue.
Howard was intentionally walked with a man on second, to a chorus of boos. It was the right move. Howard would have hit his 3rd homer there. There is NO doubt. Later, Howard triples in the bottom of the 7th to give the Phillies a lead once again. This time off of a lefty! All 7 of Howard's RBI gave the Phillies leads. Leads the Phillies pitchers couldn't hold.
The story ends with the Phillies down by 2 runs. Jimmy Rollins weakly grounds out. Chase Utley singles. Abreu strikes out looking after working a 3-2 count. David Delucci comes in to pinch hit for Ryan Franklin who took over for Rhodes, the legend killer. I told my buddy Scott, with Howard on deck, Delucci cannot leave Howard stuck on deck. And there it was a texas leaguer into the left field. First and second. And Ryan Howard gets to face the greatest closer in Major League history.
Well, you know how the story ends. A grounder to Miguel Cairo ends the game. But my grandkids will hear a different story. In their story Arthur Rhodes doesn't exist. And Ryan Howard's tale will grow a little taller.