Ryan waves and acknowledges the fans, after they send him on his way to end his Phillies career
What a day for a Phillies fan. It's a day that ended the season and what a long season it's been with the Phillies playing the way they have been playing all season. It all ended with a win at Citizens Bank Park earlier this afternoon. It probably didn't matter either way, as the Phils had dropped 9 of their last 10 games anyway but it feels good to at least end the season with a 'W'.
We said goodbye to Ryan Howard. It was the final series that the fans could come out to see him. This wasn't an event that was planned for a long time, in fact, it just came about within the last 10 days of the season, the Phils would play Ryan all weekend to end the season, and give the fans a chance to come out and see him. Maybe a marketing ploy that the front office thought up, and it worked. The good Phillies fans turned out, not a sellout, but a good number of fans on a Sunday to see Howard off turned up and really told him how they thought about him. The last 'piece' from the glory years of just a few years ago was leaving after today.
Ryan will still be getting a check from the Phillies in 2017, it's going to be a very big one as well at $10M to buy him out of the season. That's not to hard to take to the bank. It will take his earnings as a Phillies player to just about $165M, not too bad for playing baseball.
This writer preferred to recall the memories that Howard left with the city and the team that were from a few years ago on the last day of the season. It was in 2007 when all the good things started happening for a team that would go on to win it all in 2008. But, on that last day of 2007, we edged out the Mets to claim the title of NL East Champs, and that was a thrilling time to be a Phillies fan.
A total team effort was in place to do that feat, many of the players from that 2007 team were the same guys that won it all for themselves and the city in 2008. From 2007 on, Philadelphia earned a reputation as a 'baseball' town. Players wanted to come to Philadelphia as the money was good, and the spirit and chances of winning with the team were high.
Now, in 2016 a lot of that spirit has left. The last piece of the World Championship team is gone, as is the last connection to the winning times that this team has had as well. The end of an era, we're promised a return to greatness, but it's taking a very long time. We're now 5 full seasons without a postseason appearance and finishing as poorly as we have the last couple years, it's hard to see that we'll be back in contention anytime soon.
Maybe we'll all have to follow the words of Vin Scully when he said, don't be mad that it's over, just smile and remember cause you were part of it. The winning in baseball will return to this city, it's just a question of when.
Spring Training in 2017 is a long way away, we'll see where that takes us for next season.