Ryan Howard: 6 Epic

Something I wrote September 8th 2006. The season Ryan Howard won MVP. How much has really changed since then?

(Photo: Stephen Wilkes)
stephen-wilkes.jpg
He and Cecil’s boy, Prince are breathing thunder into inner-city baseball life


The first cry of infancy life morning. The moment your heart changed before “I love you” parted their lips adoring. Initial sips of coffee body cold. Six Epic is here to renaissance baseball’s soul.

Do you see? Will you see? Look into the young Black fan’s Christmas eyes as Six Epic’s bat thunders left center colossal with three runners on and the Phillies three behind.

Ryan Howard is helping to change baseball’s past and securing it’s future.

My goodness Ryan Howard! You are smashing down the door of the game we thought Pujols would reign for a generation.

Where did you come from Ryan?

We’ve all missed you.

Some where the Willie’s of baseball’s long ball left handed lore are smile reminiscing in historic jazz like fashion as they occasionally grip the bats in their gleaming trophy cases. They have been their a few times this season because of your timely ball splitting, base clearing trots just to make sure their bats were still there. They went there when you won Rookie of the Year. They went there again when you hit the Mastercard sign-dramatically winning this year’s home run derby. 50, 51, 52, 53, 54?

Damn! This kid is amazing!

Mr. McCovey and Mr. Stargell, you can rest because your bats are gonna be alright–with every homer Ryan hits, your names will continue to be spoken for years to come.

We’ll make sure of it.

Ryan Howard has a chance to actually transcend the way Philadelphia regards the uniform number 6. Julius “Dr.J” Erving’s heroics won’t soon be forgotten, but Howard is doing things that have never been done. Philadelphia has had few African American baseball stars, and this could be good for a city known for it’s passionate and sometimes overboard fans.

Philly would be smart to keep the nucleus of Rollins, Utley and Howard together if they truly want a chance to win in October.

Trading Jim Thome to the Chicago White Sox was a bold move for the Phillie’s brass. They have let go a number of all star caliber players in recent times and were mortgaging their public relations if Howard’s phenom star didn’t quickly light up the Citizen Park sky.

Hardcore Philly fans were upset. They didn’t care that Howard led all of organized baseball in 2004 with 48 homers–mainly languishing in the minors. They thought Thome was their hope, but his back just wouldn’t hold up and the rest is revisionist history.

Hey Reggie! Sorry Mr. Jackson, but you better duck! This kid is blasting them late in games. Whether or not he can do it in post season play remains to be seen, but this kid is proving to be regular season Big Papi like clutch. He’s won two games so far in his young career with grand slams in tie ball games.

On Aug. 31, he set the Phillie record for homers in a season, breaking hall of fame inductee Michael Jack Schmidt’s record of 48 with a towering upper deck blast in Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium. Three days later on Sept. 3, he hit three homers to shatter the 1947 Ralph Kiner record of 51 home runs by a second year player.

He’s hitting balls out of the park in Bond’s like frequency-a mere 9.5 at bats. In two years he’s hit dingers in 15 parks and is well on his way to surpass Mike Piazza’s National League record of 30. He also tied for the most rbi’s in a month with 41, (Frank Howard, 1962) and is the reigning National League player of the month. He leads the majors in homers and rbi’s.

Remember when Albert was running away with the National league MVP race? Well this is turning out to be a race between Flash and Superman. It’s going to be interesting to see if the voters give Howard his MVP props if he continues to bop balls into the stands at such an astonishing clip. It is an obvious fact Jim Thome has helped in the development of Howard. Thome is known to go opo from time to time, and Ryan has become a fast learner and quickly followed suit. It’s funny how sports works, but trading Thome has paid dividends for both teams…That is a rarity in an era of one sided transactions where teams have been known to fire sale their future–and taking many years to recover.

The same quick pen that cynically wrote of rampant steroid use without addressing the real issue of how performance enhancing drugs in sports is affecting our kids, or the same water cooler chats that condemned the entire baseball world, should also start to move on. Baseball has implemented a punishing drug policy for offenders and it’s time to get back to telling our children about dramatic unprejudiced baseball moments instead of being so damn negative when actually your family member or next door neighbor has a needle sticking out of his butt right…..now!

Bonds is the record holder regardless of how many homers Howard hits. To question 73 is absurd regardless of how Barry got there.

Get the mic out of Ryan’s face if you are going to ask him undeserved questions about the other guy. The game is beginning to cleanse itself, so give the game back to the kids and get it off weekday afternoon TV.

Sports doesn’t belong there in the first place. It might be entertainment to you, but to some it’s athletics.

Ryan Howard has (along with Florida Marlin Dontrelle Willis) become the African American baseball player of record. Bonds is still the best and deserves to be characterized as such until he’s gone from the game, but Howard is a player who is making a historic impact now. We all know that Blacks are dropping the bats, balls, gloves and running to the yard markers and hardwood in droves. Caucasian and Latino role model as well as fan interests in the game have become iron clad secure. Blacks need someone like Howard to ensure their future in a game that simply doesn’t care to scout for talent in the inner city.

Why is that? If baseball truly wants a diverse talent pool then they will get out of congressional hearings and scour the entire world for capable players.

Baseball luckily has been blessed with a young African American slugger that it can market and help get everyone’s mind off of steroids. Race is a factor here because of the aforementioned fact that the sport is lacking in Blacks. Highlight shows in the morning can now post Howard’s exploits to open their show. He has become a household name in a mere two years. As good as Pujols is, Howard is on his way to matching Albert’s remarkable numbers to start a career. Remember when the American league boasted multiple all star players at first base and you simply didn’t know who to vote for come all star ballot time? The National League now has that enviable problem with two stars that will drive the game for years to come.

Again, move on people and leave the steroid debate in its proper perspective. Do not close your eyes to the threat of performance enhancing drugs, but appreciate the budding greatness that is Ryan Howard.

Do your thing Ryan, the world is clapping in gratitude.

The story of Six Epic continues.

11 Responses to “Ryan Howard: 6 Epic”

  1. Inkognegro says:

    Get out of my head Mizz.

    If you look HARD at Baseball, you will see a budding nucleus.

    Howard, Rollins, Chris Young, Delmon Young, Carl Crawford, Milledge, The brothers Upton, CC Sabathia are HERE

    and if you look just beneath the surface there are some more on the way.

    Baseball MUST use this as an opportunity to substantially reignite what CAN be a baseball renaissance.

    The REAL question is…do they WANT to?

  2. mizzo says:

    The 2nd part of the interview with Justice B. Hill will be posted no later than tomorrow morning. We speak about what baseball is doing presently at length. You’ll be surprised.

  3. MODI says:

    very nice piece mizzo that was worth the repost…

    ink, how did you slip milledge in with the others?

  4. michelle says:

    Good read!

  5. mizzo says:

    Thank you my people.

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  7. Baseball is OUR great American history and hopefully Ryan Howard can not only save baseball in Philadelphia, but also around the country for the young black youth.

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