Slugger pins hopes to new “Don’t get hurt” mantra
Thursday night, Ryan Howard was warming up in the on-deck circle when suddenly his lead pipe slipped out of his hands, crushed his right big toe, and accidentally removed him from the lineup for the rest of this terrible season.
In the wake of this disaster, we’re left with many questions. Why was he wielding a lead pipe? Will Darin Ruf see playing time at first? Will this affect his overall health?
Fortunately, we also have answers so simple that we feel ridiculous for asking the questions: Because it’s how he and most hitters warm up for an at-bat. Yes, right now. No.
So 2012 comes to a close a bit earlier for one of the Phillies; one of the more important ones, who missed the front half of the season as well. Sure, he’ll hang around, high five rookies after their first big league hits, and get caught on camera having a chuckle with J-Roll on the bench, leading us all to smile wistfully about their younger, carefree days and wanting to be a part of the joke.
As we let the soft glow of the autumn sun caress our faces, enraptured in nostalgia, why don’t we see what those who would know think of Ryan’s situation.
“It’ll heal up pretty quickly.”
“I think his best years are ahead of him.”
“I just view it as an opportunity to start over…”
These are all good things being said by people, out loud, and about Ryan Howard. Which is better than you’d expect for a guy who ended last year with an ACL tear, lost most of this year to rehab, and ended it prematurely with a toe injury.
But starting over is healthy. If the Phillies can find a way to put 2012 behind them, and start 2013 with their best players thinking about not only production, but progression, than the team will be in a place to forget that last year was even a thing.
And also they could replace Ryan’s lead pipe with a nice, safe Styrofoam pipe. 2013 might be hinging on that, actually.