Listen to Ryan Howard emotionally bid farewell to Philadelphia
Goodbyes are always hard, no matter how well-prepared you are for them and the Phillies have made it clear for a long time now that the time has come for Philadelphia to say goodbye to Ryan Howard since he will become a free agent after the season. When the Phillies drafted Howard in the fifth round of the MLB Draft 15 years ago, they were a franchise that was desperate for a winning team. On the backs of guys like Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Cole Hamels, the team and its fans would soon come to know the glory they so craved.
Howard was arguably the face of a run of success that saw five NL East titles, two pennants, and a World Series title from 2007-2011. He was the feared middle-of-the-lineup presence who slugged his way into the hearts of Phillies fans and now he's the final link to that glorious run.
Everyone knew today was coming -- the final day Howard would play for the Phillies -- but that didn't prevent emotions from running high. In the video up top, tears streamed down Howard's face as he addressed the Citizens Bank Park crowd for the final time as a Phillies player. When he came up to the plate for his first at bat in Sunday's game against the Mets, they responded in kind with a warm standing ovation.
Public address announcer Dan Baker drew out every ounce of emotion from the moment as he passionately and deliberately announced "Now batting for the Phillies… number six…. Ryannnn Howarrrrd!" for one of the final times.
His former teammate Shane Victorino even took to Twitter to pay tribute to Howard on his big day.
In the top of the ninth, the Phillies gave the crowd and Howard one final opportunity to say their goodbyes.
Ryan Howard is removed from the game in the top of the ninth inning, giving fans one final chance to salute him. Cool moment.- Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) October 2, 2016
As one long chapter of Phillies baseball comes to its official close today, we've proved once again that, yes, there is crying in baseball.