"It meant something for us, and it meant something for him," Charlie Manuel said. "He needed that."
A fan base needed that.
And with one swing of the bat while trailing the Mets by a run in the ninth inning with two outs, Ryan Howard kept the blip on the Phillies season's heart monitor from turning into a straight line. If you're going to jolt a bit of life back into a team, that's one hell of a way to do it.
[watch video of Ryan Howard's two-run home run against the Mets]
Your browser does not support iframes.
A Big Piece bomb can bring excitement to even the most skeptical and downtrodden of Philadelphia fans. There's nothing quite like the Phillies slugger simply killing a baseball. His game and season saver on Wednesday knocked off the second deck at Citi Field.
It was sweet.
The Phillies offense was nonexistent for 8 and 2/3 innings on Wednesday night in Flushing, New York, aside from another Jimmy Rollins leadoff home run to start the game.
And in all reality, the Phillies will still likely be booking tee times for the first week of October, but Wednesday night reminded us of how enjoyable some of the guys on this Phillies team can be to watch. And it shut up some of the haters that make talking baseball with some people in this town so unbearable at times.
One sports radio caller I heard earlier in the day on Wednesday actually said Manuel should bench Howard for the remainder of the season. You know who the caller said they should start in his place? "Anybody."
Sure, one sweet swing isn't going to make Howard's season numbers instantly transform into preeminent slugger numbers overnight. But one swing can remind us of what he's capable of if he can come back fully healthy next spring.
Wednesday night was a reminder that Phillies baseball can be fun.
You know what my favorite part of it all was? Okay, besides the Big Piece watching it go and raising his arm and pointing to the sky while rounding first. The fan they showed on TV with his rally cap on.
That poor sucker sat through an entire 2012 Phillies-Mets game at CitiField surrounded by the jorted masses few only to see his team one out away from going down without throwing any punches.
Then Howard destroys a baseball and it pays off like hell yeah. That's why you go to potentially meaningless games in September.
And now we get to watch at least a few more meaningful ones.
@dhm GIF'd the homb as well. It's a beaut. Kevin Frandsen is a fan.
For more about the unlikeliness of Howard's late homer -- he hadn't had a hit off a lefty reliever ALL SEASON -- check out John Gonzalez's story: Howard plays unexpected hero in Phillies' win.