In a comment on yesterday's post about Ryan Howard's Philly Mag cover story, commenter Joe from Haddonfield told of his spring training tale.
My 9-y.o. son and I were in Clearwater two weeks ago for some Spring Training action. We sat in the picnic section, which is the primo location for meeting players/getting autographs. You get access to players without the pushing of other section. Hence, longer access to players.
Another kid, clearly very ill with little hair and various tubes hanging out of him, was next to us.
Howard walked over after his turn at B.P. and shagging flies. He began signing a stack of things for the sick kid. He wasn't going to stop until the kid's pile was gone. The sick kid was speechless. My son was speechless. That left me one-on-one with the reigning NL MVP. He was a great guy to talk to. We had seen him throwing bats in frustration at BP for two days, so I asked about his swing. He talked about his struggles two weeks before the local media picked up the thread. He joked with the kids. Talked about where to eat. His least favorite ballparks.
He is a rare man. Kind. Focused. Dedicated. Talented.
Ryan Howard. Good dude. Thanks for sharing, Joe in Haddonfield.
SANDY, Utah -- Joao Plata scored his first goal of the season and Real Salt Lake beat the Union, 1-0, on Saturday night to snap Philadelphia's club-record winning streak at four games.
Plata tapped in his goal in the 36th minute after quickly exchanging short passes twice with Jefferson Savarino. Tony Beltran got the play started by saving the ball just before it went over the goal line.
The Union (4-5-5) had a chance to tie it in stoppage time, but goalie Nick Rimando blocked Haris Medunjanin's belt-high free kick and Salt Lake (4-8-2) cleared it after a scramble in front of the net.
Union goalkeeper Andre Blake made seven saves.
Howie Kendrick on Saturday night made his fourth rehab appearance in Triple A during Lehigh Valley's 13-1 rout of the Louisville Bats in Allentown.
Kendrick went 1 for 5 with a run scored and three strikeouts. He also grounded into a double play and left two runners in scoring position.
It was his second rehab game playing third base. He played third during his appearance in the IronPigs' 8-4 loss Thursday to the Indianapolis Indians. He was 0 for 1 in three plate appearances with a run scored and was hit by a pitch twice (see story).
The Phillies' plan for Kendrick was to have him play a minimum four games at Lehigh Valley. He played left field in two games and third base twice. Pete Mackanin said Wednesday that Kendrick would also get a game at first base but he hasn't gotten a game at first yet.
There is a chance Kendrick could be recalled Sunday before the Phillies’ series finale against the Cincinnati Reds depending on how he feels.
Kendrick has been sidelined since April 15 with an oblique strain. In 10 games before the injury, Kendrick went 13 for 39 (.333) with five extra-base hits and four walks while exclusively playing left field.