Clearwater, Fla – Coming to grips with reality that his best years are behind him, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard expressed his tremendous gratitude to the Phillies for allowing him another season in the sun and an opportunity to hoard barrels of free sunflower seeds and Bazooka Joe gum.
The 11-year veteran had a smile on his face as he participated in a spirited round of pepper with his teammates, the sun on his face, and a cheek filled to the brim with Ranch flavored sunflower seeds.
Perhaps Howard knows this will be the final year he has the opportunity to play for a franchise that has allowed him so much success and turned a blind eye to his blatant thievery for years.
“This game and this city have meant the world to me, but I think I still have something to give to this franchise,” Howard said, taking a few moments to let it all soak in.
“Plus if I can squirrel away just a few more barrels of sunflower seeds and cases of Bazooka Joe, I should be set for life,” the gracious Howard said.
The once dominant power hitter reflected on his years of hard work, hard games won, crushing losses, and hundreds of pounds of gum, seeds and basically anything not nailed down in the clubhouse he had stolen since he was just a rookie.
“I remember my first call up to the show back in 2004. Veterans like David Bell and Jim Thome really showed me how to play the game the correct way, how to behave like a professional, and how you can cram 12 barrels of David Jumbo Roasted and Salted seeds in the back of a hummer without anyone in the front office ever finding out.”
At press time, Howard recounted his MVP season in 2006 and the day he stumbled upon an unlocked storage shed filled with cases of Gatorade as the finest moments of his professional career.