It’s been a typically excellent year from Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. Howard is on track once more to hit over 30 home runs and drive in 100 runs, and he’s been able to keep pace with his standards despite batting in an arguably weaker lineup than in years past.
But Howard has been something of an afterthought with the Phillies this year, mostly because the Phillies pitching staff has become perhaps the premiere attraction in all of baseball. They’re like the Beatles, if the Beatles were American and threw baseballs exceptionally hard and were not the Beatles. Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee are all going to the All-Star game this week, and that’s probably the reason why Howard is not. His notoriety has been usurped, and he told the folks at the The Good Point that he’s got no problem with it:
Wherever you want to put your focus, that's not going to change the fact that we're going to go out there and do our job.
And why wouldn’t he be happy to cede the limelight? There’s nothing better than being an extremely rich and famous baseball player, unless you’re a really rich and famous baseball player who plays alongside even MORE famous baseball players, which allows you some measure of privacy and sanctuary from heavy scrutiny. It’s a dream come true for any ballplayer, really. Howard gets to swing away while the four horsemen absorb all the horrible media onslaught. Stats-wise, this may not be Howard’s finest season. But if he can help the Phillies cruise to a World Series title and not have to stand the spotlight, I’m quite sure it will be his happiest.