June 05, 2016
UPDATE [8:15 p.m.] – Following Sunday's 8-1 win over the Brewers, manager Pete Mackanin had the following to say about the incident:
On the incident and if he worries about player safety:
"I heard about it when I got in the clubhouse. I didn't know about it. But certainly, that's dangerous. Whoever threw that, we can't have that happen. Of course I'm concerned for my player's safety. It just can't happen."
On if he's disappointed that fans feel they have to resort to that:
"Well, I wouldn't group the fans together [with this guy]. There's always a bad apple in every bunch. And that's all it takes. It just takes one person who does something like that, but I wouldn't define the Philly fans, in general, as that type. Sure, they like to win, they're fanatical and they know their baseball. But I'm not going to put it on Philly fans because of that one bad apple."
The Phillies are currently investigating the incident, and we'll have more information as it becomes available.
An already painful year for struggling Phillies veteran Ryan Howard got a whole lot worse on Saturday after a fan reportedly threw a beer bottle at him as he lumbered back to the dugout during a 6-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers at Citizens Bank Park.
According to multiple reports, Howard was walking away from a pinch-hit ground out to end the game when a bottle landed nearby his feet.
"I've done too much in this town to have that kind of stuff," Howard told reporters Sunday, according to ESPN. "If you want to yell out 'You suck,' that's whatever. But when you start throwing stuff, that's when stuff gets personal."
Howard was benched last week and has been out of the Phillies starting lineup for the last five games. He said he didn't see the bottle fly through the air, but noticed it at his feet.
“I don’t play that. To me, that’s crossing the line. It becomes a security issue. It’s not necessary. That stuff infuriates me," Howard told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Phillies confirmed through spokespeople that they are investigating the incident.
Howard, understandably livid, emphasized that somebody needs to be held accountable for the incident. He pointed out the obvious double-standard: If he had rushed into the stands to fight the bottle-thrower, he'd get disciplined and likely sued, yet the rowdy fan can potentially walk away scot free.
Even if one were to twistedly suggest that this is the price of fading stardom at the end of a multimillion dollar career, just substitute Howard for any player and throwing a bottle is a complete disgrace.
Howard, 36, has spent his entire 13-year career with the Phillies and helped deliver Philadelphia a World Series championship in 2008, to say nothing of multiple deep playoff runs and All-Star appearances. With a batting average of just .151 and a salary of $25 million in the final year of his contract, he's become a punching bag on a team that has finally, fitfully begun to turn the page.
As for Howard's place in franchise history, he's second all-time in home runs (365) and third all-time in RBIs (1,154). It's not been a good year for the rehabilitating image of the Philadelphia fan. If true, this report marks a new low in disrespect — one we can only hope the team is able to rectify for everyone's sake.