And no, as Ken Mandel pointed out in the press box while waiting for the rain to stop, Abreu did not allow the balls to drop in front of him before he picked them up and put them where they belonged.
*** It was fun to see Dick Allen at the ballpark on Saturday. Allen, a favorite of my uncle Jim, showed up to present Ryan Howard with his 2005 Rookie of the Year Award. Though Howard officially received the award in New York last December, the Phillies wanted to re-gift it on the field before Saturday’s game against the Dodgers. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.
Anyway, Allen, the 1964 Rookie of the Year and 1972 AL MVP, was none for his prodigious power and out-spoken nature in an era before juiced balls, maple bats, band-box ballparks and media saturation. Part problem child and free spirit, Allen’s colorfulness would undoubtedly make him a celebrity in today’s game.
When talking about Howard and old-time baseball, Allen was engaging and truthful. In fact, when asked if he had ever seen a player with Howard’s power to the opposite field, Allen said: “Yeah, Rico Carty, Roberto Clemente, Willie Mays… ”
Then he paused and raised his eyebrows as if to say, “You want me to keep going.”
The response did not come off as a slight on Howard. Instead, it showed how the Phillies new slugging first baseman is part of the baseball oracle.
*** Along with his parents, Howard’s five-year-old son presented him with his Rookie of the Year Award. As someone with a son a week away from turning two, seeing Howard with his boy and parents was the highlight of my day.
I imagine it would be awesome to watch your dad hit homers and receive big-time awards just as I imagine it would be the greatest thrill ever to watch your son accomplish Herculean feats.