The announcement came at 2 o’clock this afternoon, then a conference call with writers from around the country, a 4 o’clock press conference in a jam-packed Media Room at Citizens Bank Park and a reception with the media and front office staff in the Diamond Club…that was Ryan Howard’s afternoon as the fourth Phillies player to win the Most Valuable Player award.

How do you plan for an event which may not take place?

The Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) is in control of the award that began in 1931.  The BBWAA keeps the results pretty secret.  We didn’t find out until after 1:15 p.m. today that Ryan had won.   

We made plans for Ryan winning and Ryan not winning, sort of like a political election.  Only there would be no concession speech.

We wanted to make the victory a production, balloons, large poster-sized photos of Chuck Klein, Jim Konstanty and Mike Schmidt (previous Phillies MVPs), video of the same threesome and video congratulatory messages from Schmidt, Allen Iverson, Donovan McNabb, Governor Rendell and others.

A 35’x57’ banner was unfurled at the Third Base Gate at CBP this afternoon.  A larger banner (45’x76’) will be unfurled on the north side of Philadelphia’s City Hall tomorrow.

       Tomorrow morning, Ryan will visit the A.S. Jenks School in south Philadelphia where the third graders have painted a mural of Ryan.  The students will also sing “Happy Birthday” (Ryan turned 27 on Sunday) and share cake with the new MVP.  At 3 in the afternoon, Ryan will be hosted at City Hall by Mayor John Street.  Tomorrow night, he’ll be a guest at the 76ers game and then he returns to his home in St. Louis to join his family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Knowing that November 20 was the announcement date, we had scheduled Ryan to be in Philadelphia to tape the narration of the Phillies’ 2006 video yearbook at NFL Films.  There’s a two-hour window for the taping tomorrow.

We also flew in his mom and dad from St. Louis for three days.  They deserved to be here in case he won.  Brother Chris flew in from LSU.  The four attended the Eagles game on Sunday.

Should someone else have won, Ryan would have been available for Philadelphia-area TV stations and a conference call with the print media.  No press conference, no banners, no mayor’s reception.

We rolled the dice and came out a winner, as did Ryan.


Congrats to Ryan Howard for a season to remember. Starting the season breaking Richie Allen’s Spring Training record for smacking waffles was a good omen.
Job well done Ryan and equally the Phillies for putting on the Ritz for him.

I saw the announcement of changes within the Phillies PR department, including the promotion of Leigh Tobin to Director Of Public Relations, in a news item on Thanksgiving Day.
As VP/PR does this affect you in any way? Will you remain with the Phillies for the forseeable future? I have had some dealings with you both as a fan and as a free-lance reporter and they have been extremely favorable, as you have been more than helpful in each case. I hope you remain with the club for as long as you wish.

Best wishes,

Dennis O.

You, meaning the Phillies just don’t get it. NO free agent signings that amount to anything at this point (11/24/06′). You would think after 26 years you would spend the money and produce a winner. Being competitive is not good enough for a city and a fan base that is starving for greatness and a championship. I have had seasons tickets for 4 years and now don’t even won’t them. You raise ticket prices for the third straight year and for what? So you continue to get rich and not spend it. This is almost like stealing. You just don’t get it. The team you have is just not good enough. SPEND THE MONEY!!!

Larry: I wanted to get your thoughts on the Phillies’ lack of presence in the Far East. It’s a little discouraging to see other teams signing Asian players while the Phillies have done very little in this area. I’m not talking about Hawaii (Shane Victorino) where Hawaiian-residing players are Americans and as such are subject to the Annual Amateur Draft. Instead I mean the team has not done much regarding scouting in Asia for Taiwanese or Korean talent, and has yet to sign a Japanese free agent from their Pro Leagues. I can see why the Phillies did not participate in “posting” bids to get players a year or two early, because then they are paying both the Japanese team and the player, at inflated auction rates, but why hasn’t the team shown any interest in Japanese players who have gone through the normal channels and are now “true” free agents? Negotiating contracts in that situation would not lead to much overpricing and would me more akin to negotiating with American major leagues free agents.

Follwing up on my previous comments about Far East players: Since there has been a major leagues Scouting Bureau for about 30 years founded as a central clearinghouse of scouting information open to all teams or all “subscribers” for info about American amateur prospects, couldn’t such a Scouting Bureau be established by MLB/The Commissioner’s Office to scout Asian players. With all teams paying their share it would be cheaper than operating scouting depts. in Asia for individual teams. The richer teams like the Yankees could continue to scout Asia independently to some extent, if they choose. Then you wouldn’t have the same few teams,(Yankees, Seattle) dominating the Asian market.
I totally reject the idea that the Phillies haven’t explored the Asian market more deeply because they have a relatively small Asian population/natural fan base in their region. The Phillies should be trying to acquire the best possible players, no matter what source, and considerations about whether they will sell more tickets because there is a big ethnic fan base in their market, should be only secondary concerns.

Dennis Orlandini

Irvington, NJ

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