Ryan Howard, Regular Guy
"Why is it there are so many nice guys interested in baseball? Not me, I was a real bastard when I played." Burleigh Grimes
It was just another shopping trip to Target. But what started as a quest for ordinary household items ended with possession of a holy grail.
You'll like this story. Especially if you live in Philly. Love baseball. And the Phillies. Have a kid who loves the Phillies.
There I was at Target, moving along the aisles, grabbing things on my list, trying to get in, get out.
Then I remembered they sell sports team gear. Perfect! The Phillies just won the National League East division championship. I wanted something for my son. And me.
I headed for the T-shirts. Strike one. Lots of Eagles stuff, but nobody, including me, was buying. At least for now.
I thought to myself, Automotive. They'll have magnets, car flags, mugs, something. Strike two.
Automotive is across the aisle from Toys, don't ask me why. Okay, there was a toy on my shopping list. And, I thought a bit desperately, maybe I'd find a Phillies toy too. Strike three.
My Target's a friendly neighborhood place. I'd been asking other shoppers if they noticed Phillies stuff. Nobody had.
As I headed away from Toys, a guy in baggy jeans and a gray T-shirt asked me if I knew where the Transformers were. I'd just passed some, so I showed him.
Then I asked him if he'd seen any Phillies stuff. He kind of ducked his head and said no.
As I checked out I noticed some Target managers gathered around the security monitors. Uh oh. Trouble? I was still on my quest, so I approached them anyway.
"Excuse me, but is there anything Phillies in the store?" I asked plaintively.
Wait for it...
One guy said, "Does Ryan Howard count?"
"He's in the store now. Shopping."
The money pitch...
"He's in Toys."
Oh yeah. You got it. The Transformers guy. And I'd asked him if he "saw any Phillies stuff." Oy.
Don't start. He wasn't wearing a Phillies uniform. He wasn't surrounded by an entourage or a crowd of fans. Would you expect to see Ryan Howard shopping in "Tar-jay"?
Happy ending: my son is now the proud owner of an autographed toy baseball. Hey, it's only fitting. And it was that or my Target receipt.