We can’t say with certainty that Ryan Howard a home run Friday for a little boy who is blind. What we can say for sure is a little boy named A.J., who is 7 years old and who is blind, asked Ryan Howard before the game to hit a home run and that Ryan Howard clobbered the first strike Ricky Nolasco presented him straightaway over the right-field wall.
There is a chance that Ryan Howard, who bashed 304 big-league taters before A.J. asked him for another, hit the home run for himself, for the Phillies, for all the good people of Philadelphia or for no more reason than that it was there to be hit, and that at the moment he was the only one who could hit it. Duty and instinct defy reason, and surely both were at work when Howard took that first cut against the Marlins.
But because we cannot be sure one way or another, and because A.J.’s "Blink"-speed reaction was, "Oh, my gosh, that’s probably for me," we will defer to A.J., who was on-hand for the whole shebang and whose guess is as good as anyone’s. We will, however, humbly suggest to A.J. that if he wants to ensure a hit is indeed bespoke, he should next time ask for a triple from Howard, whose next three-bagger will be his first since 2011.
Post-homer Howard photo credit: Associated Press