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.