Every year around this time, there is always a debate of who was “snubbed” from the All Star game or complaints about the voting system. There may be other players who deserve it more than Ryan Howard (Pablo Sandoval, etc.) however, Charlie Manuel picked Howard as a reserve for the All Star team and his reasons are understandable.
First off, Howard is Phillie. Manuel’s players are the reason he is coaching the All Star Game in the first place.
Second, Howard is from St. Louis. His numbers at Busch Stadium are incredible. In 17 games, Howard is batting .381 (24-for-63) with 7 HR and 29 RBI. His on-base percentage is .536, his slugging percentage is .746 and his OPS is 1.282.
The National League has four first baseman (Albert Pujols, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and Howard), so chances are Howard will not get to play. However, Howard could pinch hit and Manuel feels that Howard is a reliable bat off the bench. He has proven he can hit in his hometown and hit in a pinch. If this is any indication, Manuel isn’t going to make everyone happy. He is going for the win.
Third, there was a section on the All Star ballots to vote for possible Home Run Derby contestants. Howard finished second in the balloting, and he will indeed participate in the home run derby, which he won in 2006.
Whether it is the Home Run Derby, or a pinch hit at-bat, this is Howard’s chance to shine in front of his hometown, and make the most out of the situation.