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Ryan Howard officially announces his retirement

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Ryan Howard has not played baseball in 2018 and, in 2017, spent the year with the Triple-A affiliates of the Braves and Rockies. It was clear, then, that his major league career was over, even if he never formally announced his retirement. Still, a player of Howard’s caliber is entitled to an official retirement announcement and today he made his, in a post at The Players Tribune.

It’s a lengthy post, primarily a love letter to the fans in Philadelphia and the Phillies organization, chronicling all of the highs and all of the lows of his career, all thirteen big league seasons of which were spent in a Phillies uniform. He closes it like this:

All you can hope for in baseball, I think, is a moment of perfection every now and again. You can hope for a few, perfect moments — moments that belong to you, that are yours. And then you can hope for them to matter.

And if it’s cool with everyone reading this … I’m going to feel like my moments did.

So thank you to the entire Phillies organization. Thank you to my teammates turned brothers. Thank you to my beautiful wife, Krystle, our two daughters, Ariana and Alexandria, and my son, Darian. Thank you to the crazy game that I’ll miss, and the crazy city that I love. And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the most passionate group of fans in the world.

Y’all took a chance on this big, quiet kid from St. Louis — and for that I’ll always be grateful.

Howard’s big league career ends with a line of .258/.343/.515 with 382 career home runs and 1,194 career RBI in 1,572 games. He was the 2005 NL Rookie of the Year, led the league in homers in 2006 and 2008, hitting 58 bombs in the former season, for which he won the NL MVP award, and hit 48 in the latter. He had two other seasons with 45+ homers and led the league in RBI in 2006, 2008 and 2009, driving in more than 140 runs in each of those seasons. Howard, of course, won a World Series ring with the 2008 Phillies and played in the 2009 World Series as well. He was the MVP of the 2009 NLCS.

His peak was certainly Hall of Fame worthy, but the bookends of his career left him with a resume that will keep him out of Cooperstown.

He got a late start to his big league career, thanks to a conservative approach to promoting prospects by the Phillies front office and thanks to being blocked by future Hall of Famer Jim Thome at first base early on. As such he did not make his big league debut until he was almost 25 years-old despite the fact that he destroyed minor league pitching from 2001-2004. The back end of his career was impacted by an achilles injury in the final play of the Phillies Game 5 loss in the NLDS to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011 that cut short his following season, with additional injuries hampering him in 2013. He was never really the same after that.

Despite all of that, Howard’s career was a wonderful one, which he chronicles with much love and affection in his post today. Go check it out.

Will fans be allowed to attend MLB playoff games?

The MLB Playoffs are underway!
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After a condensed 60-game regular season, the MLB playoffs kicked off this week with an usual 16-team format that you can read more about below, but one of the many questions on everyone’s mind is whether or not fans will be allowed to attend MLB playoff games.

Will fans be allowed to go to MLB playoff games?

There have been no spectators at any games this season but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful that fans will be able to attend the National League Championship Series and World Series Games. Both will take place in Texas which has been one of the few states allowing spectators to attend events this year.

“We are pressing ahead to have fans in Texas with a ticket sales announcement expected soon,” said Manfred to reporters at USA Today Sports. “One of the most important things to our game is the presence of fans. Starting down the path of having fans in stadiums, and in a safe and risk-free environment, is very, very important to our game.’’

Earlier this month, the Dallas Cowboys allowed over 21,000 fans into AT&T Stadium for the home opener. However, the MLB is still waiting for approval from Texas government officials. ALCS and NLCS games are expected to begin on October 11 and 12, respectively.

Below is the format and locations for each round. Unlike the regular season, there will be a bubble setup for each series in the postseason with the exception of the Wild Card round. Click here for the MLB schedule and scoreboard.

MLB Playoffs Format

Wild Card Series (Best-of-three): September 29 – October 2

All games will be held at the higher seed’s ball park.

American League

No. 1 Rays vs. No. 8 Blue Jays
No. 2 Athletics vs. No. 7 White Sox
No. 3 Twins vs. No. 6 Astros
No. 4 Cleveland vs. No. 5 Yankees

National League

No. 1 Dodgers vs. No. 8 Brewers
No. 2 Braves vs. No. 7 Reds
No. 3 Cubs vs. No. 6 Marlins
No. 4 Padres vs. No. 5 Cardinals

Division Series (Best-of-five): October 5 -10

The American League Division Series will be contested at Petco Park in San Diego and Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The National League Division Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas and Minute Maid Park in Houston.

League Championship Series (Best-of-seven): October 11-18

The American League Championship Series will be held at Petco Park in San Diego while the National League Championship Series will take place at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

World Series (Best-of-seven): October 20-28

The World Series will be held at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Home field advantage will go to the team with the best regular-season record.

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