Phillies Defeat Bucs, 5-4

Jack Wilson went 3-for-3 with a homer, and Ian Snell pitched two scoreless innings against mostly big leaguers. Here's the recap, which itself is pretty interesting:

"I own Ryan Howard now," Snell said with a big smile. "I love to face him. It's a challenge and we've had a good rivalry ever since we were starting out in the minor leagues in 2001."

Howard laughed when told of Snell's comments.

"I'd own myself, too, if I always quick-pitched myself," he said.

Howard then turned serious.

"We have a unique relationship," he said. "Even though we're in different organizations, we played against each other every step of the way coming up through the minor leagues, and now we see each other in the major leagues. It's pretty neat."

That's kind of cool. Not as cool as it would have been if Dave Littlefield would have been smart enough to accept Philly's offer of Howard for Kris Benson - though their relationship might not have been as "unique" then - but still cool.

Actually, Howard, who became semi-legendary in the minors before he arrived in the bigs, must have seemed almost Ruthian to Snell and Snell's teammates. Both of them played in the New York-Penn League in 2001, then in the South Atlantic League in 2002. At that point, Howard was just a moderately-interesting, high-strikeout power prospect.

Snell and Howard played in different high-A leagues in 2003, but then were back together in the Class AA Eastern League in 2004. By then, Howard was just a monster. He hit a homer for every 10 at bats in AA that year, then hit them with almost the same frequency in 29 games at Class AA Scranton. (By the way, can it possibly be a coincidence that one of the main characters on the Office, which is set in Scranton and debuted in 2005, is named Ryan Howard? Based on the fact that at least one writer for the show is a pretty serious baseball fan, I assume it isn't.)

Howard and Snell also played together in Class AAA for part of 2005 - Howard posted a 1157 OPS, while Snell was one of the league's best pitchers. Both got their first extended shot in the big leagues that year.

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