Did Ryan Howard extension block out the sun?

Ryan Howard: Eater of Worlds. (Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports file photo)

Ryan Howard took a good-natured jab at those fickle fans in baseball-crazy Philadelphia.

"Hopefully there's no riots taking place back in Philly," he joked of his new mega deal.

Get used to it, City of Brotherly Love. This guy's going to be around for a while.

--ESPN, April 27, 2010

As some have said, this is the beginning of the end.

Something didn’t feel right about the near unanimous picks of the Phillies to win the NL East in 2012, and things started crumbling from there. Cracks began spindling from the outer fringes of the Phillies, heading straight for the heart – Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino, Joe Blanton were early casualties, and from then on the Phillies tried throwing human shields like Ty Wigginton and Delmon Young and Reid Brignac at the problem, only to now find the pangs of fractured hope and logic reaching their very core.

Literally, in fact. The core of Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, and Cole Hamels have been around forever, but now seem to exist solely to be referred to as “the core.” Or sometimes, “the aging core.”

Now, we have the foresight to look back on Howard’s deal and see how dark a day it was when he initially signed it.

As the curse settled upon us, we knew that the day would come in which Howard’s extension would turn to ash in our hands and the cackling of devils would ring with the clarity of true evil. The players could give each other nary a grim look, knowing now that the world was on fire, and they would indeed watch it burn.

"Where we going to eat, Ryan?" Ben Francisco asked.

Howard just chuckled.

"He's going to take all your money," quipped Shane Victorino.

Even general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. got into the fun.

"As part of this deal, he has agreed to buy a second home for me," Amaro joked...

--ESPN, April 27, 2010

We knew, though, didn't we? We saw through the fluffy universal optimism of the deal and recognized everything that was wrong with the extension instantly, because we possess the clairvoyance necessary to see and know everything.

The glimmer of sunlight behind glowering grey of a post apocalyptic horizon is there, though. The team has realized that moving Howard if they can, breaking the core, and making even a sideways attempt at a reboot, could be their sole salvation in a sinister future.

"Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. 'emphatically' denied reports suggesting that the team was considering a release of Howard, writes CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury. 'That is not something we are contemplating,' Amaro told Salisbury. 'I don’t know where that’s coming from.'"

--MLB Trade Rumors, this morning