THREE DAYS AGO, the Daily News obtained court documents from a series of lawsuits that detailed the incredibly sad story of the off-the-field drama Ryan Howard has dealt with for the better part of the last 3 years.
Howard's twin brother, Corey, sued him for $2.8 million, and his parents, Ron and Cheryl Howard, were demanding a total of $10 million to "walk away from Ryan's business affairs." The suits were settled out of court last month.
A first, interesting glimpse inside the inner workings of the Howard family, however, came almost 7 years ago in an episode of HBO's "Real Sports that debuted on Feb. 12, 2007, a few short months after Howard won National League MVP honors in his first full season with the Phillies.
The 13-minute profile piece began with Howard's prestigious early-career numbers, but the last half of the story consisted almost entirely of how Howard's success had been greatly influenced by his family.
And, within that part of the story came the unusual dynamic between the rising big-league star and how his parents handled his finances, including the revelation that he got an "allowance" from his parents.
Here are some excerpt from the story, which are more than interesting in retrospect:
Bryant Gumbel: "You have said, 'My dad set the bar high for all of us.' What was expected?"
Ryan Howard: "He is very, very big on going out and earning your own keep, because nobody is ever going to give you anything. Nothing is ever free."
Gumbel then talks of the influence Ron Howard particularly had on his son.
Ryan Howard: "When I was younger - I forget what age I was - my dad set the tone by graduating from Washington University here [in St. Louis]. We got to see him graduate, and I know, for me, that stuck with me, every day."
Gumbel asks Howard whether he still intends on getting a college degree, even though he likely won't need one, given the riches baseball will bring him.
Ryan Howard: "Oh definitely - no ands, ifs or buts . . . When I saw my dad graduate from college; my son will watch me graduate from college and that will instill in him, hopefully, the things that watching my dad did for me."
Then, a voiceover - "During the offseason Ryan, lives just 5 minutes from his parents" - and, in retrospect, an eerie camera shot of Howard sitting in what appears to be a home office, with his father behind a desk and his mother sitting by his side. The room is adorned with bobbleheads, bats, Phillies hats and other baseball paraphernalia.
Gumbel says that Howard "looks to [his parents] for professional guidance" and that "his mother even handles his finances."
Gumbel, in a one-on-one with Howard: "She's your accountant?"
Ryan Howard: "Yes. She handles the funds. Like, I'll get it, and then I won't see it. She'll let me look at the check, and then it's gone."
Then, Gumbel, on a one-on-two with his parents.
Gumbel: "I know I'm prying, but does he get an allowance?"
Cheryl Howard: "Yes."
Gumbel: "He does?"
Cheryl Howard: "Yes."
Gumbel, more than a little surprised: "You realize he might be the only major leaguer, let alone the only MVP, I've ever heard of whose mother gives him an allowance?"
Cheryl Howard: "I - I would beg to differ. I would imagine that there are quite a few, that if they don't have a wife, they have a mother. There has to be someone there that keeps them on the straight and narrow."
Gumbel, incredulous: "I wish that were true. I wish that were true, Cheryl! I'd be willing to bet you that there's not another MVP alive, dead, ever, whose mother gave him an allowance!"
Cheryl Howard: "Well, he's getting one. And he will continue to get one."
That portion of the piece then ends with another voiceover from Gumbel: "Howard's financial future would seem to be secure. But it remains very much in the future."