Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lights Out is Finally Out

My sister recently married a Massachusetts native. My brother-in-law has been a lifelong and devoted Red Sox fan, and frankly, he's seen a pretty good run lately. I was at home watching the Sox polish off the Rockies a few weeks ago, and had him on the line when Terry Francona made the pitching change in Game 4 from the embattled Hideki Okajima to the practically immortal Jonathan Papelbon.

As soon as Papelbon was unleashed from the bullpen, I said to him: "Congratulations on your second World Series victory in four years."

Watching Papelbon pitch was like watching tag team pro wrestling when I was a kid. No matter how dire of shape the good guy was in, all it took was that tag to change the tide of the match. Papelbon played the role of Shawn Michaels or Ax or Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart perfectly. He'd come storming out of the corner, full-throttle, pistol whipping the opponent until no one was left in the ring. Like Hawk (or Animal), he was the perfect Cooler. The Human Victory Cigar if there ever was one.

While he poured beer on the World Series trophy, I remarked to my sister: "Man, wouldn't it be nice for the Astros to have a great closer again?" Maybe Houston doesn't have a Papelbon in wait right now, but as we go into the offseason of one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory, at least it's nice to have a clean slate.


By all accounts, Brad "Lights Out" Lidge was a good guy, and yes, at one point perhaps the most dominant closer in baseball. He could overpower batters with 97 MPH heat, and break their will with a slider that darted faster than Adrian Peterson in the secondary. In 2004, and most of 2005, my favorite moment of being an Astros fan was watching, or more often, listening to Milo Hamilton orgasmically praise Lidge as he ruthlessly crushed another hapless chump in the 9th inning. Those years the Astros advanced to the NLCS and the World Series respectively.

But Lidge forever changed on That Night. Yes, I know the Astros made the World Series anyway. But That Night completely altered the course of a franchise that seemed on pace to be in baseball's upper-echelon of elites. This was a franchise that won the NL Central in 1997-1999 and 2001. This was a franchise with one of the leagues most dominant, and likeable, superstars in Lance Berkman. This was a franchise with two of baseball's best veterans, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell, heading into the twilight of their Cooperstown-bound careers.

But as Albert Pujols, who shall forever on this website be known as the Antichrist, annihilated a hanging Brad Lidge slider, he sent the Astros into a funk that they haven't recovered from yet. Lidge gave up even more embarrassing bombs in the World Series, including one to Olsen Twin-skinny Scott Podsenik. The Astros were swept by the White Sox, and everyone was waiting for the Astros to trade Lidge. After all, once a closer loses it like that, he doesn't get it back, right? Mitch Williams, Donnie Moore, Byung Hung-Kim, Calvin Schiraldi...I mean, none of them got it back, right?

We waited for them to trade him during the 2006 season when we fell 1.5 games short of the Cardinals, and he blew seven saves that season, including two against them. If he saved three of the seven he blew, the Astros win the NL Central again. Instead, we watched the Antichrist and his teammates celebrate their championship.

We waited for the Astros to trade him at the mid-season mark when the Astros were floundering in what was easily the worst division in baseball. At this point, watching Lidge pitch and choke away leads to the Pittsburgh Friggin' Pirates was akin to watching your old and beloved, but completely decrepit dog take a crap right in the middle of the living room floor. Sure you were upset, but you also couldn't stay mad either. It was more pathetic than anything else as you watched him lose self-control right in front of you. It should have been just a matter of time that the Astros play the loving master, and take Ol' Pup Lidge to the vets to say Last Doggie Rites. But they didn't until now.

I know that the Astros got a lot of heat for hiring Ed Wade, the ex-Phillies GM. He had been accused of running the Phillies organization into the ground. You know, the same Phillies organization that just won the NL East? Tons of people jumped onto the chat boards in Houston and ripped Wade like he was the reincarnation of David Carr. And maybe he really is that incompetent. Starting in April, we'll have 162 games to see where he stands, and what moves he will make. He's already offered Roger Clemens the opportunity to work in the front office should he decide to stay retired. And he pulled off a coup by finally, mercifully, trading Lidge along with the infrequently used Eric Bruntlett to his old team, the Phillies, for five minor league prospects. Maybe none of the prospects pan out. Maybe they do. Who knows, and sometimes, it's nothing but a crapshoot anyway.

But regardless of what the Astros get from this trade, we acquired one thing that stands out above everything else: Hope. With Lidge gone, we can finally begin to clean up the stains off the carpets of season past, and begin with renewed vigor a chance at the NL Central title and beyond. We still have Roy Oswalt, we still have Lance, we still have a plethora of solid young talent that showed their mettle as September call-ups. Maybe our bullpen still sucks, maybe it doesn't, but at least on Opening Day, I won't be having flashbacks to That Night. Maybe we can still put those nightmares to bed, and begin anew.

But as we begin anew, I can't help but feel sorry for Brad Lidge. He should have done himself the favor and just retire after the Antichrist splintered his soul. But he forged ahead, and now he's pitching for perhaps the most unlikable city in America. A city where Santa gets booed, players with potentially broken necks are jeered and D-Cell batteries are thrown at the opposition. Philadelphia's so heartless even the Grinch thinks they need to cheer up. And now Lights Out has to pitch there. When he made a mess on the carpet, Ol' Pup Lidge was doing it on the carpet of the supportive suburban family of four with a heart of gold. Now when he makes a mess on the carpet, Lidge is doing it at Michael Vick's place.

I hope he makes it out of Philly alive. But like so many old dogs, I'm just not so sure he will.

What happened, Britney?

I mean, I will admit that I was never the biggest Britney Spears fan, but even I never knew the "Michael Vick'like" proportions of self destruction that this girl could go through. Who would have thought that reveling on the privileges of youth and scampering around half naked, distorting the perception of young girls everywhere, getting pregnant by the first skinny untalented, unintelligent punk that walks around with a smug undeserving smirk, treating marriage like a pair of Jeans you can return the next day, throwing away whatever minuscule talent you were given, while at the same time experimenting with mind altering substances in the company of anonymous friends, gratifying whatever animalistic pleasure of the flesh, pampering in the most expensive, lavish lifestyle possible, appeasing whatever whim you fancy, and finally, wallowing in the true self pity that only your crack-whore reflection in a foreign damp, dark restroom mirror can give you, will after all, really get you places.

Anyway, once an ad comes out on TV for your new album for Target, and for the Sale price of $9.99, you realize something is hmmm...

"How do you say in your language....?"

Ah, yes, "Fucked up".

Welcome to the pages of SportsKarma Britney... Now you know that Karma really is a bitch.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

8 Armed Vishnu baby

I love the internet. Really. Without it, I would have never found out about this. People over the interweb can have some very sick and twisted thoughts... read below for some of them...

Baby with birth defect named reincarnation of a god...

Ok. Wow. What. The. FUCK!?!?!?

All science, religion, and everything else aside... after reading the article, and seeing that image... here are some common thoughts one might have:

"The extraordinary eight-limbed baby was born in a poverty-stricken region of Bihar, India - on the day devoted to the celebration of the four-armed Hindu deity Vishnu."

thought #1: - Wow, what a strange day to be born with 8 legs...

thought #2: - I bet that mother could use a hand...

thought #3: - And I thought the arms race was a thing of the past.

thought #4: -
I gotta hand it to the mother, that's some decent handy work.

thought #5: -
I bet she's an army brat.

thought #6: -
I bet clothes for that kid cost an arm and a leg.

thought #7: -
How many H1-B visas will she need?

thought #8: -
Future "Employee of the Month" at the Nike factory.

thought #9: - And THAT'S why mom shouldn't have slept with Spider Man.

thought #10:-
I heard when the doctor came back into the room after she was born there was a spider web that said "that's some baby!"

OK, so I'm gonna go out on a limb here....... but if ANY of you are laughing at this then you guys are really insensitive. She's so cute! With a smile like that, she's sure to have a leg up on life.