Monday, October 1, 2007

Farewell to a Legend

As is all the often the case with my baseball teams, this season ended with a whimper and no playoffs. Actually I probably shouldn't complain. At least I don't root for the long suffering Mets (who have won 2 World Series) or the poor Phillies (who also have two World Series appearances with one win in their fairly recent history). I'm sorry. As a Rangers fan, I just don't feel sorry for these fake heart broken franchises, especially considering both are in the playoffs this year. (Edit: When I was writing this, I had to go back and change the reference from the Cubs to the Mets and I left this sentence in. The Cubs have been bad for a while, although there were in the NLCS a couple of years ago. I wouldn't blame Bartman, I would blame the pitching for losing that.)

Just about the only baseball joy that I have felt over the years have come from the team down I-45, the Houston Astros. For the past ten years they have been one the most consistently good teams in baseball, reaching the post season six times and advancing to the World Series in 2005. I'll always blame the loss on Brad Lidge. If he could have closed out Game 5, Roy Oswalt would have pitched game 1, Clemens game 2, and Pettite game 3. I don't know. Probably doesn't matter. The Stros couldn't buy a clutch hit.

Anyway. Those great Astro teams were led by Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio. While Bagwell was felled by bad shoulder and had to leave before he was really ready, Biggio went out the way it should be for a legend, with a home stand that sold out every game even though there was absolutely no playoff implications. Fortunately for me, it was against the Braves and I got to watch parts of each game. In heartfelt appreciation, the Houston fans gave standing ovation after standing ovation. Biggio gave them a good show as well, with 4 hits and 2 doubles, even getting behind the plate for the first time since 1991. His final game was fitting: a double and a run scored in the first inning and ground out to third in which he hustled down the line. He truly is a consummate professional and baseball is less because he has hung up the cleats.

Very few Hall of Fame caliber players get to go out on top carrying a championship trophy like John Elway. Some go out like Troy Aikman, sitting on the sideline sniffing smelling salts after a final concussion. Others try to hold on a little too long, like Emmitt Smith padding his stats for the Arizona Cardinals. Biggio received the honor due a Hall of Famer. He's in the 110 percent hall of fame and should be 5 years away from Cooperstown. I may have to make that trip.


Knotwurth Mentioning said...

Mets aren't in the playoffs anymore, hehehe. I guess those fans really do have cause to be upset!

rus said...

The Muts still have two World Series championships. Which is one more than the Rangers have playoff wins in their history. Boo-freakin-hoo.