By Chris Lane
By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
Words of Love
The Astros' unprecedented success has taken Houston by storm. Not only is everyone wearing T-shirts and hats with the Astros logo, they've started to speak an entire new language. Some excerpts from the Astros Dictionary:
Bagwell(verb) -- To keep something around for sentimental purposes. "I've bagwelled these jeans, but I wish I could still fit in them."
Berkman(noun) -- An adventure. "There's a sharp grounder to first " Or "Let's not make any set plans for the trip. It'll be a real berkman."
Crawfordbox (noun) -- A term in nanotechnology describing something that is extremely close. "The cell's vacuoles are only 1.65 crawfordboxes from the nucleus."
Garner (verb) -- To make a completely illogical move and pull it off. "He garnered it again by using Vizcaino as a pitch hitter in Game Two." Or "Yes, I know it was stupid to have sex with that crack whore, but no worries -- I completely garnered it. No diseases."
Lidgey (adjective) -- Something that once was safe but is now very risky. "I don't know, that rope bridge across the Piranha River looks kind of lidgey to me."
Pettitte (noun) -- A method of holding your glove in front of your face while getting the catcher's signal so that you look like an eligible daughter fluttering a fan in a Jane Austen novel. "I must say, his pettitte is très elegant."
Live, from NY: The Astros!
" 'Congratulations' echoed across the studio floor after the Astros won Game Six of the NLCS. From the camera man who loves the Phillies, to Wally, the cue-card guy who loves the Red Sox, and Mike, the guy who I've worked with for eight years and still have no idea what he does on the show, but the one thing I do know is that he loves the Yankees. One of the producers turned to me and asked why everyone was congratulating me. 'Because my Astros are going to the World Series,' I said.
"He looked at me like I was an asshole. What did I do to deserve congratulations? He doesn't know. He's not a baseball fan.
"When I was in first grade, I joined the Astro Buddies. Dennis Menke was my Astro buddy. I saw a doubleheader against the San Diego Padres with my Cub Scout troop (props to pack 575). My brothers and I talked our dad into driving us to Fingers Furniture Store off the Gulf Freeway to get autographs from Bob Watson, Doug Rader and Joe Morgan. When I played baseball in the street, I used my black bottleneck bat that I got on Bat Night.
"As a teenager, I spent my summers trying to sneak past those old guys that checked your tickets to get down to the field level. Later, my friend Ricky Perez became an usher and we'd go down and sit in his section. I made fun of the mascot Chester Charge, then wondered how you get a job like that. In 1980, I skipped our school carnival (which was a big deal at Mt. Carmel) so I could go to the Astros-Phillies playoff game.
"I remember booing Tommy Lasorda at the All-Star Game because he didn't put Billy Doran on the team even though his stats were better than any other second baseman in the league. (It's a fact; you can look it up.) During the '86 NLCS, I hated that fat woman who sat behind home plate at Shea Stadium and twirled her arms trying to distract our pitchers. Now, I hate the people on their cell phones who wave.
"As I got older I was able to use my adult powers to fulfill childhood dreams. I traveled to Florida for spring training in Kissimmee. I've seen the Astros at Wrigley, Fenway, Shea, Chavez Ravine, Safeco Field, both of the Padres stadiums. I was at Yankee Stadium when six Astros pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Bronx Bombers.
"If you're a baseball fan, no matter who your team is, you have a similar story. Instead of Dennis Menke, you have Toby Harrah. Instead of the Mets, you lost a heartbreaker to the Twins. If you're not a baseball fan, you will never understand why people congratulated me, but I deserve it, because for the first time ever, my Astros are in the World Series."
You know who's really excited about the Astros being in the World Series? The guys at the Web site www.castefootball.us.
Don't be fooled by the name -- they cover all sports. Mostly by extolling in all sports that great overlooked underdog: the white man.
"We're about cheering for white athletes that do well, and we want to see whites get a level playing field, to put it in a sports analogy," says Don Wassall, executive director of the American Nationalist Union and the force behind Caste Football.
How happy are they at Caste Football? Check out columnist J.B. Cash: "The 2005 World Series will be the whitest Fall Classic in many years There will be no 'Manny,' no 'Pedro,' no 'Papi,' no 'A-Rod,' no Jeter, no Mario. The media will not be able to slather over Albert Pujols or Reggie Sanders."