It’s like a scene from a bad Kevin Costner movie. It’s the top of the ninth inning. There are two men out. The Good Guys are up by one run. The Closer’s on the mound, facing his demons in the person of the guy who hit a home run in this same situation in the first game of the season. The Closer’s season, and life, flashes past his eyes and he makes the pitch…
Only this isn’t a bad Costner movie. This is Brad Lidge’s life, and it’s Friday night. It’s the top of the ninth inning. There are two men out. The Astros are up by one run. Then Xavier Nady steps to the plate. Nady, for those who don’t remember, is the guy who homered off Lidge in this exact same situation in the season’s very first game.
Just like in the season’s very first game, Xavier Nady took Brad Lidge deep to the left field stands. And, like with the first game of the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates would go on to win the game.
With three games left in this current ten-game home stand, the Astros are 2-5, having dropped three of four to the Nationals and two of three to the Pirates. The Astros have also dropped to mere percentage points ahead of the last place Pirates.
So, I’m curious… anyone, does this team not suck, or what?
For those who have might have missed it, yesterday, the Astros retired Jeff Bagwell’s number five. And I’m pretty sure that next season the Astros will retire Craig Biggio’s number seven. And the uniform numbers of Larry Dierker, Nolan Ryan, Don Wilson, Jimmy Wynn, Jose Cruz, Mike Scott, Jim Umbrecht, and Jackie Robinson have also been retired.
The Chron’s Brian McTaggart believes the next number to be retired by the Astros should be Roger Clemens’s. I’ve really got to disagree. A team that has been as miserable as the Astros have been for most of their existence should not have this many uniform numbers retired. And I really don’t think that players who have a few good seasons should be having numbers retired. Larry Dierker. Okay, I’ve got no problem with that. Jeff Bagwell, good choice. Nolan Ryan was here for awhile, and he pitched a no-hitter and got his 3,000th strike out as an Astro, so I’m okay with that, too.
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But Mike Scott had four decent seasons. Jose Cruz was a mediocre outfielder who just played here for a long time. And don’t get me started on Rocket.
The Astros shouldn’t be allowed to retire any more numbers until J.R. Richard’s number is retired. J.R. Richard nearly died because the Astros didn’t think he was injured. How many times did Rocket or Cruz nearly die for the Astros?
If the people causing such a ruckus over Michael Vick would just say a little something about J.R. Richard, then I’m pretty sure there would be some justice.
The Astros are off tonight before starting a three-game series with the Cardinals on Tuesday night. I suggest you go to one of those games because then you’ll get to see what a good manager can do with a really mediocre roster (and no, I’m not talking about Phil Garner). -- John Royal