Dear Astros fans, and the city of Houston,
In case you haven’t noticed this weekend, and judging by the smashed eggs and scattered debris on my private parking spot at Minute Maid Park, you have, Hunter Pence is no longer a Houston Astro.
No, much like Brad Lidge, Roy Oswalt, and even scrappy utility man Eric Bruntlett, Hunter was dealt to my former employer, the Philadelphia Phillies, the team in which I enjoyed seven years as general manager.
Sound like a bizarre coincidence? It isn’t.
See, I LOVED being in Philadelphia. Who wouldn’t? It’s like New York with less poseur-ish bars and taverns. Besides, Philly has Wawas. Ever been to a Wawa? If Mahatma Gandhi gave up fasting and fancied himself a hoagie, Wawa would be his physical nirvana.
So it was paradise being in Philadelphia. Cheesesteaks, the beach less than an hour away, an upscale nightlife, Ring of Honor wrestling, and the humorous tradition of encouraging tourists to eat scrapple, because it’s an alleged Philly tradition, even if we never eat it ourselves (“Look, we got Cashman to eat the scrapple! What a dope!”).
Until October 10, 2005.
That was the day I was informed I was no longer welcome in Philadelphia, after eight seasons of trying to bring a championship tradition back to a city so starving for one. Words can’t even begin to describe my disappointment. Well, disappointment is an understatement. More like, “being dragged from Citizen’s Bank Park by four security guards while hugging Ruben Amaro‘s leg.” Yes, that’s actually much easier to describe.
What cost me my job, you ask? What could have been so heinous that it was worth costing me my livelihood and happiness? What could rob me of my cheesesteaks and my American historical sites and my ability to attend a decent rave run by those shifty Irish guys I like?
The Houston Astros cost me my job, that’s who.
See, in the final day of the regular season, the Phillies needed to win and the Astros needed to lose to force a one game playoff over the wild card spot. Phillies won!
And so did the Astros. 89-73 trumps 88-74.
And Uncle Ed was out on his ass.
As the next month wore on, I had to endure watching your team, these friggin’ Astros, knock off the Atlanta Braves in the first round. Actually, that wasn’t too surprising, because Braves are to first round exits what Miguel Cabrera is to swerving his car, so no shock there.
But then I watched as they hurtled the St. Louis Cardinals, despite Albert Pujols making Brad Lidge his prison cell bride with the same angry stare that Albert Belle would give a clueless groupie for knocking over his Petron. And I couldn’t take these daggers to my heart, these bludgeoning blows to my soul, these reminders that your baseball team cost me my job in Philadelphia.
Fortunately, the Chicago White Sox were able to take control and buried the Astros very quickly. It was Ozzie Guillen who said it best when he stated, “Ju no we de veddy bess tim en allah betbol, en ged yous to howai tog becals des wheel be de najunel lengwidge en aboud fartee yeas.”
But while Ozzie was happy, as conveyed in his charming Esperanto, I wasn’t entirely. See, I was mirthful when the Astros lost, but their losing didn’t put me back in the “City of Brotherly Love”. Instead, I had to go San Diego for a little while, which is ok, but I was tired of hearing the same rhetoric over and over again, like, “When is it going to rain?” and “Why can’t the Chargers put together a defense?” At least in Philadelphia, when people gripe, they change the subject once in a flash.
I lay on those white sand beaches on the Pacific Coast, wondering if I was ever going to have my revenge on that second tier market, that overgrown mall town, those scumbags that brought in cheaters like Pettitte and Clemens. I was wondering if that day would ever come.
And it did.
In August of 2007, I got a text message while trying to convince Kevin Towers to trade Jake Peavy in the off-season to the Phillies for three single-A prospects. My wife, who has heard me talking in my sleep about setting Lance Berkman on fire, messaged me to say that Tim Purpura, your old GM, had been fired, and that Tal Smith was only tending the fort until the season ended.
I tell you, if I had run out of that Padres office any faster, I would have outrun Michael Bourn speeding toward a winning team like The Braves.
Once I beat out those nine other tools for the job, it was time to dismantle the enemy fortress.
And I did. Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett for Michael Bourn and a sack of marbles? Done! Roy Oswalt for JA Happ and a half-eaten TV dinner? No problem! Hunter Pence for a bag of Charlie Manuel’s used undershirts? You betcha!
I’m a hero in Philadelphia again. My inability to get to the post-season in the high-expectation Bowa/Manuel years has been made up for. Make no mistake, I got a ring in 2008. Amaro kindly had three henchmen hold Adam Eaton down while I hacksawed his ring finger off, but make no mistake, that World Series ring is MINE.
Just like I’m getting a ring this year if, no, WHEN the Phillies win it. Don’t worry, Raul Ibanez will be easy to catch. I’ll just set my golf cart speed at “skedaddle” and chase him through the parking lot with a 2X4. That should do it.
All of this will eventually get me back to Philadelphia in a consultant role. And if Houston won’t fire me, watch as I turn Carlos Lee or Clint Barmes into whatever Charlie Manuel can scrape off the back of his tongue with a potato chip.
The choice is yours, Astros fans. Let the owner know you want me fired. Let me run free back to Philadelphia so that myself, Ruben, Charlie, and all the boys can celebrate the 2011 World Series championship, and I can get all the back-pats and attaboys that go with helping Ruben put the team together.
And while you fans wonder what a World Series celebration looks like, don’t worry: Hunter, Brad, Roy, and I will send pictures. But if I could describe it one way, you know that “purple drank” you Houstoners love so much? Champagne is about a gajillion times better, plus one!
All hate and no regards,
(Editor’s Note: This not a real letter from Ed Wade but you get the point)
Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.
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