Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Albert Pujols's Black Mass

Last night, Albert Pujols desecrated Houston’s Minute Maid Park with a ninth inning, gut shot homerun into left field. Never have I seen forty thousand screaming people fall so suddenly and completely silent. Yes, one strike away from the World Series, Darren Eckstein snuck a base hit through the five-six hole into right field. That was the first sign witchcraft was afoot. Then, Jim Edmunds, remarkably, walks, with the Cardinals best hitter in the on deck circle.

There was no doubt when Pujols followed through on a hanging slider, sitting fat in the center of the plate. More remarkable was his reaction. He discarded his bat like an executioner discarding his ax after lopping off the head of an enemy of the revolution. There was no Sosa hop, or McGwire fist pump, just an angry stare as he watched the ball fly over the fans in left field, up onto that ridiculous colonnade. I suppose the architect of the park intended some nod to the Roman Coliseum. The fans sitting under it couldn’t have been more stunned if they had watched their great gladiatorial champion Nolanus Ryanus beheaded and eviscerated by some heathen from Gaul.

The cameras did not catch this, but a group of crippled and ill children from a charity hospital had gathered on the field to celebrate the Astros first visit to the baseball world championship. After the sight of Pujols’s 500 ft home run, they burst into tears and wailed in pain, their last great dream heartlessly smashed. Pujols, noticing them after crossing home plate, ran over to them and screamed, “This is what I think of your entire disgusting city.” Terror filled the little ones eyes.

It was a poor show of sportsmanship, but what can you expect of a man who drinks his dinner wine from a human skull?

This ranks up there with Reggie Miller scoring eight points in thirty seconds, and spinning in circles and screaming profanity at a shocked Madison Square Garden crowd.

I will always remember the sight of pitcher Brad Lidge, curled into a fetal position and watching the thing sail on out of sight.

The ball, in fact, never came down, lodging itself between a beam, and the top of the colonnade. If the Astros fail to win this series, they should leave it there, and burn the entire stadium to the ground. The Astros should move to another city, and the city of Houston should never be spoken of again.

When I saw him hit the ball, without even seeing where it was traveling, or what camera they might cut to, the words that spilled out were, “Oh my God.” I was amused when the instant replay showed Andy Petitte, the Astros starting pitcher, say the same words from his spot on the bench. The horror. The horror.


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