“I feel like I got a new life coming over here.”
Deep in the heart of Mississippi, Roy Oswalt was the spawn of Billy Oswalt, a logger who logged his way through Vietnam before returning home and impregnating his wife Jean with a champion. Jean would go on to survive a tornado attack, though the house surrounding her did not.
So from natural disasters to the darkest chapter of American history, the Oswalts can deal, and not only that, if Roy is the product of such survival, they can prosper.
Deep in the heart of Texas, the Houston Astros embarked on their 49th year as a franchise and hoped that their old guard would be potent enough to support the rest of the squad’s grasps at success. The NL Central started as a white hot race, certainly, but it was between two teams, neither of which were the Cardinals.
Eventually, as the Astros sank quickly to the bottom like a sack of turnips, waving at the still comfortable down there Pirates as they went, the Central race became more of a slow, meandering slodge as even the Caridnals faded from contention and the Reds stood alone.
While the Astros managed to sink their claws into some later success, rising to third place, a microscopic 12 1/2 games out of first, they did it without the likes of Roy Oswalt and last of the Killer B’s in Lance Berkman.
While Berkman wound up underperforming and hitting Alex Rodriguez in the ankle with a baseball with the Yankees, Oswalt… well, you know.
Oswalt brought a third ace and a direct attitude to Philadelphia, and shockingly enough, fit right in. For example, everybody knows change-ups are for cowards. When Roy Oswalt was first told to start throwing one, he did so. But it was obvious he had no interest in dancing around hitters like a nymph casting a spell, he wanted to throw curves and fastballs, like an archer shooting a man in the neck.
“Your arm hurt?” [Mike] Maddux asked.
Oswalt shook his head.
“Nah,” he said. “I’m trying to get those changeups out of the way so I can pitch.”
Science, probably, teaches us that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and that straight line is Roy Oswalt.
It was originally thought, as all big changes in Philly are soaked in doubt and interrogatives, that mayhaps Roy Oswalt’s down home, Southern accented, strictly-Houston style wouldn’t gel in the northeast, where baseball is just another reason to get drunk and scream at each other. And in his first appearance, which I watched with an increasingly agitated Mexican bar full of people on cell phones, he seemed to prove the doubters right, and they all got to complain about J.A. Happ, and Anthony Gose, and how all this was a pointless disaster that had cost us everything.
You know the stats; six straight wins, a 1.98 ERA, a sampling of some of Texas’ best vulgarities and enough strikeouts to feed a small village for a year, assuming their hunger could be satisfied by “domination.”
While some of us clearly have nothing better to than ransack the homes of close relatives, Oswalt and the Phillies are back in first place, being called things like “resurgent,” and “exhilarating,” and “intense like a cat or something,” instead of the questionable insults of a month ago, like “dick-for-balls.”
And tonight, against the team that made his first start as a Phillie sucha dat-gummed hootenanny, Roy Oswalt starts the game as a contender. Does Oswalt really need revenge? Of course not, that would be a personal endeavor, and this is a team sport. Also he already got it less than a month ago when he told the Nationals to shut the hell up through seven shut out innings.
Deep in the heart of Philly, or I guess, pretty far outside of it, at the sports complex, Roy Oswalt and his dreams of owning a bulldozer will hopefully be satisfied by the fact that he seems to be one. Roy has fired six consecutive wins, gunning down opponents without mercy, and tonight, he goes for the reload.
And for a team that was seven games out this summer, avoiding first place, and abandoning hope all ye who entered, he’s helping us get a new life, too.
Or whatever turn of phrase would let me link this conclusion back to the opening. Journalism! It doesn’t matter in blogs.