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Here’s to you, Brad Ausmus.

September 28, 2008

I am a sports fan through and through. During baseball season I tend to go through a few months of hibernation; I need to be at home to watch my Astros. Of course, I do not sit at home and watch 162 games a season, but I watch as many as humanly possible to also maintain a life.

But I grew up with baseball. I stopped paying attention to baseball, and to make a very long story very short, I got back into it in around 2004. The 2005 Houston Astros will quite possibly go down in history as my favorite team of anything ever, and Brad Ausmus is a huge part of that.

Today is his final game as a Houston Astro, and quite possibly, his final major league baseball game. I watch this game knowing that it’s the last time that I will see him in the Astros stripes, and it is pretty much the complete end of an era. Bagwell’s gone. Biggio’s gone. And now there goes Ausmus. He was never an offensive powerhouse, of course, but when it really mattered, he hit one of the most important homeruns in Astros history.

Tying homerun with two outs in the ninth.'

'It's the greatest game I've ever played in. ...OhAndbythewayItieditintheninthwithahomerun.

Granted, the game went another ten innings after that, whatever. 2005 was magical. I have the DVD to prove it (I actually watched it the night that Hurricane Ike struck Houston just to remind myself of the magic that the Astros were capable of. Even though they kind of tripped over all of that relocating to Milwaukee controversy and were eliminated on Friday).

The point of all of this, though, is that Brad Ausmus is done after today. And it’s sad. He truly is one of the funniest, wittiest and most knowledgeable players that I have had the pleasure of watching day in and day out. He’s honest, he’s self-deprecating, and I’m hoping that one day he ends up being a great manager.

I wish that I was at the game today, the weather looks beautiful, they apparently showed a hilarious film with the rest of the Astros (including Bidge and Bags) mocking Ausmus (the only way that he would allow himself to be memorialized, I’m sure).

Back in 2004, I had no concept of the fact that a player of Ausmus’ magnitude wouldn’t someday make it to the Hall of Fame. Obviously, now I know better, but that’s irrespective of how much I and every other Astros fan out there (except for the one’s that wanted a really, REALLY strong offensive catcher instead) truly appreciated you. Like Roy O.

A snippet of an old instant message conversation from Oct 19, 2005:
Killer Kim: hes completing my life, brad ausmus
Melissa: oh bradley
Killer Kim: you are truly the completer of my life
Melissa: mr. life completer

Brad Ausmus is taking his first at bat in his last game as an Astro AND JUST HIT A HOMERUN. AS I WAS TYPING.

The post game quotes are going to be priceless, I know it.

Earlier this summer, I went to the Mets/Astros games at Shea. Coincidentally, these were also my last games at Shea Stadium. Ausmus played Friday night, as he always catches Roy O, and I assumed that would be my last time seeing him. It was a disappointing loss for the Stros, and that last game status was soured. I went again on Sunday, and shockingly enough, Brad came into the game in the later innings. He hit a pinch hit homerun. Brad Ausmus doesn’t hit homeruns (except today, of course). And that’s how I’ll remember him. A shining little star of a life completer who hits homeruns when I want them most.

...And looked good doing it.

...And looked good doing it.

So here’s to you, Brad Ausmus (Mr. Settledown, as they once used to call you). Good luck to you, as you fade into the sunset of your awesome Southern California surfer life. And I will definitely be waiting for you to come back and coach.

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