Friday, October 21, 2005

The road warrior

The Wizard of O's. Roy Wonder.

Once again, Roy Oswalt delivered in true big-league style. No more flying under the radar for the country boy from Weir, Mississippi, who has been called "the best-kept secret in baseball."

Secret's out.

At the MVP trophy presentation ceremony after the Astros beat the Cardinals 5-1 to take the National League Pennant and clinch their first trip ever to the World Series, Roy was reminded that Drayton McLane promised to buy him a bulldozer if he won the game. That's the first time I've ever seen the even-keeled Oswalt laugh out loud. The reporter interviewing Roy said, "What I want to know is, what are you knocking down?"

Roy blinked. You don't use a bulldozer to tear stuff down, unless you're planning to put something else in its place.

"No," he shouted over the din, mystified. "I need to build a road!"

And build he did, the road to the inaugural World Series for the Houston Astros. With Roy's cumulative stats in the 2005 NLCS at 14, 8, 2, 2, 4, and 12 with 1 HR allowed, the Cardinals' hitters were obviously as mystified by Oswalt's pitching as he was by the interviewer's question.

Late-night TV fans got an additional introduction to the reticent Roy as he recited last night's Top 10 list on Letterman:


• 10. Another two weeks of wearing a cup and showering with the guys.

• 9. Get to visit exotic, far-off destinations like Illinois.

• 8. More time to discuss with the team doctor if Cialis is right for me.

• 7. With the discount, beer is only 18 bucks.

• 6. It's fine and all, but the good news is, I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to Geico.

• 5. Certificate good for one free groin pull.

• 4. I get to appear on my favorite late night program — The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

• 3. World Series MVP gets to throw switch on Saddam's execution.

• 2. Clemens used his AARP card to get us cheap hotel rooms.

• 1. If Steinbrenner wants me next year, my price is now a billion dollars.

Oh, yeah. To Astros' fans, Roy Oswalt is priceless.


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