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Bill Simmons on the Astros' loss

Bill Simmons writes about the two championship series today, and focuses on the Astros stomach-punch loss last night.

A pretty good column, all in all, although, not surprisingly, Simmons ends up writing about the Red Sox (who, of course, didn't make the ALCS) and his experiences as a Red Sox fan as much as he writes about the teams actually involved. And as always, when it comes to Simmons and baseball, there's not much in the way of real insight, although he does draw some good parallels between this game and the Dave Henderson/Donnie Moore ALCS game 5 from 1986.

Other good stuff in this column:

Since Bartolo Colon didn't play last week, I didn't get any Andre the Giant e-mails, but I did get a number of e-mails from astute readers making the Lou Piniella-Larry Flynt connection -- which was a little disappointing because I was fired up to make that joke in this space, but what can you do?

Hmmmm...Lou Piniella and Larry Flynt? Hadn't thought of that before...

Note: I love rooting against La Russa and have no idea why.

Ditto, even though I'm ultimately pulling for the Cards. But I hate LaRussa -- maybe because of the time he spent beating the Rangers when he was with the ChiSox and the A's, I don't know -- and that's the only real downside I see to the Cards winning it all.

Did you notice that Pujols, who's allegedly only 25 -- even though his 25-and-under stats dwarf the 25-and-under stats of pretty much everyone in the history of baseball -- is already going bald? Nobody's questioning this? Even John Cusack and Nic Cage had hair when they were 25.

Was having the "how old is Pujols really?" exchange with someone the other day. The Pujols/age story seems to have died down as of late, though.

But seriously ... have playoff beards ever not been enjoyable? This could and should be the gimmick that saves the WNBA next season.

By WNBA playoff beards, I assume that he is talking about having the WNBA players bring different guys that they are pretending that they are dating to the playoff games? Because I agree, that would be a great gimmick...

Yet another question: Is A.J. Pierzynski the most annoying professional athlete in recent memory? He's like the Rick Barry of this generation -- everything he does seems annoying for some reason, even his interviews. You can see why the Giants and Twins couldn't stand him. I don't even think he's a bad guy, he's just one of Those Guys. If you played at a $25 table in Vegas with him, he seems like the guy who would say stuff like "Wow, you're way up right now, huh?" and scream "Whammy!" every time he was dealt a blackjack. And he wouldn't even know he was being annoying, so his friends would think of convoluted ways to ditch him, stuff like, "Hey, A.J., I'm gonna go walk around, get some air, I'll be back in 10 minutes" ... and then they would scurry to another casino. That's A.J., right?


Of course, as always, Simmons has to ruin it by offering some ridiculously wrong opinion:

Sadly, the rest of the Astros-Cards series seems predictably depressing (unless you're a St. Louis fan). Not only are the Cardinals back at home, not only have they been handed a second life, but out of every sport, baseball hinges on emotion and momentum more than anything else.

Are you kidding me? Baseball hinges on emotion and momentum?

If anything, the length of the season, the pace of the games, makes it impossible for baseball to hinge on emotion and momentum.

Now, hockey? Sure, absolutely. Emotion and momentum are huge in hockey, particularly come playoff time.

The NFL? Okay. The NBA? Less so, but I can buy it.

But major league baseball? If anything, baseball hinges less on emotion and momentum than any other sport. Emotion and momentum are what causes a pitcher to overthrow, causes a hitter to get to aggressive at the plate, causes a runner to get careless on the basepaths.

Baseball is the sport where being level-headed, being calm, is most important. Not emotion.