Another major piece of the 2008 World Series champions has left the Philadelphia Phillies and is headed to an up-and-coming Washington Nationals team.
Brad Lidge, following in the footsteps of former Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth, signed a one-year deal with the Nationals yesterday. The loss may not be a significant one, but you can’t ignore the fact Lidge may have had the best season of any Philadelphia athlete all time when he went 48 for 48 in saves and helped the Phillies win their first World Series since 1980.
It is hard to explain Lidge’s time in Philadelphia. I like to compare it to the HBO Series “Entourage,” which once was viewed as one of the best shows on television, just as Lidge was considered one of the best closers in baseball. Toward the end of the series, there were a few bad seasons, but people still watched. In the end, the series wasn’t as good as it once was but fans did not want to see it come to an end. Right now, there is no doubt Lidge is not the player he once was. Still, I find myself wishing he would have re-signed with Philly for one more year and one more run at another championship.
It is easy to remember the recent down years Lidge has had, but I choose to look back on when he was “Lights out Lidge.” When the ninth inning came around, the entire stadium had faith he was going to do his job and close out the game out for the Phils, and that is rare, especially in Philadelphia, where winning has never been a guarantee. Lidge may not have had the theatrics of Jonathan Papelbon or the career of Mariano Rivera, but in the little time he spent in Philly, he cemented himself forever in the history of Philadelphia sports.
Just as children born in the 1980s grew up seeing the picture of Tug McGraw jumping into the air arms raised in 1980, children today have the sight of Lidge on his knees rejoicing the first championship for Philadelphia in any sport in 25 years instilled in their brains. He has left his mark here. Even though he is not an all-time great, he will be forever remembered.
There is no doubt in my mind Lidge will come back to Philly after he is retired and be added to the Phillies Wall of Fame. His one great year makes up for his other so-so ones. As for now, the lights have gone out in Philadelphia. The only thing left are memories that will last a life time and the hope that he does not regain his form for the Nats this season.
Thanks for being perfect Brad and best of Luck in D.C, but not too much luck.