Never Forget: Brad Lidge Retires

Never Forget: Brad Lidge Retires

“The 0-2 pitch – SWING
AND A MISS, STRUCK ‘IM OUT! The Philadelphia Phillies are 2008 world champions of
baseball! Brad Lidge does it again, and stays perfect for the 2008 season.”
– Harry Kalas

In our eyes, Brad Lidge will always be perfect. If nothing
else, he was the perfect man to finish the job every time he was called upon in
’08, including the final inning of the World Series. Now that he’s calling it
after an 11-year big-league career, it gives us all a chance to reflect
on just how vital he was to the city’s first major sports championship in 25 years.

I doubt anybody could have predicted quite how important Lights Out was going to be upon his arrival in Philadelphia.

Lidge was sent from Houston along with the immortal Eric
Bruntlett during the ’08 offseason in exchange for Michael Bourn and prospects
Mike Costanzo and Geoff Geary. An All Star in ’05, he had gained some measure
of fame with the Astros, but perhaps more so for surrendering a game-winning
home run to Albert Pujols in the NLCS that same year. After a couple of
up-and-down seasons, the Phils were able to swoop in and land their closer for relatively cheap.

The rest is history – literally. Lidge saved 41 games in 41
regular season opportunities in ’08, followed by seven more successful
conversions in the playoffs. He won NL Comeback Player of the Year and Relief
Man of the Year awards. And of course, he struck out Tampa Bay’s Eric Hinske on
a slider to clinch the Phillies’ first World Series victory since 1980.

The guy even narrates the team’s championship DVD!

Lidge fell out of favor relatively quickly however. He
signed a three-year extension worth $37.5 million, and was never quite the same
after that. He finished ’09 with 11 blown saves and a 7.21 ERA, and spent a
good portion of the next two seasons on the disabled list. With his contract
finally up, Lidge joined the Washington Nationals last winter, though he only
appeared in 11 games. Now 35, he's decided to retire.

Yet for one season, if only one, Lidge was perfect. Do the
Phillies win a World Series without him? Maybe. Maybe not. From where we stand
today, it’s impossible to say he wasn’t instrumental to that run – and if not Lidge,
then who?

The guy was no Hall of Famer. In fact, he only had a handful
of decent seasons when you really start to dissect the career. And, yeah, he only
spent four seasons in Philly, and even two and a half of those were disappointing.

You might say Brad Lidge merely had impeccable timing. Any way you choose to slice it, the man is an all-timer here, if nowhere else. His was
not a classically great career, but there is no debate, he achieved
greatness and then some.

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Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

Best of NHL: Penguins beat Panthers in Sidney Crosby's debut

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby scored in his season debut as the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Tuesday night.

Crosby, who scored on a power play, missed the team's first six games with a concussion. Carl Hagelin and Eric Fehr also scored for the Penguins, who extended a seven-game unbeaten streak against the Panthers.

Marc-Andre Fleury, who has started the first seven games of the season for Pittsburgh, stopped 20 shots. Matt Murray, who backstopped the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in June, served as the backup to Fleury after missing the first six games with a broken hand.

Reilly Smith scored a power-play goal and Mark Pysyk also scored for the Panthers, who have lost 11 of 12 against the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

James Reimer made 19 saves in his second start of the season (see full recap).

Kings top Blue Jackets in overtime
LOS ANGELES -- Alec Martinez scored 1:14 into overtime, and the Los Angeles Kings rallied to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 Tuesday night for their third straight victory.

Drew Doughty scored the tying goal with 5:57 left in regulation for the Kings, who won their third straight overtime game after an 0-3-0 start to the season. Captain Anze Kopitar also scored, and third-string goalie Peter Budaj stopped 19 shots in his third consecutive win.

Cam Atkinson scored a tiebreaking power-play goal late in the second period, and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves for Columbus. Brandon Saad also scored for the Jackets, who had won two straight after an 0-2-0 start.

Martinez ended it by putting a rebound into an open net for the defenseman's second goal of the season (see full recap).

Lightning strike for seven goals in win
TORONTO -- Steven Stamkos matched a career-high with four points -- two goals and two assists -- and the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 7-3 on Tuesday night.

Frederik Andersen gave up seven goals on only 24 shots, the third time in five starts he has allowed at least five goals and fourth time he's allowed four or more. The 27-year-old has an .851 save percentage so far this season.

Alex Killorn, Victor Hedman, Nikita Kucherov, Vladislav Namestnikov and Jonathan Drouin added goals for Tampa Bay, while Ben Bishop made 40 saves.

William Nylander, James van Riemsdyk and Auston Matthews scored for the Maple Leafs, who outshot the Lightning 43-24 (see full recap).

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

Report: Eagles make inquiry about Bears WR Alshon Jeffery

The Eagles could be looking for a bigger name outside.

In need of a deep threat — and reportedly in talks about a trade for 49ers wideout Torrey Smith — the Eagles are interested in Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and attempting to make a move for the 2013 Pro Bowler, according to a report Tuesday night by Benjamin Allbright of Mile High Sports Radio.

We followed up with Allbright, who clarified the Eagles simply made an inquiry.

Jeffery, much more of a do-it-all, dynamic wide receiver than the one-dimensional Smith, is 26 years old and can become a free agent at season's end. He'll warrant good money, but would make the Eagles better in more ways than one compared to Smith.

The 6-foot-3, 218-pounder put up 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013, followed by 85 catches, 1,133 yards receiving and 10 scores in 2014.

This season, he has 520 yards receiving and has yet to find the end zone playing for the quarterback-challenged Bears, who are 1-6 and more than likely thinking about next season.