10/03/05 9:15 PM ET
Astros punk Lidge over language
Teammates tease mild-mannered closer for postgame swear
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
Caught up in the heat of the Astros' clinch of their second straight Wild Card berth, Lidge's words were flowing freely during a postgame interview with a local television station. He accidentally slipped and sputtered a word he rarely uses in the privacy of his own home, let alone when he's speaking in front of millions on television.
He quickly apologized for the error, but knew some of the damage was irreversable. For that, he is sorry.
"It's amazing what adrenaline and heat-of-the-moment stuff can do," Lidge said. "I try to go out of my way not to swear.
"I was caught up in the moment, a real embarrassing moment. I'm trying to backpedal as much as I can, and trying to pretend it never happened. Obviously, I'm sorry about it and very embrarrassed."
He told his parents as much when they called almost immediately after they watched the interview on television.
"Neither were extremely pleased," he said. "They said, 'This wasn't your best postgame interview.'"
In the end, Lidge did receive a punishment of sorts for his on-air slip. Manager Phil Garner, with the help of a computer-crafty front-office staffer, took an old release from the Commissioner's Office, pasted the letterhead on a new document and printed a new release announcing a hefty fine.
"It said that Commissioner Selig is pretty upset with the comments, that they're trying to keep the game clean," Lidge said. "Due to the language I used, the team will receive a $25,000 fine."
Garner delivered the note to Lidge and said sternly, "I think [club owner] Drayton [McLane] is going to want to talk to you."
"He sounded like it was a serious issue," Lidge said.
Of the $25K fine, he thought, "You've got to be kidding me. That seems pretty steep."
The joke went on for a while, with teammates playing along.
"No one cracked a smile," Lidge said. "I was rattled for about an hour."
Finally, Garner figured Lidge had enough and told his closer that it was all a joke.
"If there's anybody on this ballclub that I would call proper, it's him," Garner said. "He would not say a dirty word around a woman if his life depended on it. It's sort of unfortunate, but the truth of the matter is, it was an exciting moment. I'm sure he doesn't feel good about it. It's not what Brad Lidge is all about, by any stretch of the imagination."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.