I am Ed Wade . . . hear me roar   

Updated: June 26, 2008, 2:12 PM ET

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HOUSTON -- Roughly 15 years ago, when Spike Lee directed the phenomenal film "Malcolm X," legions of African-American men began to utter the mantra, "I am Malcolm X."

Roughly seven years ago, when Nike produced a series of cleaver Tiger Woods commercials, legions of golf fans began to utter the mantra, "I am Tiger Woods."

For the record, I am not Malcolm X.

For the record, I am not Tiger Woods.

I am Ed Wade.

You wanna make something of it?

Ed Wade

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan

Astros GM Ed Wade isn't physically imposing,
but he didn't back down from Shawn Chacon.

That's right -- I am Ed Wade, the first-year Houston Astros general manager and the fiercest punk toughie this side of Kimbo Slice. Until Wednesday evening, the very sight of the 52-year-old Wade suggested all the fire, brimstone and passion of a piece of grandma's meatloaf. He is roughly 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, with an uncanny (and, admittedly, unflattering) resemblance to Dan Frischman, the actor who played Arvid Engen in "Head of the Class." Wade wears glasses, dresses in the polo-and-khaki stylings of an accountant and shuffles softly about a baseball diamond. He speaks in gentle tones, and rarely utters a foul word.

In other words, thug life 'til we die, playa!

It was 55 minutes before Wednesday night's Rangers-Astros game at Minute Maid Park when I was standing inside the Houston clubhouse, chatting with Drayton McLane, the team's owner. Suddenly, from behind me came screaming. And louder screaming. And louder screaming. The first voice belonged to Shawn Chacon, the disgruntled (and occasionally hot-headed) right-handed pitcher who had been demoted to the bullpen and consequently demanded a trade.

The second voice belonged to (gasp) Wade.

Thanks to the magic of modern technology, my Olympus digital voice recorder captured most of the exchange. It went thusly:

Chacon: "%&#@ you."

Wade: "%&#@ you."

Chacon: "No, %&#@ you, %@^#*$%&#@*$."

Wade: "You know what, you're suspended."

Chacon: "I don't give a %&#@. Suspend me, %@^#*$%&#@*$."

Wade: "You're suspended %@^#*$%&#@*$."

Chacon: "I better not see you again Ed, you punk%@@ %*&#$."

Wade: "Yeah, OK."

Chacon: "%&#@ you."

Wade: "You're just as stupid as you can get."

It wasn't a good day for the Astros. I didn't see a physical confrontation, as the dispute started in another room before spilling into sight, but Chacon told the Houston Chronicle that he grabbed Wade by the neck and threw him to the ground. "I jumped on top of him because at that point I wanted to beat his (butt)," the pitcher said -- omitting the unspoken, I have willingly thrown away my career and will see all of you at my new job at the Shell station on Louisiana Street. Please remember to tip.

I know … I know -- we're now required by clichéd journalism law to talk about what a horrible thing this was, and how a person in Wade's position shouldn't lower himself to the level of a journeyman pitcher with an IQ apparently lower than his ERA (5.04, for the record). I, however, disagree. For decades now, men who look like Wade (and, ahem, me) have had the sand kicked in our faces by morons of Shawn Chacon's ilk. We take it because -- usually based on genetics and financial worth -- we have little choice; because the giants rule the world and the runts search for the leftover crumbs.

No more. With Ed Wade as our mighty leader, I believe a new day has dawned. No more bullying! No more intimidation! No more unreasonable trade demands and lengthy holdouts! No more!

I am Ed Wade!

I am Ed Wade!

I am Ed Wade!

I am -- ouch! I just got a paper cut.

Does anybody have a Band-Aid?

Jeff Pearlman is a former Sports Illustrated senior writer and the author of "Love Me, Hate Me: Barry Bonds and the Making of an Antihero," now available in paperback. You can reach him at anngold22@gmail.com.


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