With a chance remaining that a sub-.500 Padres squad could win the NL West if not the World Series, poker pundit (and author of “Don’t Worry Honey, I’ll Take You To The Hospital At Halftime”) Norman Chad fantasizes that a diminutive broadcaster / self-appointed conscience of the game might be killed. (link courtesy Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)

The San Diego Padres, NL West Division champions, finished the regular season yesterday at 80-82, becoming the first team in major-league baseball history to advance to the postseason with a losing record. Upon hearing the news, NBC broadcaster Bob Costas suffered what was described as a “colossal anxiety disorder.”

He was pronounced dead at 4:17 p.m. ET while listening to the White Sox-Indians game on XM Satellite Radio.

At the time of his death, Costas had a Sporting News in his left hand, David Halberstam’s Summer of ’49 in his right hand and the scorecard from Game 7 of the 1964 World Series at his feet. Just hours earlier, Costas had watched Cardinals manager Tony La Russa execute a double switch against the Reds and reportedly called several friends to describe it.

Costas (above), a baseball traditionalist, had opposed the designated hitter, AstroTurf, expansion, divisional alignment and realignment, the wild card, interleague play, the save rule, flannel-less uniforms, The Wave, bus- and train-less travel, the death of twilight doubleheaders, chest protectors for umpires, the lost art of bunting, night games and sushi in concession stands.

Costas was born March 22, 1952, in Queens, N.Y. At age 2, he became lead broadcaster for the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks, but in 1956 ” inspired by Don Larsen’s perfect game ” he switched his energies entirely to baseball. Since age 7, he has done baseball play-by-play almost daily; on occasion, a radio station or TV network has broadcast his calls.