Thursday, June 5, 2008

Going In Together

By Nick McCann

Last night Greg Maddux managed to pitch seven innings on 69 pitches. Even though he didn’t get his 351st victory, he did put on a clinic for how all pitchers should pitch when they are over 40. Keeping the pitch count low is obviously beneficial for any pitcher in any situation, but when you could be the dad of the guy standing at the plate and you feel like your arm is going to fall off after playing in three decades in the major leagues, a ground ball out is like a cool refreshing glass of Ensure. Besides, going for the power strikeout that late in your career is basically like being the old guy with a ponytail who shouldn’t be at the club.

Yesterday-before Maddux took the mound-the big story in baseball was that Alanta Brave pitcher John Smoltz was going to have to undergo season ending shoulder surgery. Along with Tom Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux, are all Hall of Fame pitchers that made up arguably the most successful starting rotation of the modern era: The Braves in 90s.

With Smoltz naturally thinking about retirement, this obviously leaves Glavine and Maddux in an interesting situation: If it is done for Smoltz, should they keep pitching next year or should they all retire at the same time so that they can go into the Hall of Fame together?

It has always been pretty clear that these guys are all good friends and completely comfortable being linked together in their legacies. If it is over for Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux, who can’t possibly pitch past next season, might be wise to hang it up as well.

In five years, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens will be up for induction into the hall and it will surely rekindle the steroid circus that has been baseball’s subtext the last few seasons. If Smoltz, Glavine, and Maddux-three pitchers that have never been suspected of using performance enhancers-go in the following year, it could be the perfect public step forward towards real closure (the Mitchell Report was a like a bad fart joke told by an open miker at the Comedy store who just blew Pauly Shore in the bathroom to get a gig opening for Dat Phan). Essentially, it would be a moment where the good guys win.

Last night Greg Maddux showed that he could still be more than effective at the major league level. He is the greatest fielding pitcher of all time and he will likely end up with the most wins of any pitcher of his generation. Even though it sounds insane to decide when you should finish your career based on planning a weekend in up state New York five years later, the Baseball Hall Of Fame is still relevant, and the symbolic pageantry still lasts forever.

Regardless if Maddux, Smoltz, and Glavine go in together, when Bonds and Clemens are up for enshrinement, there has to be a sequel to this commercial (besides the lame Padre promo released this year):

Hopefully, chicks dig first ballot dudes too.


Red said...

First, that commercial is awesome.

Second, my favorite thing Maddux said today about his longevity: "I just don't throw hard enough." He is so cool.

Dave H said...

He can urinate on my leg anytime.