Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Maddux to L.A

It's still not confirmed if it's happening or not, but I'll guess it is. I'm reminded of what happened the last time Maddux was traded to L.A. His first game in a Dodger uniform was on the road against the Reds on August 3, 2006, and I was there. This is the email I feverishly banged out on my Blackberry to my buddy on the way home after the game, edited only slightly for clarity and, um, sobriety:
From: Craig
To: Ethan
Date: Friday, August 4, 2006 at 12:31 AM
Re: Maddux
So we took all of our summer clerks down to Cincinnati tonight for the Reds-Dodgers game. We're on the way back in the big custom bus now. Fabulous night. Maddux gets traded to L.A. last weekend. Tonight is his first start for them. He's my favorite player of all time, though I've never seen him pitch in person. The stars align, and I get to see him tonight. I buy a Dodgers hat and wear it down just to support Maddux, and admittedly to be a bit annoying to Reds fans.

Maddux has a huge fork in his back. He is done. Kinda hard to watch him the last year or two, but I still root. I expect little or nothing from him.

Game starts. He gives up an early walk and I think it will be a long night. Then he starts throwing bullets. One. Two. Three. Five innings of no-hit ball. It's 1994 all over again. Sixth inning starts. Long fly . . . caught. Another . . . caught. Lightening in a bottle. Third batter comes up and he mows him down too. I'm alone in a ballpark screaming at the top of my lungs. No hitter in effect. I know it won't last. Even in his prime Maddux never threw a no hitter because he's around the plate too much. He can't not throw strikes, even when he doesn't have his best stuff. He gets hit. That's what he does. Still, I think how nice it would be to not see him give up a hit.

As the top of the seventh begins, the skies open up and a deluge falls on Great American Ballpark. Lightning. Thunder. The Dodgers bat, and the half inning ends just as the umps call for a delay and the tarp comes out. Forty minutes. I know that there is no chance that Maddux is coming out for the bottom of the 7th. He's 40. His arm will be tight. He's a Hall of Famer already. He doesn't need the no-no to make him happy. They got him for the stretch run and they need to save his arm.

The game resumes with some kid I've never heard of on the mound [note: it was Joe Beimel. I've since heard of him]. He gives up a hit to the first batter. Never send a boy to do a man's job.

Dodgers win 3-0. Maddux gets the win. I get to see him pitch like he was in his prime again, and got to see him leave before anyone remembered he didn't have it anymore.
If the trade happens, he probably pitches Saturday afternoon against the Phillies on national TV. You can bet I'll be watching.


tHeMARksMiTh said...

I saw him win his 150th and 200th while he was with Atlanta (weird coincidences brought that to be considering I live in Louisville), and I still maintain he is the best pitcher of our era. Watching him for years on TBS, I loved every Maddux game. Now, all I have to look forward to is Jurrjens pitching like Maddux from the early 2000's and getting the same run support Maddux gets from the modern day Padres.

Ethan said...

It's friggin' 3AM on the East Coast, and I pop in to Google News for a brief break late night at the office in California. I see that Maddux is traded to the Dodgers, and I get all skippy that I can email you the news so you'll see it first thing when you wake up at too-dark-Ohio-time-small-kids-thirty in the morning.

About twenty minutes from now, I figure.

So I jump over to the Shyster, and not only do you have a Maddux post up already, but it's cribbed from an email that you wrote me two years ago.

My finished board meeting slides better be waiting in my inbox from you when I wake up, buster ;-)

Craig Calcaterra said...

Sorry Ethan. With a Maddux story out there, Commissioner Gordon lit the Shyster signal, and I was compelled to spring into action.

Pete Toms said...

Ok, I'll reveal something about my age. The only time I saw Maddux was at the Olympic Stadium ( aka The Big O ) when he was a Cub. Wow, he has pitched a long time.

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Shyster signal? Nice. What does it look like?

Craig Calcaterra said...

It's just like the Bat signal, except instead of a bat, it's a dollar sign.

Travis M. Nelson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travis M. Nelson said...

Great stuff about Maddux in his prime. I got to see Clemens a few times as a Yankee, and even Randy Johnson once as a Mariner, before he amassed all the hardware, but I never got to see Mad Dog pitch in person.

I always admired Maddux more than those guys, though. Any guy who looks like an accountant (or a lawyer, or an engineer) who can make physical specimens like Ron Gant and Eric Davis look like fools gives me hope that my brain may yet win out over my lack-of-brawn.

I have afew thoughts on the trade over at my blog, too.