I've spent the last two or three hours reading dozens of tributes to Greg Maddux. There's really no way to sum up in words what he has meant to the game of baseball. Many players have had a huge impact in my lifetime: The bats of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa carried bats that brought all kinds of fans back to baseball after they'd been turned off by the strike. Pedro, Clemens, Johnson were scary good (emphasis on scary). Pujols is simply the best hitter I'll ever see, a dominating force at the plate. A-Rod is A-Rod, and on and on.
And then there's Maddux. Mad Dog. The Professor. Whatever you want to call him. Every time I think I'm finished reflecting on his quietly amazing career, I feel the need to pour out more words, and read more that others have written. I collected some of those words at Ladies... but it's not enough. This is a really sad day for baseball, because I can't imagine anyone else being so cerebral but thrilling, someone who made thousands of little pitchers fall in love with pitching as beautiful craft rather than a contest to see who can throw the hardest fastball.
We will be hearing from Maddux again, at the very least to shoo him into the Hall as soon as we possibly can. Hall of Fame voters get things wrong sometimes, but they'll get this one right in 5 years. You just can't deny a guy like Maddux.
Anyway, I've got some thoughts coming soon about clubhouse leadership, because Mark Grudzielanek has declined arbitration, as expected. Mike and Kevin, I swear I'm not ignoring your comments from my last post; you both bring up great points about clubhouse leadership, and I've been wanting to post about that but I have been ridiculously busy with school. Hopefully we'll get to that today or tomorrow.
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