Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Mad Dog Brilliance

A must read piece from beltway pundit and Emil Verban club member George Will in Newsweek. He profiles Greg Maddux. If you want to understand how smarter than smart Maddux is, read the article. At least check out these two key graphs:

...the key to his success has been less the speed of his arm than that of his mind.

One year in spring training, facing a Met who had hit him hard the previous season, Maddux told teammates he would throw dinky sliders to encourage the Met to hit a home run. Maddux figured that hitters remember, and subsequently look for, what they crush. The Met homered then, always looking for the same pitch, went hitless against Maddux in the regular season.

Leading 8-0 in a regular-season game against the Astros, Maddux threw what he had said he would never throw to Jeff Bagwell a fastball in. Bagwell did what Maddux wanted him to do: he homered. So two weeks later, when Maddux was facing Bagwell in a close game, Bagwell was looking for a fastball in, and Maddux fanned him on a change-up away.

The only reason this guy isn't my favorite Cub of all time is that he spent far too many years in Atlanta.

That said, he may be my favorite pitcher I've ever had he pleasure to watch. He's one of a handful of athletes that when I teach my grandkids about sports, I can say, "I saw him play."

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