Greg Maddux will take the mount for the first time as a Los Angeles Dodger tonight.
This is an exciting event for some people, like Dodgers 3B coach Rich Donnelly, who told the L.A. Times, “I still can’t believe we have him, it’s like a miracle.”
For fans, this is a chance to see if Maddux can summon some of the magic that he used on his way to four Cy Young awards. Maddux got off to a good start this season, winning his first five games. But he’s gone 4-11 since.
For Dodgers’ catcher Russell Martin, tonight is his first chance to catch Maddux. And, apparently, the future Hall of Fame pitcher has let Martin know who’s in charge.
“He wants me to set up early and not move,” Martin said. “He told me not to tell him to throw one in the dirt or climb the ladder with a high pitch. He said, ‘I know when to do that.’ ”
Martin thought for a moment and shrugged.
“Of course he does,” he said. “He’s so prepared. This guy knows exactly what he wants to do. I just hope he likes me.”
Maddux also told Martin that he won’t shake off many signs. Instead, he’ll throw the pitch he wants to throw, even if it isn’t what the catcher called.
“He said that as long as the location is the same, it doesn’t matter,” Martin said. “He’ll throw it and I’ll catch it.”
Maddux is amazing. I don’t know why Martin is even going to bother calling pitches. It’s quite clear who’s in charge.
I have a former colleague who got the chance to hang out with Maddux one spring training and he told me that before every start Maddux goes to Burger King (or McDonalds, I can’t remember which) and gets a burger and fries. The pitcher also rents a car to use during spring training. And by the end of spring training, he turns the car in, the back seat filled with discarded fast food bags.
That’s kind of a random story, I know, but it’s just a roundabout way of stating the obvious: Greg Maddox — he of the 87 mph fastball and (at least) 45 percent body fat — is a total badass.