ESPN on Greg Maddux

If you’ve been watching the maddeningly inconsistent Dodgers struggle to stay above .500 this year (and get ready for a long, hot summer, Dodger fans) you should not read this article at all about Greg Maddux. You should especially not read this bit:

Padres manager Bud Black says Maddux “has the best feel for how to throw a pitch and when to throw it of anybody, maybe ever.” Which prompts Maddux to shrug his unimposing shoulders and trot out the mantra “Whenever you’ve had a little success in this game, people think you know more than you do.”

Right. But when Brad Penny and Maddux were teammates on the Dodgers, during the last two months of 2006, they had a conversation one day that led Penny to reach a stunning conclusion: This guy knows my stuff better than I do. It was eerie, really, how easily Maddux dissected Penny’s repertoire and suggested ways to maximize it. Penny, figuring he’d take advantage of the situation, asked Maddux to call a game for him against the Cubs. And so, on the night of Sept. 13, Penny glanced into the dugout before every delivery and found Maddux, who signaled the next pitch by looking toward different parts of the ballpark. Penny threw seven scoreless innings with no walks and beat the Cubs 6-0. “Maddux probably won’t tell you that story,” Penny says. He’s right.

All hating on the Dodgers useless general management aside, this is actually a great article for any serious baseball fan to read. Maddux is probably one of the best pitchers in the history of the game — certainly the best in the modern era — and it’s pretty cool to get a brief look into the head of the guy who has won 347 games.

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