Baseball Toaster Cub Town
If I Were...
2005-06-30 11:10
by Alex Ciepley

If I were a Major League ballplayer, I'd want to be a pitcher. I wouldn't overpower hitters, but I'd be sneaky. Hitters would bounce grounder after grounder to the keystone combo, and I might snag a few comebackers myself. I wouldn't walk anyone, ever. I wouldn't even go to three balls on many hitters.

If I were a Major League ballplayer, I'd want to be Greg Maddux. My fastball would only hit 88 mph on the radar gun, but I'd still throw my heater more often than any other pitcher in the game. I'd use whoopee cushions, Ben Gay, and fake dog turds to excellent humorous effect in the clubhouse. I'd obsessively hit in the batting cages even though it wasn't part of my primary job description. I'd let everyone think I was the nerdiest nerd of baseball's pitching elite, and I wouldn't give a damn.

Greg Maddux, in a Tom Boswell interview for Playboy Magazine, August 1996. (And, by the way, I can legitimately claim that I do read Playboy only for the articles):

You don't have to throw hard, because people can't judge speed anyway. We can go out on the freeway right now and we can't tell 80 miles per hour from 70 mph unless one car is passing the other. And if we stay there long enough, 70 mph starts to look like 40 mph. Your eye adjusts if it sees the same speed over and over. It's the same to a hitter. If he sees 95-95-95, it starts to look like 50 to him. Eventually, he can time it. You can be more effective throwing 90 to 80, and changing speeds with good location. In fact, you can be almost as effective working between 80 and 70.

If I were a Major League ballplayer, I'd want the confidence to know that how hard I threw the ball didn't matter as much as how smartly I varied my approach. I'd want my life to be simple, and my philosophies to lack pretension. Change speeds. Throw it somewhere else. Do what I can with what I've got.

If I were a Major League ballplayer, I'd want to be Greg Maddux. Who would you want to be?

2005-06-30 12:24:13
1.   dbt
I would hope that you wouldn't give up two doubles to the Brewers #7 hitter.
2005-06-30 12:33:56
2.   Ken Arneson
Alex, I suspect you don't really want a life with simple philosophies. Varying your approach like Maddux is very complex. Perhaps what you admire is his ability to take those complexities and categorize them in a clear way.

If you truly want the simple life, you'd be Vladimir Guerrero, who swings at anything you throw at him, and hits it hard.

2005-06-30 16:28:16
3.   rynox
Imagine what Zambrano could do if he varied speeds and hit his locations like Maddux.
2005-06-30 18:47:48
4.   Loogy
Jamie Moyer and Chris Hammond are similar ideas. Maddox obviously does it most effectively
2005-06-30 20:22:33
5.   Jon Weisman
You know, I kinda just tried to Rorshach (or Horseshack) this question and the first name that stuck was Garry Maddox. Two-thirds of the earth covered by water and one-third by me?
2005-07-01 10:02:32
6.   rynox
Sounds like Lee is leading the All-Star voting now! Awesome!

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.