After completely embarrassing themselves this past weekend, the Cubs looked like a completely different team in Monday night’s game. Aside from a rocky 9th inning, everything went exactly as it was supposed to. The Cubs got the runs they needed, in the situations they need to get them in, and the pitching was great. Two particular people impressed me in the game.
As always, Greg Maddux does nothing but impress me when he pitches. Sometimes I think we take for granted just how good he really is. They were talking about some of the things he did in the 90’s and it’s just mind boggling the names that are on the list for various things he has accomplished. Not only does he pitch well, but his fielding is unbelievable, how else can you explain the fact that he has 13 gold gloves on his mantle? On top of all that, is his unbelievable baseball smarts. This is a guy that knows everything about everyone in the game. At times, hitters feel as if Maddux is reading their mind at the plate. In a lot of ways, he is. His scouting knowledge is that intense. He is always trying to learn more about the players in the league. I think it’s important to just step back at times and really take in the greatness of this guy before he’s done forever.
What amuses me the most about Maddux is his humility. He is always so quick to deflect the attention away from himself, and put it directly where it should be, the team. So many players in today’s game do the exact opposite. They try to act as a magnet for attention. Everything has to be about them. Nothing epitomizes this philosophy more than the Budweiser commercials running these days about “Leon”. He’s all about Leon. While the commercials are funny, they are also very true. Greg Maddux, however, is a far cry from Leon.
Yes, Paul Bako actually impressed me tonight, and not even for what he did with the bat. His play in the field and on the bases were what caught my eye. On a play at home, he blocked the plate well, preventing the runner from being able to touch it. Then, he simply walked to him and tagged him out. For all the mistakes he has made, it is always nice to be able to give him some props when he does something right.
On the bases, he was a great distraction to the Expos third baseman, which allowed a ball to get through the infield. He had the presence of mind to get back to the bag standing up and let the ball hit him and shoot through the infield. If it were me, I would have probably gone in sliding to prevent getting him. Good game tonight Pauly. Get a shower and we’ll see you in 5 days.