April 15, 2008

MAGICIANS DON' TELL (via Glenn Dryfoos):

HOW IN THE WORLD DID THIS GUY WIN 347 GAMES?: Greg Maddux is always in control, even when it doesn't look that way. He'll take his secrets with him when he retires, so catch him while you can. (Tim Keown, ESPN the Magazine)

How many times had he heard someone say it? How many times over the past 22 years had some catcher or coach or broadcaster said, "Greg Maddux? I bet you could catch him with your eyes closed"? Sounded plausible enough, maybe coaxed a chuckle or two from the pitcher, but mostly it was just something to say. Nobody realized it was just a matter of time before somebody decided to prove it.

This was in mid-September, in the home bullpen at Petco Park. Maddux, the human metronome, kept going into his windup with the same hands-over-the-head motion he's used since he was a kid in Las Vegas. Pitch after pitch hit the mitt, wherever it was placed, like always. Padres bullpen catcher Ben Risinger, perhaps bored with the persistent perfection of it all, turned to bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds and said, "I bet I could catch him with my eyes closed."

That was all fine and rhetorical until Akerfelds said, "Okay, let's go for it."

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 15, 2008 12:04 PM
Comments

He's always said there is no secret. If you can locate your fastball and throw your change up for strikes you'll be successful. I know he's always studied opposing hitters, but most pitchers do that.

Posted by: Patrick H at April 15, 2008 1:38 PM
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