Yesterday, Cooperstown welcomed six new members as Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
It's a list that includes one of the only sluggers who played through the Steroid Era without the stain of allegations, two pitchers who helped the Atlanta Braves to National League dominance for more than a decade and three iconic managers.
And while there was the annual discussion about just how to deal with those accused of using drugs to gain an advantage (over the weekend, the Hall announced it would cut its election eligibility period from 15 years to 10...bad news for Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens), maybe we should keep the focus on the guys who got in. Or mostly just Maddux. Because that dude was amazing.
Maddux's numbers quickly tell the story of a pitcher who accomplished the difficult feat of attaining longevity while maintaining his dominance. In his 23-year career, he won 355 games with a 3.16 ERA. He threw 109 complete games and 35 shutouts. My favorite Maddux stat: he faced 20,421 batters in his career and only went to a 3-0 count on 310 of them. And 177 of those were intentional walks.
Maddux was so efficient he would often finish an entire game in under 100 pitches. He accomplished that feat 13 times in his career. In recent years, a pitcher throwing a complete game in less than 100 pitches has become known as "The Maddux."
It would be easy to take Maddux's methodical approach on the mound and think he was a machine without much of a personality. Well, that would be wrong.
He was a character in the clubhouse, often predicting exactly where foul balls would go (and hazing rookies with aplomb). He also once talked Cox out of an intentional walk, telling his manager he would get the batter out on three pitches with a pop-up foul to third base. That's exactly what happened. When you pitch for that many seasons, coincidences like this are bound to happen, but it just fed into Maddux's legend. The more you read about Maddux, you appreciate the mad genius in him.
Speaking of which, Maddux also managed to work a fart joke into his induction speech:
That smell? That's greatness.
Meanwhile, in Korea…
Things are changing in sports. These days, it takes a lot of time, effort and money to actually go to the ballpark for a game. The alternative of being at home, being able to watch the game on your couch while multi-tasking (i.e. being on Twitter) sounds much more appealing.
Well, now you can be at home but also claim your fandom at the ballpark, if you root for the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization.
Fans of the team who can't make it to the ballpark can now type messages that will be sent to "robot fans" who will display the text on LED screens. These robots will also be leading other fans in cheers. You can see the promo video of it below. Sure, it's surreal. But you know what? It just might work.
At the very least, if no one's going to games in Tampa Bay or Miami, they can just stick a bunch of Prince Robot IV from Saga prototypes in the outfield and call it a sellout. Works for me.