Greg Maddux isn’t one of my all-time favorites because he was on the Braves and helped them win their only World Series. He’s not one of my all-time favorites because he’s arguably one of the greatest pitchers in the history of the game. I’ve always been a fan of the guy, because he’s always been a guy that that outsmarted rather than overpowered and I always favor intelligence over sheer brawn all day long. But aside of his qualities as a baseball player, I’ve always loved the guy because he’s always seemed like one of those people that just simply, got life.
This video that broke recently, where Greg Maddux pranks reigning NL MVP Kris Bryant, by pretending to be a sound guy for a fake commercial Bryant is believed to be filming, that fills in at throwing batting practice, before hurling a litany of unhittable breaking balls and perfectly located pitches, nearly had me in tears laughing. Maddux is classic Maddux in the video being all passive-aggressive and deadpan while pretending to be the critical sound guy, judging the swing of a guy that just came off a season where he hit 39 home runs. But it’s when the ruse is on where this video really takes off.
Kris Bryant’s disrespect for ordinary men, when fake sound guy-Greg claims he can fill in for the coach that had to leave is kind of the perfect setup for an ownage session from the 4-time Cy Young Award winning Hall of Famer. And then Maddux gets behind the screen and suddenly starts hurling curveballs, with Bryant flabbergasted and trying to laugh away his rising shame, is simply the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. And for god-knows how long, Maddux continued an onslaught of perfect pitches designed to catch guys looking, or get guys to tap the ball harmlessly into outs, while Bryant is futilely swinging himself into looking like a little leaguer.
There’s no doubt when Red Bull approached Maddux with this idea, the Professor probably dialed up some old MLB contacts or something and got a scouting video on Kris Bryant and studied his swing and tendencies for a few hours. And that when he showed up to the ballfield in Vegas, he had more than an adequate game plan and pitch sequences specifically designed to undress Kris Bryant.
Nearly eight years post-retirement, Greg Maddux still manages to make one of the best hitters in today’s game swing like Mario Mendoza.
Sure, there is the suspicion that this video could have been staged a little bit, but I don’t really care. I’ve been in a dour mood a lot lately, and this was something refreshing and welcome to watch and get a little bit of enjoyment out of. With Spring Training just around the corner, seeing something like this actually gets me a little bit excited about watching some baseball again this season, hopefully with a lot of current baggage behind me by then.