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Twenty years from now, you'll look back on this baseball era -- and 2006, however it turns out -- and tell kids who are still in diapers today, that you had a chance to see Greg Maddux pitch.

If you've never seen him pitch in person, make it a point to do so sometime this season. Given how he's pitched so far this year, this likely will NOT be his final season -- and I'd sure hope the Cubs re-sign him -- but the way his season at age 40 is beginning, it has the possibility of being a special, special one.

The Cubs beat the Dodgers 4-1 Monday night, and for the third time in his three starts, Maddux was the story of the game. I saw only the first four innings of this game, having to get to sleep to get up for work this morning, so I will leave more detailed comments for a couple of you who actually attended this game...

but one thing I DID see before I turned the TV off, was yet another spear of a ground ball up the middle, that younger and taller pitchers would have let go, by Maddux, who turned it into the third out of the first inning. That's part of the beauty of Greg Maddux -- he's not just a pitcher, he is a complete ballplayer, fielding his position, oh, and last night he even had a hit, drove in a run, and scored once, and his 1.33 ERA ranks fourth in the majors. And, with his third win, he now has 321 for his career; next on the list are Nolan Ryan and Don Sutton, with 324.

Here, let me give you an idea of the length and breadth of Maddux' career -- thanks to the folks at baseball-reference.com, we know that he has had 379 different teammates over his now 21-year career. They range from Jim Bullinger to John Rocker; Jung Bong to George Bell; Tim Spooneybarger to Dickie Noles; two current managers, Terry Francona and Ozzie Guillen (yes, look it up; Guillen played for the Braves in 1998 and 1999); Deion Sanders to Davey Lopes; Julio Franco to Jose Macias; Laddie Renfroe to Brian and Dave's friend Scott Sobkowiak; Yorkis Perez to Eddie Perez; Curtis Pride to Gary Scott; Rick Sutcliffe to Heathcliff Slocumb; Manny Trillo to Jody Davis, and sadly, two players who have died, Ken Caminiti and Mike Sharperson.

All of these men, and literally a couple of hundred others, will be able to tell their grandchildren that they played with Greg Maddux. What a privilege indeed.

One more thing I'd like to point out about this game that has nothing to do with Maddux -- memo to Dusty: do not take Todd Walker out of the lineup! He homered again last night, and is definitely the hot hand -- and that's one way that Dusty Baker says he's going to determine who plays.

Now, there are counterarguments to this, and just coincidentally, this morning there is a BCB diary on this topic. Yes, Walker's not going to stay hot forever. But while he is -- ride it, baby. The Dodgers are throwing righthanders the rest of this series, so I'd expect to see him in the lineup.

The Dodgers, speaking of same, are a weird team. For a club that used to pride itself on homegrown players, there wasn't a single player in last night's lineup who was homegrown in the Dodger organization. In fact, their 25-man roster contains only TWO players from their farm system -- reliever Franquelis Osoria and rookie first baseman James Loney, and Loney wouldn't even be on the team if not for the injury to Nomar Garciaparra.

It's a weird hodgepodge of injury-prone guys like J. D. Drew and Garciaparra, to never-weres like Olmedo Saenz, and squeeze-one-more-year-out-of guys like Kenny Lofton. The jury's still out on whether Rafael Furcal's going to be worth the money the Dodgers granted him in the offseason, trumping the Cubs.

They've also made extensive renovations to Dodger Stadium in the offseason, and Len & Bren were singing its praises, but it looks pretty much the same to me, except that the lower boxes now have tables in front of them, and there are a lot MORE of said seats, which cut way down on what was once a huge foul territory -- this may make the park more of a hitters' park in the long run.

Good. The Cubs' bats are hot right now. They've got two more days to take advantage.