Today started as a bit of a bear. I went for my run on a frigid Chicago morning where it was clearly trying to snow. Running is generally a great time to clear my head and think through the day. Lately it’s been my time to think about the world around me and notice small changes to write about in this diary.
Today’s run wasn’t great. It was cold and I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to write about today. I was heading back home for my work day when a good friend of mine DM’d me on Twitter to be sure I’d seen the following:
To celebrate my 54th birthday tomorrow @MLBNetwork is playing some of my favorite career games. Make sure to follow along as I live tweet the games and share how I'm spending my birthday. I still have more hair than smoltzy— greg maddux (@gregmaddux) April 14, 2020
I’ve written before about the mental break that baseball provides in difficult times. I had to smile that the universe seemed to send me a mental break on a day I desperately needed one. I came home, got set up for work and turned on MLB Network to watch one of the greatest pitchers ever work his magic.
I was pretty bummed that I missed the only Cubs game in the mix. MLB kicked off the day with Maddux’s 300th win, but in the absence of any live baseball at all these gems he hurled with the Braves will more than suffice. I mean, I get it, Maddux had his best years with the Braves. and he played in multiple World Series with the Braves. I do wish they would have added one more Cubs game here, even if they were the opposing team. After all, many people consider this gem against his former team to be one of his greatest games. It would have been cool to see Maddux throw 76 pitches with 63 for strikes in a complete game again.
Beyond the specific games, though, it was a reminder of all the things that continue despite our strange new reality. Birthdays continue and even though there can’t be a party we can celebrate our people and their greatest accomplishments. Holidays continue even as we celebrate them in ways we never could have imagined a year ago. And, importantly, they all provide us with a small break from the day to day - even when that day to day is slightly surreal during a pandemic.
Happiest birthday to Greg Maddux, share your favorite Maddux memory in the comments whether it involves the Cubs or not.