Greg Maddux’s Dodger debut was wildly successful by any standard — 6 IP, no runs, no hits before Peter Ivers’ Rain Delay Theatre started up — so much so, that it afforded the LA Times’ resident De Podesta Destroyer Bill Plaschke yet another excuse to dump on Brad Penny.
You may have noticed Maddux took the mound in his brand-new Dodgers uniform adorned with No. 36.
It’s a fine number. It was Casey Stengel’s Dodgers number. It was Don Newcombe’s Dodgers number.
But it is not Maddux’s number. It has never been Maddux’s number. Throughout his career, Maddux has worn No. 31.
Yep, that’s Penny’s number.
And, no, Penny has yet to give it to him.
No big deal, you say? A Hall of Fame deal, history says.
It’s common that when a certified future Hall of Famer changes teams, his new team gives him the number that has accompanied his career.
It’s a sign of simple respect. It’s a sign of common sense.
The thinking being, you don’t redecorate greatness.
There are 4,542 2/3 innings, 3,133 strikeouts, 327 wins in that number.
Not that any of this is more important than Brad Penny being in that number, but, well, come on.
Penny, and his 67 career victories.
As far as anybody can remember, Thursday was the first time in 21 years that Maddux has not worn No. 31.
“Tradition is a time-honored thing in baseball,” said Scott Boras, Maddux’s agent. “But apparently for some players, that’s been forgotten.”
I don’t know which is funnier, the idea that Boras’ quote might actually be in context, or the Uber-agent delivering a lecture on lack of respect for tradition.
The Orioles expect to receive a player from Boston™s 40-man roster, believed to be either switch-hitting outfielder Adam Stern or switch-hitting infielder Alejandro Machado, but those plans could hit a snag.
According to major league sources, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would likely place a waiver claim on Machado and would consider doing so on Stern, effectively blocking those players from going to Baltimore. As of this afternoon, neither of those players had been placed on waivers by the Red Sox. Any players offered on waivers do not clear for 72 hours, so it is unlikely that the deal will be completed for another week, or more.
While the Devil Rays have legitimate interest in both players, there is another component that could motivate them to place a claim. According to multiple major league sources, the Devil Rays are convinced that the Red Sox made illegal contact with the agent for infielder Julio Lugo before the July 31 trading deadline, while Lugo was still under Tampa Bay’s control. The Red Sox allegedly reached out to the agent, Dan Lozano, about whether Lugo would be willing to play second base and whether Lugo, a prospective free agent this winter, would be open to signing an extension. If true, that would constitute tampering, which is not allowed under Major League Baseball rules.