by James M. Wall
This blog is concerned with many topics, including “the ambiguity of human existence, as addressed from a religious perspective”. In today’s Chicago Tribune sports section I experienced that ambiguity when I read the headline, “Win No. 350 eludes Maddux once again.”
This is bad, I thought. I go way back with Maddux. In one of the most monumental mistakes the Cubs ever made, at the peak of his career Maddux was traded to the Atlanta Braves. He later returned briefly to the Cubs and now pitches for the San Diego Padres.
This season, with his Hall of Fame career almost over, Maddux tried and failed for the fourth time, to reach another milestone in his storied pitching career, losing to the Florida Marlins 10-3.
But wait, the story goes on to say that Maddux was outpitched by “young Andrew Miller”. In a strong performance Miller gave up only four hits in seven innings to gain his 7th major league victory. For someone who loves both family and baseball, here was existential ambiguity writ large.
Let me explain: When the University of North Carolina played in the college World Series two years ago, my second cousin’s son Bryan Steed was the second baseman for the Tar Heels. Andrew Miller was the team’s leading pitcher. He was also a good friend and roommate of Bryan, who for those of you keeping score, is the grandson of my Cousin Sally Mitchell, originally, like me, from Monroe, Georgia.
Steed’s close friendship with Andrew Miller makes the Marlin pitcher an automatic member of our extended family. We folks from Georgia take family very seriously. This ambiguity can only be resolved when Greg Maddux wins his 350th victory against someone other than Cousin Andrew.