I like David Stearns. I love what he is doing with the Brewers. I enjoy checking in to BCB in the offseason and finding out every day or two that another move of some kind has been made. Carlos Gomez is perhaps my favorite player of all time. My kids shed tears when they found out he left. Like everyone, I enjoyed watching Jonathan Lucroy. I had a moment of disappointment to see that Chris Carter was traded. But the first one that makes me really sad is today's trade of Martin "Maldy" Maldonado.
I moved to Milwaukee in October 2012 after living in Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois. We bought a house not too far from Miller Park. The first week or so we ate at Front Row Fridays. A couple months later we attended the Clubhouse Sale. Before I knew it I was hooked on the Brewers, and really into baseball for the first time since I was about 15. Which was quite a while ago. Attending a Sean Halton walkoff win over the Reds on September 17, 2013 during a Packers game cemented my Brewers obsession.
During those four plus years, few things have stayed the same. Bob Uecker, of course. Rock and BA on TV. Postgame analysis by Davey Nelson and Jerry Augustine. Ryan Braun. Wily Peralta. Scooter, I guess. And Martin Maldonado.
Maldy has never been a star, or even a consistent player. He hit .169 in 2013. In 2015 he had a .293 slugging. He has a cannon arm, but also frustrates us at time with his wild throws. But he's always been there. And he seems to be a great guy. I understand trading him. He's getting up there in age, a bit. He shows few signs that he'll ever hit much. But losing him just makes me sad. I started thinking of some of my favorite memories of Maldy. And a few of the other things I loved about him. So, these are a few of my favorite Maldy things:
10. This random game at Tampa Bay in 2014 when he knocked in four of the five runs in a 5-0 win. I don't know why I remember that, but I do.
9. The fact that he said his favorite restaurant was La Isla at 35th and National in Milwaukee. I drive by there a lot, and decided to go there a couple years ago.
8. The fact that he is a big athlete but has two silly little white Bichon or Maltese looking dogs.
7. He is the team barber.
6. His nickname, Machete, is just so appropriate, and fits with both his cannon arm and it goes so well with:
5. That time the Brewers and Pirates got in a big brawl and Maldy gave Travis Snider that impressive black eye. I'd forgotten how stupid Gerrit Cole was that day.
4. This bases loaded walk off on Mother's Day, against the Cubs, no less
2. The time he pitched, shut down the Cardinals at Busch Stadium, and somehow got them to hit the ball to third baseman Jeff Bianchi every time.
1. This seventeen inning game where he got four hits, caught the whole game, and won the game with a walkoff. We had a whole bunch of high school kids from church over at our house and everyone went crazy when the Brewers won, even though it was pretty much a meaningless game. But it felt so good.
Maldy, thanks for the memories, and for being a cool dude. Best of luck in Anaheim.