John Maine’s name has come up in trade rumors today. Chris M made a good point in the comments section earlier on how Maine appears to be regressing since 2007, and it’s true: Maine has posted higher ERAs and lower strikeout rates in each season since his best one.
But, as a Mets fan, I’m prone to hoping Maine can bounce back and finding reasons for optimism: He did, after all, pitch well in a very small sample after returning from injury in 2009.
Moreover, I root for Maine because, from everything I read about him and the few times I’ve spoken to him, he seems like a pretty funny guy, or at the very least an interesting one. Two examples:
1) In February, 2008, John Maine told Marty Noble he had never visited the Internet.
I can’t imagine how this could possibly be true. Maine was born in 1981, like me, and would have been in my class in school. That means he went to college — UNC-Charlotte, specifically — from 1999 until he left for the Orioles farm system in 2002. That was the peak of the supposed dot-com boom, not to mention the peak of the Napster era.
Maybe Maine somehow missed all of that, in which case, he’s certainly fascinating. More likely, Maine made some sort of sarcastic comment in the clubhouse that was taken seriously, then decided to run with it to mess with a reporter.
And that’s awesome. I probably shouldn’t say this, but if I were a professional athlete I would make stuff up to mess with reporters all the time.
2) In September 2008, when the Mets were toying with the idea of bringing Maine back from injury and into a bullpen role, he told reporters he had already selected his closer music: Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Posse on Broadway.”
That’s cool for a variety of reasons. For one, players rarely go on record discussing their choice of intro music, and when they do, it’s usually something like, “Aw, shucks, that’s just what my teammates thought would be fun” or something lame.
Maine thought about it enough to confidently select his own, meaning he’s clearly aware enough to recognize how awesome closer music can be. As someone with a whole lot to say on the subject, I hugely appreciate that Maine cared enough to consider his song, even if it was just in passing, and even if he’ll never really be a closer.
In both parts of my aforelinked closer-music epic, I wrote, “hip-hop is woefully underrepresented in closer music.” Apparently John Maine recognizes this too, and so picked Sir Mix-A-Lot (you know, the “I like big butts” guy).
It’s not a bad choice, either. It’s funny because, though Mix-A-Lot is referring to the Broadway in his native seattle, it conjures images of John Maine and an entourage rolling down Broadway in Manhattan. And Maine’s posse almost certainly includes Mike Pelfrey, and Pelfrey just seems like a hilarious person to be part of a posse.
Here’s the song: