Friday, December 15, 2006

Greg Maddux is a Corvette Sting Ray

Tim Sullivan writes of recent Padres signee Greg Maddux, "If he has lost some of his fastball to the ravages of time, he has retained the fuel economy of a parked Prius. He is maximum efficiency with minimum exertion."

I see where Sullivan was going with the metaphor. My favorite MLB box score of all time is from Maddux's 76-pitch complete game in 1997. But it's clear Sullivan is a sportswriter not an engineer. (I'm not an engineer either, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Select last night.)

If a Prius is parked with the engine running, the car is as inefficient as it can be. Efficiency is the ratio between useful output and energy consumption. If the car's parked but the engine is running, it consumes gasoline (or battery power) but isn't doing anything productive. Maximum efficiency for a Prius occurs when the gasoline engine is making 76 horsepower at 5000 RPM or the battery-powered engine is making 67 horsepower at 1200 RPM. That's why your father always told you to shut the car off when you're waiting for someone - running a parked car is a waste of gas.

If we're going to compare Maddux to an automobile, let's do it right and explain why Greg Maddux is very much like a Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray.

It takes 40 years to make a classic.
1966 is the year Chevy introduced the legendary "427" big block V8 engine, now prized by collectors worldwide. It's also the year the legendary Gregory Alan Maddux was born, now considered an inner-circle hall of famer. The Prius has only been around since 1997 - it has a long way to go to reach "classic" status.

There's a whiff of controversy in the air.
That 427 engine actually came in two flavors: a 390-hp version (the "RPO L36") and a 425-hp version (the "RPO L72"). The L72 reportedly put out even more power than what Chevy quoted - 450 horsepower - but they deflated the specifications on paper to stay under safety regulators' radar. Greg Maddux has won 333 games by changing speeds and moving the ball around the strike zone like he has it on a string. Mark Buehrle is not the only one to accuse him of doctoring the ball.

Chicks dig it.
The side exhaust pipes, the split rear window in the fastback, gills on the front-quarter panels. Automobile magazine named the Sting Ray one of the world's 25 most beautiful cars. The Prius will only help you pick up ladies at a Sierra Club convention. As for Maddux...

By the way, Tom, they'll stop worshipping the guy in March of 2005 and he won't sniff the Hall of Fame in 2007. Gotta love the billboard. Surrrrrrrre it's the shoes.


Adam said...

I have to say I have yet to find anything as well written as your comparisons between cars and athletes! Great read every time. Looks like the BoSox got a skyline.

Quality said...

Thanks for the kind words. If Matsuzaka's first name did not lend itself so easily to a nickname (Dice-K), "Skyline" Matsuzaka might have worked out.

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