Maholm's objectives are Crystal clear

April, 14, 2012
Padilla By Doug Padilla
ST. LOUIS -- Again this week Paul Maholm's past caught up with him, and on national television no less.

The Chicago Cubs pitcher in Sunday’s season finale against the St. Louis Cardinals didn’t see it, but he has resigned himself to hearing about it every so often and has made his peace with it.

On the "Late Show with David Letterman" on Thursday night, comedian Billy Crystal was asked about his 2008 at-bat for the New York Yankees during a spring training game. Crystal managed to hit a foul ball before striking out, calling it one of the most memorable moments of his life.

The pitcher that day was Maholm, then with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“Obviously it was fun for him, fun for me,” said Maholm, who added that he never thought he’d be talking about it over four years later. “There was a ton of media covering it. And obviously it’s been a few years. I thought it would be over now but every once in a while it creeps back in.”

During the chat with Letterman, though, at no point does Crystal mention Maholm, now in his first season on the North Side. Asked if he thinks Crystal even knows his name, the left-hander smiled.

“I’d probably say slim [chance], but I don’t know,” Maholm said. “You never know.”

Maholm is just glad the at-bat ended in a strikeout, although even the foul ball has him a bit rattled to this day.

He’s OK with being associated with the event and is making sure to have a successful career so won’t be known for it. He also has plans for a successful season, although, his first outing in a Cubs uniform was rough. He gave up six runs on six hits with two walks in just four innings to the Milwaukee Brewers.

“I think anything with him it’s going to [start with] his sinker, how well he is keeping his fastball down and keeping it to his arm side,” manager Dale Sveum said. “That’s huge for him. When I have seen him in the past, when he has his most success, is when he’s using his sinker and keeping his sinker down and away on his arm side.”

And if that sinker stays down then his profile goes up. He might never eclipse Crystal in national popularity but if he can top him in Chicago that would be fine. Maybe then we can find out if Crystal knows who he is once and for all.

“Luckily for me I can say I struck him out and don’t have to live it down on ESPN all the time with him getting a hit or anything,” Maholm said. “I guess if somebody had to do it I guess it was good it was me.”

Doug Padilla

Chicago White Sox beat reporter
Doug joined ESPN Chicago in July 2010 and covers the Chicago White Sox for and ESPN Radio 1000.



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