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As if it cannot get any worse being a San Diego Padres fan-New Jersey resident-New York Yankee hater, the thought came to my mind this morning. And then it delivered a painful punch to my gut of Padre fandom/Yankee hatred reality. There is more than a slim chance Greg Maddux could be in Yankee pinstripes by mid-July if not ealier. Ughh......

Let's face it Padres fans-in New Jersey-who hate the Yankees (am I alone in this baseball demographic?) and all other Padres fans and Yankee haters, the Mad Dog FINALLY winning his 350th career pitching victory in last night's 3-2 win over the Colorado Rockies (yes that's right folks, the Padres actually scored more runs than the other team and won a baseball game) could possibly be the final highlight for him in a Padres uniform. Of course it was vintage 2008 Padre style - the bullpen nearly blew it for Maddux; Adrian Gonzalez provided the lone big hit (3-run HR); and San Diego couldn't widen a lead keeping fans pulling out their hair with Trevor Hoffman walking the lead-off hitter in the ninth. Maddux had not picked up a victory in close to a month. And other than a shelling he took versus Arizona last month, his team let him down in more than one way in his other losses. So it's no wonder, San Diego Union Tribune columnist Tim Sullivan chooses to spell out reality right away (this morning's paper) and makes us realize Maddux may not be with the Padres much much longer: http://www.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20080511/news_1s11sullivan.html

It's not what I wanted to read while enjoying the rarity of a Padres win this morning, but it's the truth we must face as Padres fans.

"Greg Maddux deserves better than this and, odds are, he is going to get it" is how Sullivan leads off the column today. "Maddux has too much to offer and too little time left to be stuck pitching for these Padres at this point in his Cooperstown career. He can still help somebody chase a pennant. He should not be stuck shackled to the Oblivion Express," Sullivan continues.

And here in New Jersey trapped amidst the hysteria of the New York sports media blitz, it's no secret the Yankees sure could use a pitcher. And really, just think about the disgusting, heart wrenching possibilities: One of the all-time greats, a class-act, a mentor to the younger guys in the clubhouse, a legend, coming to the Bronx in the Yankees' final season at the old stadium, helping the Yankees to finally climb the AL East standings to grab the wildcard. If there's any franchise, in need of a pitcher, where money is not an object and the dealing away of prospects may not be either with ownership, it's the Yankees. And really at this point, San Diego can use "top" prospects at just about any position on the field.

"There's a deal to be made for the pitcher who finally earned his 350th career victory on his fifth try last night at Petco Park. Everybody needs pitching, and most teams need it enough to shrug off Maddux's age, his radar gun readings and his sophomoric affection for bodily functions," writes Sullivan.

That has the New York Yankees written all over it in my little, Padre-paranoid, Yankee-hating mind.

Find me a Yankee fan right now who would rather have Darrell Rasner or Kei Igawa, or even Phul Hughes or Ian Kennedy at this point than Greg Maddux. So there it is, the thought that haunts my mind today as a Padre fan/Yankee hater/NJ resident surrounded by Yankee fans. I do believe Maddux does have no-trade clauses in his contract (if someone in the know can elaborate on this that would be great), and he does have an interesting scenario with the Padres which includes a membership at a country club/golf course in the San Diego area. So is that what I have to hold on to? He'll refuse to go to the Yankees? Or anywhere else and end his career with the Padres, 25 games out of first place by late August? He just can't give up playing golf every chance possible while being in Southern California.

These are pathetic hopes, I know. And now, each day, I will be in fear of this transaction - Greg Maddux headed to the New York Yankees.

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