Maddon Praises El Mago’s Baserunning Instincts, Says He’ll ‘Make a Great Parent’

Ednel Javier Baez is a baseball maelstrom, capable at any moment of the kind of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it exploits that less enlightened viewers might mistake for magic. Not that Javy ever has to worry about having his own vision obscured, though, as we heard from his manager following Thursday’s 8-0 win in Milwaukee. No, the man they call El Mago is uniquely equipped to see what no one else can.

It started when Javy singled home two runs in the top of the 2nd inning, putting the Cubs on the board for the first time in the last 19 frames. Then he broke for second when Jon Lester lined a ball off of Brewers starter Brent Suter, rounding second as the ball rolled weakly under Hernan Perez’s glove and toward Lorenzo Cain in center.

But Javy didn’t stop there, rounding third and breaking home when Cain bobbled the ball.

“We’ve seen that before, man,” Maddon told the media after the game. “He’s got eyes in the back of his head, he’s gonna make a great parent. He’s just got that stuff, he just knows what’s going on. When he does that it doesn’t surprise, at all. It does not surprise.”

It’s easy to say now, looking back at the lopsided final score, but that play essentially won the game for the Cubs. Even so early in the game, it was apparent that Javy’s heroics had taken all the fight out of the Brewers.

“When you do stuff like that, it does…When you make mistakes on defense and the other team takes advantage, it normally does hit you in the solar plexus a bit,” Maddon said. “It just normally does do that. And Javy, he’s had that kind of experience on the bases before.”

Yeah, just ask the Dodgers about that.

“He’s always heads-up,” Maddon gushed. “If you watch him, he will look behind as he’s running, he will look behind to see what’s going on. He’s got extraordinary instincts on the bases.”

The idea of looking behind to see what’s ahead might seem contradictory were it being applied to anyone else, but there’s perhaps no better description for Javy’s embodiment of controlled chaos. In making plays that defy logic, he doesn’t so much break the rules as transcend them. I mean, those traditional guidelines were set for mortals, not em-effing unicorns.

And if you’re worried that I’m already crossing into hyperbole six games into the season, just look back at what Javy’s already done and imagine what he’s still got left in his bag of tricks.

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