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School is in Session

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When one of the greats takes the mound there is no better time to learn.

School will be in session for the Marlins' young pitching staff this afternoon when future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux takes the mound for the Cubs.

''When it comes to pitching, he really knows what he's doing,'' Marlins manager Joe Girardi said of Maddux, who would move into a tie for 13th on the all-time win list with career victory No. 324 today. ``When it comes to being a student of the game, I've never seen a pitcher study a game more than him. To me, he's everything you want in a pitcher.''

Which is why pitching coach Rick Kranitz said he plans to make sure the Marlins take note of how Maddux goes about his craft.

''This is great,'' Kranitz said. ``These guys, they need to watch him work. Not only that, you look at the preparation and what happens. He's always trying to get the advantage and the edge.

It was a few years ago when Maddux, who was still with the Braves at the time, made a start in Oakland.

The Athletics kicked all of the cameras out the photography well and placed all of their young pitchers in it, since it had a direct shot of the mound.  Throughout the game they were leaning on the rail watching every pitch intensely.  One of them was given the job to chart the pitches while the rest, were simply watching and discussing every pitch.  At one point one of the pitchers was dispatched from the group to go get Rick Peterson to explain to them the significance of a certain series of pitches to a hitter.

When, I believe it was Zito, pitched they all sat down and talked amongst themselves.  Mostly laughing and spitting sunflower seeds but definitely not hitting each other in the eye.

It made for an unusual game to watch being there wasn't any camera shots from the first base line.  But it was entertaining to watch a light go off in their heads from time to time.

The color announcer for the Braves, about the third inning, wondered what they were doing.  To which Skip Carey replied: Class is in session.

Hopefully we will do something similar.