Man’s Got to Know His Limitations

In 1973’s Magnum Force, Clint Eastwood uttered this memorable line as inspector Harry Callahan:

Man’s got to know his limitations.

I don’t think Cameron Maybin is familiar with this quote. Or maybe he is familiar with the film but he doesn’t believe the sentiment on account of his supreme athleticism. I tend to lean towards the latter.

Cameron Maybin probably doesn’t believe in limitations of any sort as it pertains to his feats on the baseball diamond. Oh, I know he said that he would limit his reckless abandon when he spoke to Darren Smith last week but did anyone honestly believe him? It’s very difficult to just turn things off when you are endowed with amazing abilities and possess a determination to shine. Cameron Maybin wants to shine, wants to be the guy in San Diego. Unfortunately Cameron Maybin doesn’t know his limitations and he now finds himself sidelined for the next few months with a ruptured left biceps tendon.

I witnessed the injury first hand during the split squad game at Camelback Ranch against the Dodgers on Sunday. Four things immediately flashed through my mind when the ball flew off Juan Uribe‘s bat:

  1. How does Juan Uribe hold down a job? I am vexed.
  2. Why is Cameron Maybin even trying to make a play on that ball hit by Juan Uribe , a guy who shouldn’t be able to hold down a job?
  3. Rymer Liriano is right there . . . in right field . . . why isn’t he making a play on the ball hit by Juan Uribe, a guy who really shouldn’t be able to hold down a job?
  4. Damn, Cam’s hurt and he’s gonna be out. But not Juan Uribe. He’s holding down a job.

This is not a revisionist account. I mean I really dislike Juan Uribe. But I’m mostly talking about what I witnessed with Cameron Maybin’s decision to go after a ball hit to Rymer Liriano’s neighborhood.

Watch the video of the play again or click on this annotated screen grab. It’s not 100% precise but it should provide you a proper visual of player positioning on the play.

Cameron  Maybin Injury Annotations 2

According to Dennis Lin of the U-T, Rymer Liriano said that Maybin called him off, which is really just crazy. Look at how far Cam ran to get the ball.

Cameron Maybin is young, fast, and powerful, blessed with abilities mere mortals like us can not fully comprehend. He’s always been described as an impact defender as illustrated by the 2008 Baseball America Prospect Handbook, which listed him as the Marlin’s #1 prospect and a top 10 prospect in baseball:

Defensively he has plus range in center field . . .

Plus range? Ridiculously plus.

But BA also noted this about Cameron Maybin:

He takes bad reads in the outfield, though his straight away speed usually allows him to recover.

A scouting report written long ago, the second half of which, bears closer inspection. Cameron Maybin’s speed is what allows him to take chances and chase the baseball to places others might not be able to go. But Cam must know his limitations if he is ever to survive the pitfalls waiting for him in a major league outfield. He’s got to see that a ball hit by Juan Uribe*, a player who really should not be able to hold down a job, should have been played by Rymer Liriano in right field.

Here’s to better health, Cam. Keep playing hard** and I look forward to seeing you later this summer.

* I’m like Tom Hanks in Big when it comes to Juan Uribe.

** Seriously, play hard. Just use that vision and field awareness.


I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired by Juan Uribe. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM. The dusty archives of AJM are located at

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  • Billy Lybarger

    Part of Cameron Maybin’s game is diving for balls. Therefore, he must practice diving for balls in game situations. It was an awkward dive because the skill had been left to rust due to no-use last season. He knocked the rust off, and snapped a tendon in the process. Hopefully his next dive, in two to three months, will be less awkward.

    • That he hasn’t had to dive in a while is an issue. That getting injured while diving is likely in his head is also an issue. But that’s a ball he shouldn’t be going after like that. He’s got to recognize that the smart play is deferring to the RF.

      • Billy Lybarger

        We’re in agreement here. But CF gets to call off RF. And he is playing with someone he knows little of. He knew he had a good jump, knew he would have to dive, and wisely called Liriano off, as opposed to not saying anything and diving into Rymer. The way he dove, and his awkward landing is the part that needs work. Unfortunately, he won’t be able to work on that for a while.
        Also, Juan Uribe couldn’t happen to a better team.

      • Could have been so much worse if he and RL collided.

      • VM David

        I was thinking about your post earlier, and your comment here touches on what I wanted to talk about. He really needs to get comfortable in the role as leader of the outfield. He’s a veteran, he’s the center fielder, he should be running the show. Deferring to Liriano in this case would have been the wise decision, the mature decision, the best course of action as a leader.

        I would hope the coaching staff would be less concerned with having him cut down on the dives and more concerned with empowering him in that role. Perhaps he’s not that guy, but it’d be great if he were comfortable enough to be that guy. I’d love to see him grow into that guy. Given they made the financial commitment to him, the team should be all-in on making him that guy.


        As for how they keep him healthy…*shrug*

      • Your commenting is strong, Fella.

  • Ivan

    I don’t think Cameorn Maybin’s injury is fair, because Juan Uribe should not even be able to hold down a job.

  • Rick

    Traumatic Proximal bicepts tendon rupture will result in decreased strength in shoulder, flex ion of elbow, and rolling over of wrists. All important components of the swing. So the 2-3 month rehab is overly optimistic. I wouldn’t expect him to be back this year despite what you may hear.

    • FWIW -

      • Billy Lybarger

        Your move “Doctor” Rick.

      • SDPads1

        Did you just quote David Chao? The same Chao who is universally panned for basically being an all-around shitty doctor? Ok then.

      • He went to medical school, graduated, accurately diagnosed the tears in my own shoulder capsule, and operated on it. The operation was a success. Until I see someone else say that Maybin will be out longer than 3 months I’ll take Chao at his word. Viva Chao!

      • SDPads1

        The same shoulder that looks like it’s about to fall off your body when you throw?

      • I re-destroyed it fair and square. Can’t blame ol’ Doc Chao.

  • SDPads1

    In every sport I have ever played, I have always been taught to give it my all at all times. You can’t fault the guy for giving it all and I would never tell him to hold back any. You can however fault him for calling off the Liriano when he’s already camped out underneath it. Perhaps it was an overzealous move to prove that he belongs once again after an extended absence? Whatever it was, it just sucks. I’m a big Cam fan and the team is better with him on the field, than it is with him off it.