2004 NEWS

2004 News > 4/7/2004


By Terence Moore, The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

All of the usual suspects got a combination of hugs and roars after they returned to the land of choppers and chanters. Fred McGriff. Ryan Klesko. Marquis Grissom. Kevin Millwood. I mean, the ovation for Andres Galarraga was even beyond those given to current Braves players.

Once, those packed into Turner Field cheered Cal Ripken Jr. so loudly while he was pounding the home team that their lungs nearly burst. They also were absolutely ga-ga over Mark McGwire during his chase of Maris and Ruth.

Then Tom Glavine came to town Tuesday night to start his second year with the New York Mets after a glorious 16 years with the Braves.

Boooooo. These were nasty boos. They nearly were as ugly as the ones that greeted Glavine last season during his two trips to Turner Field that contributed to his overall implosion against his old team. He was 0-4 with a 10.34 ERA. That's opposed to his nice outing in this one that featured one run and four hits for the Braves through six innings.

This time, Christine Glavine left the little ones at home.

Too risky.

When you have the potential of sitting amongst folks who keep jeering somebody they should be greeting with nothing less than soft applause, you do what you have to do. You minimize your exposure to those embarrassing the Braves Nation with their childish ways regarding one of the greatest players in the franchise's 128 years.

"He won't tell you this, but he would be lying to say that it doesn't bother him," said Braves closer John Smoltz, Glavine's teammate and golfing partner throughout his Braves career. "It would bother anybody to go through this."

Actually, Glavine did tell me that he isn't exactly pleased by all of this. "Last year, yeah, it bothered me a lot," he said. "But I ran into a lot of people over the winter who were very appreciative of what I did here. They enjoyed what I offered the team and the city, and they left it at that.">

Well, some of them. The rest continued to make themselves look silly with their Glavine bashing during Tuesday's game in which he also knocked home a run.

That it has come to this for Glavine and Braves fans is inexcusable. His two Cy Young Awards with the Braves. Who cares? His march of excellence on the pitching mound during the 1990s to becoming the game's winningest left-hander. Forget about it, along with the way his professionalism helped define the Braves' clubhouse.

The only thing on the minds of the significant number of this hissing and heckling the Mets' No. 47 was that he had the audacity to leave the Braves before last season by choice. That and 1994, which is Glavine's Scarlet Letter around here. It didn't matter that he was the epitome of a guy standing on principle after the players were forced into an ugly and lengthy strike by the Evil Owners.

Glavine became the Evil Player. For the longest time, it appeared that he lost that distinction after his one-hit gem for eight innings in Game 6 helped give the Braves the 1995 World Series. "Actually, I thought it had ended before that," Glavine said. "I thought everything was forgiven that in August after I hit a home run to win a game at home against the Reds."

Obviously, Glavine was wrong. Obviously, he remains the focal point of everything that ails baseball and the world in the minds of those who began their hissing and heckling of Glavine during his two trips back to town last season. During the first of those games in May, two of Glavine's four children burst into tears over the treatment of daddy. Thus mommy's decision to keep the youngsters at home.

Such a shame.

For everybody.