2006 NEWS

2006 News > 9/14/06

GLAVINE KNOWS FROM EXPERIENCE: SERIES NO SURE THING

By Jon Heyman, SI.com
Original Article HERE.

Future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine is more than the rock in the Mets' rotation. Glavine is a human warning label for this time of year.

He is, in fact, the perfect cautionary tale for October, a worthy historian full of personal postseason scars right inside the Mets' oh-so-confident clubhouse.

If any other Mets player starts to feel too comfortable heading into a National League playoff derby that looks to many like New York and the Lilliputians, they should consider Glavine's long history with the perennially-favored Braves. Atlanta won 14 consecutive division titles, wore the favorite's tag in the NL playoffs almost that many times and managed to win only one of the five World Series they qualified for, in 1995, when Glavine took matters into his own hands and beat the Indians 1-0 in the decisive Game 6.

And if Glavine's Mets teammates don't happen to be history buffs, they should listen very carefully when the veteran left-hander delivers the talk that could be vital to their postseason psyche. That day could come as early as Friday in Pittsburgh, when the Mets can clinch their first division title since 1988.

Glavine's message: Don't assume anything. Don't think that just because you dominated the regular season, you're about to dominate the postseason.

"It's an important discussion to have," Glavine said. "A lot of things go into the postseason, a lot of things you don't think about. There are a lot of distractions, a lot going on.''

If there were distractions in Atlanta, New York will be a relative circus.

Being overwhelming favorites never seemed to help the Braves. And yet, Glavine pointed out that the one time they were discounted, in 1999, when Javy Lopez, Andres Galarraga and Kerry Ligtenberg were hurt, they made it to the World Series.

"Sometimes we'd go into the postseason playing great, and we got beat by a team a little bit hotter,'' Glavine said. "You don't ever know. We can't assume we'll breeze through the postseason. The other team doesn't care what our record is. They only know that they're there and they think they can beat you.''

Glavine knows anyone can be dangerous in the postseason. "If you run into the Marlins with that pitching staff, or Houston with that pitching staff, or St. Louis, and you have to face [Chris] Carpenter three times, it's not going to be easy,'' he said.

Whatever happens in the postseason, for the moment the Mets are relishing the Braves going up in flames for the first time in 15 years. And Glavine, who made the choice to leave Atlanta after the 2002 season -- but according to Braves GM John Schuerholz's book, Built to Win, had some serious misgivings about his Mets deal and considered staying in Atlanta for a lot less -- may be enjoying it just a little bit more.

"Every year you come into a season, you anticipate there's going to be a team to beat, and that sooner or later they're going to lose," Glavine said. "In the back of my mind, I always wanted to be on the team that beat them.''

Glavine wasn't thrilled when Schuerholz revealed the pitcher had second thoughts about coming to the Mets. Now he's likely to win his 300th game as a Met, and the club plans to pick up his option for next year, which was agreed to this spring.

He still knows plenty of folks around the Braves' organization, and he also knows just how hard they're taking not making the playoffs for the first time in 15 seasons. And he had no second thoughts about revealing this: "I've got a sense they're not taking it well, that there's a little bit more turmoil there.''