2007 NEWS

2007 News > 8/2/07


By Ben Shpigel, NY Times
Original Article Here.

It was past midnight when Tom Glavine met up with his family after Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss to the Brewers, and he was the calmest one among them. His wife, Chris, remained as disappointed as she looked during the eighth inning, when she slumped into her seat after Guillermo Mota gave up the tying run to cost her husband a shot at winning his 300th career game. Ever the father, Glavine explained to his children that, he too, felt sad. But, hey, look at the bright side: We get to go to Chicago.

“They’ll ask, ‘Why didn’t so-and-so get a hit’ or ‘Why did so-and-so throw that pitch,’ and I try to liken it to their games,” Glavine said. “When you play in Little League, you try to get a hit every time you bat, right? Sometimes you let a ground ball go through your legs, right? Well, it happens.”

Glavine’s entourage flew home unfulfilled, but will return in full force this weekend at Wrigley Field, where on Sunday night Glavine will try again against the Cubs. He compared the atmosphere Tuesday to a playoff game, and he pitched as if the season was on the line. Lasting into the seventh inning, Glavine allowed one run, two hits and five walks, some of which were the byproduct of the plate umpire Chad Fairchild’s tight strike zone.

He walked off the mound with a 2-1 lead, nine outs away from a milestone. His dreams of being the first pitcher since Tom Seaver to reach 300 victories on his first attempt ended when Bill Hall’s ground-rule double off Mota drove in the tying run in the eighth. Glavine, who watched from the clubhouse, said: “It felt like a punch in my stomach, the wind out of my sails, whatever you want to call it. But then I was like, ‘O.K., time to get ready for Chicago.’ ”

He sent text messages to his wife. He asked her if she wanted to take their children back to the hotel. She told him she would stay with him until the game ended. And they did, through all 13 innings, with the man they came to watch waiting like everyone else to go home.

It was not until Glavine woke up Wednesday morning that reality set in. His mind flashed to how close — five Brewers outs — he was from making history.

“I kind of woke up with what my wife and I termed the hangover effect, even though we didn’t have anything to drink,” Glavine said. “But that’s what you have. It’s that next day. It happens all the time. Any time you go out there and pitch a good game and it goes the way last night’s did, there’s that feeling of something that got away. Obviously, being in the situation I’m in now, it’s a little bit more magnified.”

When the game ended and his teammates entered the clubhouse, many of them offered words of encouragement or pats on the back. Glavine said that he appreciated the gestures, but that he felt just as upset that they missed a chance to add a game to their lead over the Phillies in the National League East.

“I know these guys want me to do this and if they’re part of it, they want to help me to do it,” Glavine said of the bullpen. “They’ve helped me far more than they’ve hurt me.”

Getting tickets at Wrigley Field is a tougher task than it is here, and Glavine said he was trying to work with the equipment manager Charlie Samuels to make sure all of his friends and family members could be accommodated Sunday. He seemed more concerned about their travel plans Wednesday than anything else. He signed a jersey for Brewers pitcher Derrick Turnbow, joked with reporters and, for someone who appreciates the game as he does, said he relished the chance at winning No. 300 at one of baseball’s cathedrals.

“My parents have never seen Wrigley Field, so that part of it will be nice,” Glavine said. “But, like I said last night, I’d love to get this thing over with, but I’ll try and enjoy it for what it is. You don’t get an opportunity to do this very often.”