2007 NEWS

2007 News > 3/7/07


By Marty Noble, MLB.com
Original Article HERE.

KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- The trainer's room in a big-league clubhouse often serves the same purpose as the water cooler in real world offices. It's the place to go for gossip, news, views and the occasional ace bandage. Miss a day, and you'll be behind. Miss two, and the resulting ignorance is conspicuous. And you can't TiVO anything.

So it was Monday afternoon when Tom Glavine returned to the Mets' camp and newsroom. He was chatting with Paul Lo Duca when ESPN re-told the tale of Alex Rodriguez to the Mets and David Wright to somewhere that isn't third base. Incongruous, Glavine demanded to know.

"Did I miss something?"

After Lo Duca's "not really" soothed him, Glavine again was taken aback; this time by how his self-imposed, two-day exile -- he had returned home to Georgia for personal reasons -- had made him a Rip Van Winkle of sorts.

"A couple of days, and I'm out of it," he said.

He didn't care for the feeling; no bliss to this ignorance.

"When you're not there," he said on Tuesday, "it doesn't feel right. You don't like being out of touch. When you're part of a team, you feel you should be there."

Glavine enjoys being part of a team, almost as much as being father of a family. That became abundantly clear to him Sunday, when he attended his son's hockey game in Alpharetta, Ga., and, to his surprise, felt misplaced. Florida beckoned. Imagine that.

He wondered about the score and the inning of the Mets' game in Fort Lauderdale.

An exhibition game, one Glavine's memory would have purged soon after its completion had he been involved, had distracted him and prompted to him to wonder.

"If this is my last year, how am I going to handle it next year? It's the first time I've ever encountered those feelings," he said.

Because of family needs that superseded hockey, Glavine returned home and experienced the equivalent of a sneak preview of the March 2008 episodes of his life. He had put his toe in the water of real life, and when he removed it, he was uncertain. Too warm? Too cold? He couldn't say. But the temperature wasn't right.

"It's the first time I've ever seriously been confronted by any of this," he said.

Early in camp, Glavine acknowledged he hadn't give much thought to any of it.

"Too early," he said, "to soon to wonder if this is my last spring, the last time, my last this or that."

Instead, it was time to retrain his muscles, recharge his batteries and return to what he has done each February for 22 years.

But the trip home prompted a new March exercise -- rethink.

Even now, weeks before his 41st birthday, Glavine is learning about himself.

"This might not be as easy as I thought," he said. The weekend home had messed with his lifestyle equilibrium. He turned his palms up as if they were the bowls of a scale and moved them up and down. "I don't know what the balance is," he said.

And a week ago, he was pretty sure he did.

Earlier in the day, he had responded to similar probing with a "yeah and no."

No matter what, he's certain "I'll miss what I did today." He had pitched -- three innings in his second exhibition game start Tuesday against the Astros. Three innings, four hits a walk and -- perhaps because Nolan Ryan was in attendance -- two strikeouts. His location had improved, his stamina wasn't there yet. The sameness and tedium of Spring Training wears on all of them.

"There are just so many times you can cover first base on Field 3," Glavine said in the morning.

And what will come in April, May and June? Perhaps his push to 300 victories and all it will entail will convince him 2007 is enough. If he doesn't get there, other issues will crop up.

When Glavine's scale still had the Mets and Braves on the bowls in November, he and his wife, Chris, discussed the Roger Clemens live-at-home plan. Would the Mets allow that? Less travel, more time at home.

"Please, you'd never do that," Chris said. Her husband didn't argue.

"I don't think I could do it," he said. "I'd feel compelled to be with the team."