2008 NEWS

2008 News > 3/28/08


By Adam Rubin, NY Daily News

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Tom Glavine's vehicle awaited him at Turner Field yesterday, and as the Braves completed their Grapefruit League schedule against the Mets, the southpaw couldn't wait to land in Atlanta so he could drive the final 25 miles home last night, the same distance he used to drive from Shea to Greenwich, Conn.

"I'll be home, hopefully, by 8 o'clock-ish to tuck the kids in," Glavine said. "That's the reason why I'm still playing."

Five seasons with the Mets have rapidly passed, and Glavine, who turned 42 this week, is back with his longtime team, the Braves - the organization he never wanted to leave. Still, he insisted, he thoroughly enjoyed New York. And, yes, he does lament that final game when he retired only one Marlin, regardless of whether "disappointed" or "devastated" more appropriately defines it.

"It bothered me more than any other game I've ever pitched," Glavine said of his disastrous start in the Mets' season finale, which they lost to cap their stunning collapse and miss the playoffs. "Look, I'm pretty good about leaving things at the ballpark. But I didn't leave that at the ballpark. That got on the plane with me and went home with me and was with me for a good week after the season. There aren't too many games that I lose sleep over three or four nights later. I might lose sleep that night, but that bothered me.

"It bothered me because of what it meant to that team. It bothered me because of what it meant to me individually. It bothered me knowing that was going to be the last image of the end of that season. It was all of those things. It couldn't have bothered me any more than it did."

After an interview with two New York reporters ended yesterday, Glavine quizzed the pair about spring occurrences with the Mets as well as New York current events. When he broached the crane collapse on East 51st St. that killed seven people, Glavine suggested that was the type of event for which he reserved the word "devastating." In recent comments, his unwillingness to apply that label to a baseball game - even one that completed a historic collapse and saw him charged with seven runs, seven hits and two walks in one-third of an inning - had irked fans.

"It's just that word," he said. "The way I look at it, you get a phone call that tells you, 'Hey, your son is terminally ill,' that's a heck of a lot different feeling than I'm going to have over a baseball game. That's just where I was trying to come from."

During his five seasons as a Met, Glavine struggled against the Braves, going 4-11 with a 5.15 ERA in 19 starts. That's Glavine's worst ERA against any NL team. The Marlins are the only other team in the league against which he has a sub-.500 record (17-19). He will face the Mets a week from tomorrow at Turner Field, opposite their fifth starter.

"The emotional ties that I had there are much greater, I think, than people give it credit for," Glavine said about the Mets. "Because of that, it's going to be different, but it's not going to be like that first time I faced the Braves after being here for 16 years, and felt like everybody on the team and in the ballpark knew everything I was doing. It won't be that extreme, but it'll be close."

Said teammate John Smoltz: "The history the other way, when he was with the Mets, is just so overwhelming. It was difficult. It would be like me, even now, going somewhere and having to face this team. It would be very, very difficult. I can't even imagine."

When Glavine signed his first contract with the Mets, the move was viewed as a step toward assuming NL East supremacy. It didn't entirely work out that way, with the Mets making one postseason appearance in Glavine's five seasons.

"Obviously we didn't win a World Series, so from that standpoint it wasn't as successful as I would have liked," Glavine said. "It's like so many things in life that you take on. You want to leave something better than it was when you got there. And there's no question in my mind the Mets organization is a better organization than when I got there. Was I a part of that? Absolutely. How much of a part? Well, people can argue that."