Glavine deserved better from Braves

Well, they led him to the altar, but they couldn’t convince him to say, “I quit.”

Speaking here of the “Tom Glavine affair,” which is not going away, and which the Braves will have plastered across their dossier for time to come. Coming on the heels of the indifferent dealing with John Smoltz — who tired of waiting for a commitment — we now have become witness to the end of an era: The Smoltz-Glavine-Maddux era, when the Braves had the three greatest pitchers they have ever had on their roster at the same time.

But, Glavine is the central figure here. Say his time had come, if you choose, but no one had ever given the slightest hint that he was being whip-sawed with such a dead-end decision: Take retirement or release. Then the heartless words spread across the television screen: “Braves Release Tom Glavine.”

If they were going to release him, then why this agonizing process of rehabilitation tests at Gwinnett and Rome? It was some kind of anxiety scene outside the Braves clubhouse Wednesday evening while John Schuerholz, Frank Wren and Bobby Cox had the final sit-down conference with Glavine, the better part of two hours. A nervous lot of us squirmed and twisted and cracked wise in the passageway outside, lined up like birds on a telephone wire. Waiting. Having no idea what was taking place inside, realizing as the wait stretched past 6 p.m. that negotiations had reached a tenuous state.

In the end, Wren, the general manager, spoke, and the decision was out. Glavine had been released. “It was a performance decision,” he said.

Then someone mentioned the speed readings that had been reported. “They were not accurate,” Wren said, “just ball-park figures.”

Later, though, Cox came through in his usual stance, defending the player in a radio interview. “His arm is pretty darned strong.”

Then it must have been the money, one million the moment he suited up, with designated incentives down the road. “Not a monetary decision.” Wren said. So did the CEO, Terry McGuirk, who backed it up with his report that it was unanimous, and “That’s good enough for me.”

A million dollars is a pittance for this club with an extended salary cap this season. They poured out millions to sign Derek Lowe, Kenshin Kawakami and Javier Vazquez. Surely another million wouldn’t have disturbed their budget, but deep down inside, you had to feel that it was a matter of, “is it worth for a 43-year-old pitcher coming back from surgery?”

For one who has won 244 games for you, yes. And for one who has been a reputable citizen, and deserves the courtesy of ending his career here, yes.

For those who still hold it against Glavine as a “union man,” forget it. It was his job, and he was true to it. Details of why he left for the Mets have never been made clear, but there is little doubt that he and Schuerholz never duked it out, that Glavine was left hanging and took the Mets’ offer when the Braves never countered.

So much for much for all the water-cooler talk. What gnaws at many is why the Braves led him on, through three minor-league test runs, then decided the velocity wasn’t there. Well, velocity has never been a trademark of Glavine, the pitcher. Location has been. “Pitching in the black,” the home-plate border, depicted his style.

Who did the scouting? Who came to these decisions? We’ll probably never know, but the final cruel decision rests on the Wren regime, and while his deal for Nate McLouth, a quite savvy move, deflected some of the umbrage, it was only slight. For ringing in all our ears was Tom Glavine’s last declaration, “I’m ready to pitch.”

Later, Schuerholz called a press conference and issued an apology for the manner  in which all this was handled. But that changed nothing. Nice try, John. But the damage is done.

129 comments Add your comment

Navigator

June 5th, 2009
4:34 pm

Furman, I love you man, but this time you’re wrong. The Braves did Glavine a favor by even bringing him back when they shouldn’t have. They did give him time to prove he could still pitch in the major leagues, but watching him throw in the low 80’s against kids proved he couldn’t. Like any franchise, they need to give their youth a change to move to the big league roster, and they did the right thing this time.

jimmy

June 5th, 2009
4:37 pm

it would great to see glavine pitch for another team,just to see who is right,glavine or the braves

Mac

June 5th, 2009
4:37 pm

You are right Furman, he did deserve better. Now, though, you are about to get blasted by hundreds of other readers. Close your eyes.

AGTFan

June 5th, 2009
4:39 pm

Furman give up. You’ll never persuade the haters. I guess they think that their employers do them a favor by giving them a job. Boy are they suckers. Of course in todays economy they might be right.

Jeff

June 5th, 2009
4:59 pm

Furman, you hit the nail on the head. The Braves are lowclass. But this is the way they handle things. Neikro, Smoltz, and now Glavine. The Braves shouldn’t be shocked the the empty seats.

Bill

June 5th, 2009
5:11 pm

end of an era….wait, take Bobby Cox and TP with them. Then it would be the end of era. Thanks Wren and keep up the good work.

Steve

June 5th, 2009
5:22 pm

Wait, so Glavine’ s job as a union rep, and his signing with a division rival, is just business, but the Braves decision to free up a roster spot for a much better, and cheaper, pitcher is spiteful? Nice logic.

glove51

June 5th, 2009
5:32 pm

Well, I’ve got to say this blog was about as predictable as the sun rising in the east.

I am sorry, but I have to disagree that the Braves acted with no class. The player personnel guys were unanimous that going with Hanson over Glavine was the correct call. They offered to let Glavine retire, but he said no.

Would it have been smarter to let him start a couple of games, when the Braves player personnel guys to a man did NOT think he could get it done, thereby almost certainly just wasting $1MM? It’s always easy to spedn someone else’s money isn’t it Furman? They gave Tommy G $1MM up front, they did not know he would have the setback ln extended spring training. The $1MM they already paid him was for insurance in case Hanson and/or Medlen weren’t ready. They ARE ready to pitch at a higher level than Tom Glavine would have.

Glavine took the Mets offer when he left, which amounted to LESS money on a cost of living basis, and AFTER he had told Schuerholz that he had changed his mind and wanted to stay with the Braves. He did it because the union put pressure on him because it would help drive up salaries for all players. So, Tom made a BUSINESS decision over a “heart” decision to leave the Braves, but when the Braves make a BUSINESS decision to go with someone else over the “heart” decision to stay with old Tommy G., Tom doesn’t like it and lashes out like the spoiled, entitled, guy he has always been. Furman, how come Tom Glavine gets to do something that is “his job”, but when Frank Wren, et al do the same thing they’re the bad guys?

I was starting to feel a little better about Tom and bad about disliking him for what he did when he left for the Mets. As usual, my first gut instinct when evaluating a person was correct.

I still love John Smoltz and he is definitely free to say what he wants about the Braves releasing Glavine, but he would do well to shut up about this stuff. He is just using this incident to take another shot at the Braves because he is still bitter that they woould not pay him more.

Answer me this: would the Braves pitching staff right now be better or worse had they allocated the type of money Smoltz had wanted to Smoltz?

The answer is obvious: worse.

Bob Horner stayed hurt

June 5th, 2009
5:48 pm

I don’t think Glavine had much to offer this year….he’s 43…with no fast ball…it is what it is….that said….it still hurts to see him just get cut…life aint fair…at least he’s a multi-millionare…could be worse

ed

June 5th, 2009
5:50 pm

I agree with some what’s been said- it was a low-class move on the Braves part. They will loose more than the $1 Million in fans dissatisfaction over the move. THey should have let him start a few games and gave him a chance. Shame on the Braves management.

The Real Gumby

June 5th, 2009
6:08 pm

Okay Braves fans . . . let’s all apologize to Glavine and maybe he will go away.

Another point of view

June 5th, 2009
6:29 pm

Lash La Rue

June 5th, 2009
6:36 pm

Glavines mad because the Braves didn’t offer him a job in the organization. Would love for Glavine to be pitching coach, Mad Dog to be mgr., Chipper hitting Coach , Smoltze asst. mgr and bench coach, keep Hubbie and Perez add Lemkie at 3b coach, Damn what a HOF staff.

Max Sizemore

June 5th, 2009
6:47 pm

glove51, that’s a really good point. Tommy made a business decision to sign with the Mets. Now the Braves make a business decision and he cries foul.

Michael J

June 5th, 2009
7:28 pm

Yes – he did deserve better. The guy was the winning pitcher of the game that provided the Braves their only World Series for Atlanta. Tom will be a Hall of Famer. He’s always been a good guy in my book – a few years ago he took time out of a busy personal appearance schedule to give both my sons his autograph. While others passed them by – he took the time to be friendly – a quality lost on so many other professional athletes. He’s a class guy, who wanted to finish his run in professional baseball here in Atlanta. The Braves should have either not signed him to begin with, or should have let him try and make it back through re-hab. Once they signed him to try and come back this year they should have honored their committment. He deserved to go out a hero, not a viewed as a broken down pitcher who could not do the job. Geez Braves – does loyalty and integrity of players mean anything to you guys?

Baracked the vote!

June 5th, 2009
7:39 pm

Glavine probably deserved better, but the all-time screw job by the braves to a player was Niekro. they released a player, who was picked up by the yankees and proceeded to win 16 games for them in 84 and 85. I saw him pitch in memorial stadium in 84 against the O’s and all the yankee fans were chanting, “No nukes, just nieks!” great stuff. gave me a great reason to dislike joe torre.

Mike

June 5th, 2009
8:11 pm

Same old Braves. The poor treatment of so many. Tommy went to NY and was treated better on the way in and way out then he has by his “home team”. This organization has gone from deft to pathetic the last 10 years. It is not like they will be better than 500 either way.

130on2

June 5th, 2009
8:40 pm

You are absolutely correct Furman. The man has had one injury but the Glavine haters act like he is more beat up than a 1955 Chevy in Cuba. If he chooses to play for someone else I firmly believe he will have a good year. I hope Chipper is paying attention. If I were him there would definitely not be any more salary adjustments to accomodate the Braves. I suggest that he should require them to pay in advance. He definitely doesn’t need to expect to retire as a Brave. Wren has less class than George Steinbrenner.

crabapplejoe

June 5th, 2009
9:28 pm

I don’t know whether Glavine had anything left or not. I don’t quibble with the Braves decision to release him if that was their best judgement. But, dam* we’re talking about a future HOFer who will enter the HOF as a Brave. He gave the best years of his great pitching career to this city. Couldn’t they have somehow found a way to do this at a joint press conference or something a little less demeaning than this. They released him the same way they would have released a two year AAA utility infielder for goodness sake. As a native Atlantan I am sorely disappointed by the way this was handled.

Tbone226

June 5th, 2009
9:41 pm

We deserved better when he bolted for New York for more money. I mean if he and Smoltzie cannot make it the rest of their lives on what they have made in their careers with the Braves then they have more problems than getting their feelings hurt by the way they were treated by the Braves. You want respect then you need to show respect also.

Gene

June 5th, 2009
9:42 pm

The Braves showed a total lack of class with Smoltz and Glavin. Scherholtz and Wren have made some dumb moves, but the treatment of Glavin was dirty. The organization is back where it was when Ted Turner was dancing on the dugout, that is tacky!

BraveStreet

June 5th, 2009
10:01 pm

The braves paid glavine over $100 mil during his career—and deserved much more loyalty from him. Instead, he led a player strike, shutting down most of the season and later took off for new york for a few more bucks in salary. Then, he crawls back after that busted job and whines about “loyalty” and professionalism. He only understands money. Hit the road tom—you got paid a lot, now you’re washed up.

Braves fan since berth

June 5th, 2009
10:22 pm

If it was performance based Bobby Cox would’ve been long gone

Reid Adair

June 5th, 2009
10:29 pm

Furman, you are 100 percent correct. If they made the commitment to sign him back in the spring, the least they could have done is give him one Major League start.

As bad as the offense is, this team is not going to be one game out of first place or the playoffs come September.

Just another lie from Frank Wren. He’s getting good at that.

Reid Adair

June 5th, 2009
10:30 pm

“Brave Street,” Glavine going to New York wasn’t about the money. It was about the fact that the Braves let the negotiations break down, and then they weren’t willing to make the long-term commitment that the Mets were.

JB

June 5th, 2009
10:34 pm

If this is the way we treat hall of famers, then why bother following the sport?

I mean…really? What is the purpose? To follow numbers, nameless faces, and jerseys running around a ballfield?

Who are we supposed to cheer then? Who is it, then, that all of the naysayers are cheering for? Please…give me a name. I’m curious.

Sports are a shared experience. Investing in the people and situations is what gives it meaning to us. To all of the people arguing with numbers and is he good enough…bravo. But you’re talking about a different subject entirely. He deserved better.

braves70

June 5th, 2009
10:40 pm

Right on Mr. Bisher. A minor league organization would have handled this better than the Braves. Frank Wren is a cancer that must be removed at once before he kills what is left of the Braves fan base. We all see now why he got fired in Baltimore after just one season. He showed the same disrespect to Cal Ripken Jr. that he did to Glavine. I for one hope the Braves never win anything as long as that weasel Frank Wren is here.

Billy

June 5th, 2009
10:45 pm

I agree with 51 & Max, so— Tommy don’t go away mad, just go away!

glove51

June 5th, 2009
11:39 pm

Man, I have never read as many stupid f’in posts in my life. Glavine is washed up. No sin; it happens to the best of them.

When you fools say the Braves coul dhave handled it better — how??? By letting him pitch? Causing the team to lose and Glavine to get embarrassed??? That is handling it better?

When does Tom Glavine get called upon to “handle something better”?

I just can not understand the blind stupidity in these posts. Does it hurt you guys somehopw to admit Glavine is washed up? Do you lose a piece of your past? The man was paid $1MM for making a handful of minor league rehab starts.

Drexel Gal

June 6th, 2009
2:17 am

I made this same comment when the Braves allowed John Smoltz to leave, so here it is again: “If the Yankees could release BABE RUTH, then the [insert team name here] can release [insert player name here].” Clear enough? Glavine earned nearly $129-Million in his career (about the same as Mike Piazza did in his). He won the deciding game of the only World Series championship the Braves will ever see in Atlanta. In short, you and Glavine must GET OVER IT.

john d

June 6th, 2009
4:48 am

I agree Glavine”s departure should have been handled better. What I am tired of is the constant whinning from these guys! Especially Smoltz! He has constantly trashed this organization since he left. Shut up John you were paid quite handsomely for your service here.

Ken Stallings

June 6th, 2009
5:06 am

Furman, from someone who normally agrees with you, this time I cannot believe you fail to understand why this played out like it did.

The only comment you made to give objective evidence it was a money decision was the Bobbby Cox quote that his arm is still strong. Frankly, I’m willing to believe Cox was just being Cox. He can’t ever bring himself to speak ill of any player, especially those he loves.

I believe the Braves did not string Glavine along. And, more to the point, the reason it went down like this validates it was a performance decision. Had it been a money move, that decision would have been made before spring training broke up. The Braves were genuinely hoping Glavine would return to MLB-winning form, which as you know isn’t nearly the same thing as Low-A-winning form!

It was only after Glavine’s final appearance in A-ball when the decision to offer him retirement or release was made. It took the collective wisdom and observations of the scouts to force the decision. Glavine getting out low-A class players isn’t a surprise. They haven’t seen his changeup, nor been forced to deal with pitchers with such savvy.

However, even in his prime, many times Glavine was rocked despite pin-point placement of his changeup. I remember the comment in the All-Star game by Andy Van Slyke, who quipped, “It was a closest to the pin contest,” with every AL hitter hitting chip shots to left and right center field.

His fastball was clocked in A-ball around 84 best case. Let’s give the scouts benefit for knowing their stuff. Let’s assume the radar gun posting those numbers was fast. Makes sense. You want to impress the home crowd.

What if Glavine’s fastball was more like 78 to 80 mph best case? Is that going to keep any MLB hitter honest? Heck no! They’ll hang out over the plate like some always did and dare him to throw the “cheese” inside on them where they can wail on it! That’s with Glavine’s arm at its best. Pitch 50 innings and will it be better?

Saying Glavine’s arm is strong, isn’t the same as saying his stuff is good. His arm may not be painful, meaning it’s strong. But, overall his velocity may be down enough to make him vunerable to MLB quality hitters.

I’m truly surprised a sports writer with your experience cannot see this.

John

June 6th, 2009
5:40 am

I’ll never forget what a total arrogant jerk he was during the strike season. I fell in love with Baseball all over again in ‘91, the strike and losers like Tom took that away.

Good riddance Tom, don’t let the screen door hit you in the tail on the way out…

Roswell Ed

June 6th, 2009
6:16 am

Pay me 10s of millions of dollars and then release me anyway you want.

What about 4 yrs ago when he left the Braves for minimally more money?

Come see me at libertarianhumor.com

War Jacket

June 6th, 2009
7:37 am

What goes around comes around. The Braves made a business decision and Glavine feels jilted. Doesn’t feel too good does it Tommy Boy? I will say that it appears that expectations were not properly set by the Braves. I see no fault in the decision, but it could have been handled much more professionally. A million bucks is still a million bucks, and Glavine does need any bail out money.

Sharecropper

June 6th, 2009
7:43 am

Now, look. There is no easy way to cut the ties, and I spent 42 years in the newspaper business trying to find one. The facts are fairly obvious. Yes, the team panicked after Glavine’s six innings, knowing they faced spending a million bucks for a guy who obviously had nothing left. He wasn’t pitching against minor league batters for nothing, you know. Given the choice of a hot runner or a washed up has been — sorry, but the truth hurts — they chose the hot runner. Too bad. Besides, where was all this angst when Glavine walked away from the Braves for more money with the Mets? Did he owe the Braves some loyalty and consideration? Nope. Baseball, outside the lines, is always about showing the money. So get over it. There ain’t no crying in baseball, and Glavine needs to stop his whining. It’s not like the Braves sentenced him to a lifetime of poverty. God. Enough is enough.

Dave

June 6th, 2009
8:16 am

Ok you don’t like how they did Furman Bisher how would you have done it different. Would you have not resigned him at the beginning when you had nobody signed yet? I don’t think you would. Pretty much signing him was out of necessity then he became an insurance policy pitchers get injured all the time. Finally I guess I ask those fans who wanted to keep Glavine for nostalgia why? Are the Braves really competing for something this year probably not. We all know Braves attendance is bad. Here you have our biggest attraction Hanson is drawing as many people to the Gwinnett team to see him as are seeing the Braves now. The Reason why Hanson over Glavine is to try to get the excitement back to the Braves to build attendance. Glavine was a rerun of an old movie during a rain out rather than seeing a summer premier of the latest blockbuster we have been waiting to see. Some of you don’t know when to say when on Glavine or Smoltz you care more about the final hurrah than the Braves looking to our future rather than our past. I bet if they had Glavine pitch his final game for the Braves few would go because they would expect another lose..

Dawggone-it

June 6th, 2009
8:31 am

Screw Glavine. He sold out the Braves for a higher contract offer to go to our rival. When has he apologized? We’ve paid him millions over the years-he’s provided excellent pitching over the years. Its over-just business.

Hawkdawg

June 6th, 2009
8:33 am

Furman, isn’t about time for YOU to retire? I hear Florida calling your name. Go pack up your depends and prune juice and take a hike!

JP

June 6th, 2009
8:43 am

Glavine deserves no loyalty. Why should he be treated any differently than, say, Andruw Jones? Glavine isn’t a “Brave”, he’s a baseball player who followed the $’s during his career. Adios Tommy Boy, enjoy your retirement.

Regularjoe

June 6th, 2009
9:16 am

(Old Furman) Ol Fuman. That’s how we pronounce it down here; Ol Fuman. Ol Fuman, we don’t need football playoff “that’s agin tradition.” Ol Fuman, “You all didn’t treat Glavine rat”. Ol Fuman is being Old Furman. Sometimes folks just stick around too long.

JFKDawg

June 6th, 2009
9:20 am

Furman, Was this article mandated by your AARP association?

AlamedaSteve

June 6th, 2009
11:59 am

Brave fans, just know now that your team will never win anything as long as Frank Wren is running things. The team may make more money, though.

BigMike

June 6th, 2009
12:43 pm

Mr. Scherhultz, While dishing out one to Tom, please give one to all of Atlanta, for your dismantling of Justice, Grissom, and a rookie Andrew Jones.Those 3 with Chipper could have been 2 more championships. But year after year the team became more vanilla. If you know what I mean!

JR

June 6th, 2009
1:27 pm

Furman

Once you are the class of Atlanta sports. Thanks for recognizing Tom Glavine. Time will be kind. He is a great athlete and a winner and beyond. Perfect role model for all young athletes!!!

Marcus

June 6th, 2009
2:06 pm

I don’t agree with that at all. Where was the loyalty when he (Glavine) left to go to the Mets. Turnabout is fair play to me. I was bothered at first, but then I thought about it and said “See Ya”. He will always be remembered for what he did in terms of assisting to bring up a championship to ATL but it was time to move on.

Carl S

June 6th, 2009
2:12 pm

What a classless bunch of — holes. No wonder the team doesn’t win. Now each and every player will be looking over their shoulder saying, am I next ??? How can an owner and president etc get the Braves in a winning mood. They have lost all their respect from the team and their fans !

Dave

June 6th, 2009
2:47 pm

Thanks again Furman for having Mr. Kennedy send his plane to Orlando for Lewis, I will never forget what you did to help him.

TPM

June 6th, 2009
2:52 pm

John Kincaid of 680 the fan claims that major league baseball attendence has never been better. So please ignore all the empty seats at Turner Field this summer when the yankees and red sox are not in town

TPM

June 6th, 2009
2:57 pm

Tom Glavine will not pitch again this year. He will rest on his laurels from his performance in Rome Ga. Public sentiment is good for him and he can walk away.

John Smoltz continues to take shots at The Braves brass for not giving him 5 million bucks. He would sound a lot more credible if he had thrown a major league pitch in the last year. AAA Pawtucket does not count