Why Favre deserves to fail but Smoltz deserves to succeed

John Smoltz has a massive ego. He won’t retire. He believes he still can help a team win a championship, even though people think he’s nuts. Gee, you would’ve thought he was Brett Favre.

Big difference.

Smoltz will officially sign with the St. Louis Cardinals today after he clears post-release waivers at 1 p.m. eastern time. Here’s a guy to pull for at the end of his career, not a guy to mock.

Smoltz will sign with St. Louis because the Cardinals are giving him a chance to be a fifth starter. That’s something that wasn’t afforded him after his collapse with the Boston Red Sox. He also presumably won’t have to rehab in the minors, which the Red Sox also wanted.

So you might say, “Smoltz is getting his way. How selfish. He’s just like Favre.”

Not even close. Favre has managed to get his way and signed with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, which is what he wanted to do two years ago. But in getting there, he stepped on three NFL franchises along the way and scorched any remaining bit of character left in his soul. He cried crocodile tears at a retirement press conference in Green Bay after the Packers gave him a prolonged period (again) to make his decision. Almost immediately, rumors circulated that he wanted to come back — and never intended on leaving. The idea all along was to force the Packers to trade him to Minnesota, a division rival. The Packers dealt him to the New York Jets. A similar chain of events occurred in New York after last season, except that the Jets, convinced Favre had really retired, just released him. Then came the Minnesota abomination.

It’s one thing to get your way. It’s another to do so without regard to the teammates you’ve played with or the ones you’re about to play with.

Nobody can say that about Smoltz. Whether you believe he can still pitch or not, he never damaged the Braves’ franchise on the way out the door. He still has universal admiration in that clubhouse, and it’s the same in Boston and around baseball. Favre is not embraced the same way. Players, coaches and management have come to recognize him for what he is.

As for Smoltz, while there was little tangible evidence in Boston (2-5, 8.32 earned run average) to lead many to believe that he can still pitch after major shoulder surgery a year ago, some high profile teams obviously still believe he’s worth the risk. The National League West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers and wild-card contending Florida Marlins both expressed interest. Ultimately, Smoltz will sign with the Cardinals, who are contending for the N.L. Central title. It puts Smoltz back in the National League, where he spent his entire major league career with the Braves.

It also puts him in a potential face-to-face meeting with the Braves, who go to St. Louis for a weekend series Sept. 11-13. And I guarantee you when the Braves meet the Cards, every Brave will wish him luck. Can you imagine a similar scenario when Favre plays the Packers? Didn’t think so.

115 comments Add your comment

Alex H.

August 19th, 2009
7:27 am

I hope Smoltzie does well in the Louie.

Randy Nichols

August 19th, 2009
7:29 am

I must say this is a great article i enjoyed reading it keep the good work :)

Mitch C

August 19th, 2009
7:42 am

I dont know too much about football, Jeff, but I certainly know about baseball, Smoltz, and the Braves. Been a fan of all for over 20 years.

I do hope Smoltz succeeds in St Louis. It would be nice to see him finish hic career on an up note. I wish him success, mind you, unless the Braves get to the NLDS or NLCS and face the Cards somewhere along the line. Then he can fail, lol.

Mitch

pstlparks

August 19th, 2009
8:01 am

Always liked Smoltz, but he is quick to speak without thinking and doesn’t know when he’s done,(as in a game, not career). Favre is a great competitor, but doesn’t know when to curb his emotional drive in favor for common sense during game situations. Unless Smoltz can show he can still pitch, clubs pursuing him are taking a risk. With Favre teams know he can still play, but will his emotional play calling and current skills be enough? Favre has every right to retire and unretire as he sees fit. Too many rumors about what he is doing and for what reasons. Unless you hear it from him it ain’t worth the ink you print it with. Besides, it is his choice for himself not for the “fans”.

Fan since 4-12-66

August 19th, 2009
8:09 am

With a name spelled Favre but pronounced ‘farv,’ I guess it’s no wonder Brett’s confused. I used to wish the Falcons had kept him just one more year, but if you remember, they traded him mostly over ‘character issues.’

Mac

August 19th, 2009
8:15 am

He will end with a face plant.

Mitchell

August 19th, 2009
8:21 am

I just don’t get why Smoltz didn’t want to pitch against the Braves.

I never understood that, the ultimate competitor not wanting to face his old team. It’s also disappointing that he didn’t have a “tip the cap” moment at Turner Field.

There wasn’t anything like that. Why didn’t that ever happen? I found that odd.

I wish him well. I wish he could pitch at Turner Field but we’ve already played the Cards at home. That being said, I think he’s pretty much done. I don’t think he can make a major contribution at this point.

Brett Favre sucks.

Mitchell

August 19th, 2009
8:23 am

Thank God for “There’s Something About Mary”. It makes it so easy to spell his name.

If you ever get confused you just to remember Ben Stiller saying Brett Fav-rey.

Logic Here

August 19th, 2009
8:27 am

It’s not a point of wishing John Smoltz luck, the point is the business of winning and like it or not John Smoltz should have retired and left the game with respect. Same goes for Favre who appears to be the perennial whiner and flip-flopper. With the Smoltz signing it makes the St. Louis organization look foolish and the Braves look very very intelligent indeed. Something that isn’t obvious to the untrained eye.

Athletes for some reason think they deserve to continue to play for large amounts of money even if their talent is waning due to age and injury. It must be due to the egos involved, but they would be much better off to move on into retirement and the hall of fame. Time will tell but let’s hope the Braves don’t wish Smoltz luck during their trip to St. Louis if he is pitching against us. Remember the Braves still most definitely have a chance to be in the playoffs, Mr. Schultz.

dgroy

August 19th, 2009
8:34 am

John Smoltz was a great pitcher for the Atlanta Braves for many years and he endeared himself to the people of Atlanta with his hard play, ethics, being a family man and his many civic opportunities he was involved in. That being said, John Smoltz, in my opinion, was finished as a first rate baseball player in Atlanta and should have retired with dignity. JS probably could have been very comfortable with all the money he has made over the years in the majors and probably didn’t need any more. This old attitude of “I can still do it….and failing” over and over just makes him look like all the other greedy, greedy, money grabblers in sports, a la, Bret Favre, who in my opinion is the worst of the worst. RETIRE JOHN SMOLTZ…..LET US REMEMBER YOU WHEN YOU WERE ON THE TOP.

SmoltzFAN

August 19th, 2009
8:36 am

I hope he gets an opportunity to extend his playoff wins, until Petitte retires he will be a threat (just one win behind). Go get um Smoltzie!

Orangeskull

August 19th, 2009
8:51 am

Smoltz is the man and always will be. He has done more for the Atlanta community then any other player I can think of, be it football, basketball or baseball. With that being said I understand he is a warrior and doesnt want to call it quits. However I do believe he needs to do just that. There is nothing left to prove. He was one of the greatest pictchers that we will ever see and for the most part performed will when needed.

All he is doing now is destroying his body, when there is no need. Time to step back, look at what you accomplish and move on to another challenge.

In regards to Favre. No comment.

gabeaux

August 19th, 2009
8:52 am

Did Favre steal your girlfriend and break your heart? Is this all that important to you? Get over it, he was given a ton of money to do what he loves even though his new owners know his age, his history and his flip flops. Favre and the owners know the risk and are willing to take it. Breathe deep and think good thoughts, you are going overboard on this Favre thing. Sports is just the same as show biz.

Rev. Right

August 19th, 2009
8:54 am

I hope Stl use Smoltz as a middle reliever/closer, not a starter

Smoltzie

August 19th, 2009
8:57 am

I told you guys I had something in the works. Those St. Louie guys are suckerssss!

Smoltzie

August 19th, 2009
8:59 am

gabeaux – no one likes Fav ra. His teamates say he’s a loner – not a team player. He’s not well liked at all. Me on the other hand – everyone loves me.

Laura

August 19th, 2009
9:00 am

St. Louis looks foolish for signing Smoltz? The Cards don’t have a solid 5th starter right now since Wellemeyer’s slumping, nor do we have a solid set-up man for Franklin. Smoltz serves both purposes (BTW, Jeff, the Post-Dispatch was reporting last night that we want Smoltz to be a set-up guy). If Smoltz is the set up, which is what he needs to be, that’s perfect. He showed in Boston he can still work up to 3 good innings a game… it’s what comes afterward that’s a problem.

I’m not amazingly thrilled by the Cards signing Smoltz, but I think it’s a competent choice for a team that has made some very smart moves this year – Lugo (for free!), DeRosa, Holliday… 6 games ahead in the NL Central… winning 8 out of 10… 15 games over .500. Yep. Foolish, foolish Cards.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2009
9:00 am

Mitchell — and Cameron Diaz wasn’t bad either.

Gabeaux — important to me? No. Favre doesn’t affect my life. But it’s blog worthy.

Rev. Right — If the Cards make the playoffs, I’m sure Smoltz would be in the bullpen/

Dawg Foot

August 19th, 2009
9:02 am

Just like Vick. He deserves a second chance.

Jeff Schultz

August 19th, 2009
9:03 am

Laura– setup guy makes sense but today’s story says he’ll be given a shot at 5th starter job. http://tinyurl.com/lsessc

willdave

August 19th, 2009
9:05 am

I’m glad to see Smoltz going to the St. Louis Cardinals, a top-notch organization and a legitimate playoff contender this year. It would be great if John does still have something left in that 42-year-old arm, pitches effectively and helps the Cards go deep into the postseason. I’ll definitely be pulling for him every time he takes the mound.

Sorry, but I don’t share your animosity toward Brett Favre. If this future HOF QB “stepped on three NFL franchises” to get his way, then these franchises should be blamed for allowing him to do so. People employ strategies and mindgames every day to get what they want. What else is new? Whatever stunts Brett pulled to get his way weren’t troublesome enough to prevent the Vikings from signing the 39-year-old QB, so I don’t see the problem.

I do know that Favre’s alleged transgressions pale in comparison to Vick’s, but I do not recall your ever writing that the released convict “deserves to fail” in his return to the NFL.

Jack G.

August 19th, 2009
9:09 am

I am retired but if someone wants to throw 10—12 million at me to get me back on the job, just watch how fast i unretire.

That takes care of Favre

Now Smoltz—-its just EGO. He dosent have sense enough to know when to quit.

Richt's Cafe

August 19th, 2009
9:09 am

I just wish there was a way to know which 7 min. of Sportscenter will not be about Favre, T.O. or the Cowboys.

bvillebaron

August 19th, 2009
9:10 am

Jeff:

Smoltz was one of the greatest and I wish him no ill-will. However, apparently you overlooked his classless dissing of the Braves when he left (you know how dare they actually expect me to EARN my money this year despite being paid $14 million last year for all of 28 innings of work and coming off major surgery at 40 something). Say what you will, because there are no guaranteed contracts, at least the guys in the NFL EARN their money.

Cards Fan

August 19th, 2009
9:14 am

I don’t care what his record was in the A.L. East — I am thrilled to get him — especially with the post season around the corner. Kyle Lohse (Cards’ 4th starter) has been very inconsistent lately so JS could be #4 before season’s end, but most likely his role will be reliever in October.

Smoltz is the type of character that loves to prove people wrong. Just look how he went from starter, to one of the most dominant closers in baseball history, then back to starter. How many said he couldn’t do it? I realize he is older now — but his brain still pumps the same adrenaline it did years ago. Hitters will fear him much more than our current relief of Denny Reyes or Jason Motte.

I was as surprised as any baseball fan with our success in 2006 — this year the chances look much better. Hope the Braves can get the wild card so I can catch some post season action along with the rest of the Cardinal fans in Atlanta. Maybe this year the playoff games would even sell out!!!

JeanE

August 19th, 2009
9:15 am

Truer words were never spoken, Jeff! I have lost all respect for Mr. Brett Favre. What a liar. And a selfish ba—–, too! 1st of all, if you insist on “coming back”, at least have the you know what’s to go through training camp like everyone else, you lazy jerk. Whatever. It will all unravel into the inevitable train wreck. He deserves it & so do the Vikings for putting up with his B.S. Tavaris Jackson will have the last laugh. As for Smoltzie, I truly wish him Good luck. He’s united with DeRo, one of my favorite players. I think he would be most effective as a reliever but we’ll see. He is no way like that idiot Favre. Good luck to you Smoltzie!

Barney Frank

August 19th, 2009
9:22 am

I always have thought Smoltz was a class act. However, over the last few years his HUGE EGO has almost become too much to bear. No wonder his wife finally kicked him to the curb. I guess there was not room for her, the kids, Smoltz, and his ego in the same house. Give it up Smoltz….you have more money than you could ever spend. Why don’t you and your ego take a nice cruise together and fade into the sunset. Enough is enough.

Arkansas Transplant

August 19th, 2009
9:22 am

Jeff, let me ask you something? Do you not think had the Braves even just broached the notion about bringing Smoltz back may have helped heal some of the discontent maybe on both sides? I think it would have shown an acknowlegdement that they still believe in him, and I think that would have done wonders. And since we’re on the subject of pitching, I spent the 3 weeks leading up to the trade deadline hitting every known Braves blog hoping someone in management would listen about trading Lowe. I was hoping when the Angels were aggressively looking for a starter the Braves would look at the possiblity of moving Lowe for Brandon Wood and Will Smith (A Ball). That move alone would have moved a significant portion of money off the payroll while also bringing in a very good back up for Chipper which would be nice right now to allow him time to re-coop. Will Smith would have given us a good lefty prospect in the minors plus he’s a GA native. What do you think?

Coach Cool

August 19th, 2009
9:24 am

I wonder if Mark Bradley shares your sentiments on this one…

Me thinks NOT.

Both of these jokers need to ‘pack’ it in…

Thanks for your support.

Laura

August 19th, 2009
9:26 am

@Schultz Thanks for the link! It seems that they’ve changed their tune pretty quickly. I’m guessing Boggs’ less than stellar start last night helped push that along.

Hopefully Wells will figure stuff out (or Duncan will for him) so we can move Smoltz to set-up, since Dennys Reyes is trying too hard to live up to his nickname of “Grand Slam” – in the not good way.

Hey, for $100,000, we couldn’t've gotten a better pitcher.

PMC

August 19th, 2009
9:27 am

I’m not sure it has as much to do with Farve as it has to do with the unbelievably desperate and pathetic Coach Brad Childress. If anyone needs to be fired for lack of leadership it’s that loser.

Kind of cool for John Smoltz. He always has managed to come back from injury and he’s never said. I’m retiring.

Farve has simply acted like a vindictive woman in all this to get his way. That’s why people are annoyed. He want’s attention and he wants to get his way. The sad thing about Farve is that he WAS an elite QB for a while with a propensity to throw ugly interceptions. Generally when Hall of Famers age, they get better and even though thier skills diminish they don’t lose games for thier team. He sulked and wanted to go to the Vikings because they gave him the best chance to win a Superbowl. Not to get revenge against the Packers. Farve is just totally and completely self centered. He only got mad at Ted Thompson because Thompson wouldn’t just release him to go play in the division which would have been a stupid move on Thompson’s part. Farve is playing now because there are only a week or two left of camp and he HATES practice, meetings and the business of football with a passion and that’s evident on the field. He just want’s to win and he will. They’ll be 13-3 they’ll go to the playoffs and just like his end with the Packers when they had a team that could have made the superbowl… it will be Farve… that fails. He will YET AGAIN make the stupid decision that ends thier season.

Hall of Fame talent and ability, Hall of Fame toughness, desire and longevity. 10 cent head. That’s the way he’s been all his life.

I hope Smoltz is awesome for St Louis.

Ken

August 19th, 2009
9:30 am

I will repeat my sentiment that major arm surgery often results in a full year of return before a pitcher is effective again. That’s 2010 for Smoltz. The drive is there, you go for it. If Smoltz doesn’t feel it next spring, he should walk. I continue to think he’s a prime candidate for 2010 Comeback Player of the Year award.

Ed-Covington

August 19th, 2009
9:44 am

Jeff, I’m sure that your take on Smoltz will be a little different from Mark Bradley’s. You claim “he never damaged the Braves franchise…” when he left; but I seem to remember some snide comments he made deriding the Braves.
And for all of you spelling fanatics: in an age where we use “U R” to say “you are”, I think a few typos and errata can be tolerated. No one should have to proof read their blog for spelling errors, only for content.

Jay "Numbnuts" Bookwoman

August 19th, 2009
9:49 am

Ken, the dude is old.

Like many of the other posters, I did like Favre at Green Bay. The last few years, though, have been sickening. I’ve decided that I don’t care for him anymore and wish he’d just retire. He’s not the only one in this mess – if the teams hadn’t provided an interest, he would be sitting back at home in his grungy cloth recliner eating jambalaya and watching old reruns of his Wrangler commercials.

What's Important

August 19th, 2009
9:52 am

Jeff, disagree with you about Smoltz. The fact that he did not pass up a chance to slam the Braves organization after he left certainly did not help the reputation of the franchise. His continual comments about how he was “done wrong” had the same whining quality as Favre. Don’t really see a nickel’s worth of difference between the two, other than you obviously know Smoltz on a more personal level then you do Favre.

dap01

August 19th, 2009
9:52 am

I am tired of both of them. They are both self centered.

The Blause

August 19th, 2009
9:58 am

Go get ‘em Smoltzie!

CJ DAWG

August 19th, 2009
10:09 am

Favre can contribute you numbskull and bring a championship to Milwaukee. Smoltz is done and he left Atlanta raging againsnt the team that supported him for two decades and then did it again with the release of another one named Glavine, who had defected to the Mets for more money. Favre is still a quality football player, but ignorant writers as yourself just want to jump on the negative bandwgon and at the same time excuse a man that turned his back on his original team. Makes sense….to you.

Otto

August 19th, 2009
10:10 am

Isn’t ego a part of being a pitcher or QB? I don’t really see it as a bad thing. They think they can win even if they can’t. I don’t keep up with MLB at so I don’t know about Schmoltz. Favre has had problems with GB management for a few years and I don’t blame him as the team does not seem to work toward keeping the talent to win it all. He had GB in position to win the NFC and was looking good in NY early in the season. I hope Favre and Peterson beat GB every time they play.

CJ DAWG

August 19th, 2009
10:11 am

And to all of you favre haters, it’s just like he said yesterday….don’t watch him. Plain and simple. But I will bet that you will have your butts glued to the seat every time they play Green Bay AT LEAST. But…don’t watch because it offends you.

BravoFan82

August 19th, 2009
10:13 am

I lost a lot of respect for Smoltz as a team player when he begged to get out of the closing role. Consistency at the end of the game has been the downfall of the club the past few years and I attribute it to not having a dominant closer. When Smoltz was the closer, the team had to get 6 innings of starting pitching, rely on a couple middle relievers and then have Smoltz close it out. He was the best in the majors and the Braves were consistently winning series, which was the key to winning the division. People moaned when he got back into the starting role because the bullpen would blow his starts…fact was the bullpen blew everyone’s starts. Smoltz was looking out for himself when he went back to being a starter and his ability to do well has declined (see Boston). If he had stayed in the closing role in ATL, he’d still be a Brave, he would have staggering stats as one of the best closers ever to play the game and the Braves would have been back to the playoffs recently. I think he’s a good player and hope he makes it, but he’s not the same Smoltz that I grew up watching and admiring. The methods for Smoltz and Farve may be different, but the motivation is the same…right now it is all about them and their fantasy that they can still produce like they did when they were team-players.

JABGRANDMA

August 19th, 2009
10:15 am

Enter your comments here

Crowler

August 19th, 2009
10:16 am

The ONLY reason in my mind why SMOLTZ deserves to succeed is because I believe, in my estimation, that SMOLTZ is the second greatest athlete in the history of sports behind only Babe Ruth. Thats the only reason why I want him to succed. I want Smoltz to pitch until hes in his 50s like Gaylord Perry and finish with 300 wins PLUS 150 saves, which I believe are the only numbers that will get Smoltz into the hall of fame. In terms of skill and athleticm, Smoltz is second only to Ruth.

garcia

August 19th, 2009
10:17 am

I wish Mr Smoltz luck. Why not? But, to say that he “deserves to succeed” is ridiculous. That statement should be reserved for the very few hard luck stories in life.

The Lemmer

August 19th, 2009
10:32 am

Bville Baron is right regarding Smoltz. We shouldn’t begrudge him even though he’s thrown a low blow or two at the Bravos since last Winter. I, for one, don’t want to see him fail, but at the same time, if he pitches well it could affect the Braves’ chance at the wildcard. Regardless of how much I appreciate what he’s done in the past for us, he’s now on an opposing team, and I’m loyal to the team, not him.

As far as Favre goes Jeff, don’t you think it’s a bit much to wish him to fail? The Vikes are a better team today than they were last week, and from everything I hear from the “experts”, they are now the favorite in the NFC. Who cares that he didn’t want to go to camp? Ask yourself, “Tavaris Jackson, Sage Rosenfels, or Brett Favre?” Not that hard….

Chuck

August 19th, 2009
10:32 am

Please stop shedding the crocodile tears for organizations like the Packers. They had the opportunity to let Favre come back and play for them, but decided to push him out the door. Anything that happens after that is fair game, and I’ve got 2 new teams to pull for this year: The Vikings and the Eagles.

John

August 19th, 2009
10:34 am

I hate Smoltz and I hate the Red Sox, so I just wish he could have stayed with them longer and lost more game for them.

Dog Days

August 19th, 2009
10:36 am

Giddy Cards’ fans:

Smoltz’ just had a stint in the majors where he was so completely ineffective, the Red Sox decided to burn their money rather than have him start another game.

Now the Cards fans crow about what a steal they just got.

You got a hall of famer a year into his retirement. Neither Smoltz’ reputation nor his career post season record will win games for you. Ability wins games. Ask the Sox if he has any ability left.

Be careful how many games you waste allowing Smoltz another opportunity to deny the inevitable. He may wind up costing you a playoff spot.

Bushwacker

August 19th, 2009
10:40 am

Brett Favre must be on drugs!!

Can you believe these idiots on espn now picking Minnesota as the favorite in the NFC!

Did they not watch his pitiful performance last year?

They won’t make the playoffs, this gut is a joke and so are the espn experts are now are falling all over him again.

Bravesgal

August 19th, 2009
10:40 am

Good grief, Jeff – ANOTHER Smoltz blog. Obsessed much?