John Smoltz gets his wittle feelings hurt. Imagine that.

We all but had a stopwatch on it in the press box Wednesday night. How long would it take for John Smoltz to rip the Braves for releasing Tom Glavine? If you had four hours, you won the pool.

After reading Smoltz’s latest rant, I thought, “Par for the course.” (Par. Course. Golf. Smoltz. Funny, huh?) Because that’s what John Smoltz does: He takes every slight, real or imagined, and personalizes it and stews over it and nurtures his resentment. I know.

It was 1997, the year after Smoltz won his Cy Young award, and he was pitching badly by his lofty standards. I wrote as much. The next day he stomped through the clubhouse and glowered but didn’t say a word to me. Because part of being John Smoltz is to smolder from afar.

I told one of the Braves’ announcers — I won’t say who — that Mr. Smoltz appeared to be displeased with my printed appraisal. And the announcer said, “The truth hurts.”

Not long afterward, Smoltz worked a good game — even I would never suggest he’s anything less than a Hall of Fame pitcher — and was surrounded by the usual media throng. Casting his glance across the clubhouse, he saw yours truly interviewing someone else. And he told the throng, “There’s Mark Bradley. If he comes over here I’ll have to stop talking to all of you. Because that guy dogged me out.”

(Dogged? Hmm. In his early days with the Braves, Smoltz’s nickname was Marmaduke. I have no idea if this is apropos of anything.)

Naturally, my colleagues were happy to inform me of Smoltz’s anti-MB stance, and I, not wanting to deprive my brother and sister journalists of the torrent of insight that is Smoltz, simply stopped going near him. And you know who found it all hilarious? Glavine, who dubbed me, “Smoltzie’s favorite journalist.” (Have I mentioned that Glavine is my all-time favorite Brave?)

Never mind that I’d written 10 gushing Smoltz columns over the previous decade. Those were eradicated by my one egregious sin. Since he didn’t want to talk with me, I mostly stopped writing about him. When he did something great, I’d say he did something great — fair’s fair — but I kept my distance.

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We wouldn’t even say hello when we passed in the hall. (I know, saying hello is a two-way street. But I can be stubborn, too.) I did break my moratorium to shake his hand and say, “Congratulations,” after he won his 200th game. And he did say, “Thanks.” And that, to this day, is the extent of our contact over the past dozen years.

Having been on the end of a Smoltz grudge, I wasn’t surprised by the vitriol he hurled at Frank Wren after negotiations with the Braves broke down. (I’d have been surprised if he’d done anything else.) And for Smoltz to pile on regarding Glavine is simply another chapter in a lengthening tome.

Because that’s John Smoltz, who has apparently convinced himself the team that employed him for two decades, the team that essentially let him decide whether he wanted to start games or close them, was out to get him — and his little pal Tom, too. You might think he has point. I think he’s just being petty.

But I’ve got a history with Marmaduke. I’m the guy who dogged him out back in 1997. And oops, I did it again.

Rip-A-Hall-Of-Famer Friday: In case you missed it, here’s what I thought of Tom Glavine’s appearance on 790 the Zone this morning.

337 comments Add your comment

NCBravesFan

June 5th, 2009
7:20 am

I propose a celebrity death match for charity – Smoltz vs. Bradley. I’ll take the plucky fellow from Kentucky. (Plucky. Kentucky. There’s a nickname in there somewhere – don’t know if it fits on a shirt though.)
Oh, and nice column – spot on!

Mr. Smoltz

June 5th, 2009
7:22 am

Bradley you are an “ASS”!

some sense

June 5th, 2009
7:37 am

The Braves are not running the baseball equivalent of a Section 8 program. Call it what you want, financial or performance motivated, but they’ve paid Smoltz and Glavine plenty over the years, provided them both with a big stage and a more than competitive environment. FW said the biggest problems he ever has are w/ ageing stars. Smoltz and Glavine both diminish their luster by carrying on the way they are.

TampaGator

June 5th, 2009
7:37 am

Why would you write such trive about a future Hall of Fame pitcher, and one of the greatest players to ever put on a Braves uniform? This is no-class journalism, Bradley. I hope this does not hurt your “wittle” feelings.

Turk 182

June 5th, 2009
7:37 am

Awesome read. Bottom line with Smoltz and Glavine is that we could not afford to pay millions for double digit innings pitched. He wanted how much from us to pitch? And he hasn’t even thrown a pitch this year? That right there is comedy. Once his strong point, Smoltz is now blind to reality by his competitiveness. HOF pitcher but would make a terrible GM.

Where have you gone jim Bob Cooter ?

June 5th, 2009
7:41 am

So now the score is even , right Mark ? Smoltzie got his licks in and ,man among men that you are , you’re getting yours. From a nice safe distance from Boston . You have never spent a day in JS shoes ,have never thrown an inning. He has earned the right to voice his opinion. He has paid his dues in the show (especially here in the Big A). This piece comes across as petty and small (even by your standards). He must not have kissed up to you enough while with the Braves and this is your chance to knife him from the tall grass.I guess that sportswriters have such a high opinion of themselves that they feel really threatened by an articulate,accomplished player that doesn’t need their fawning adoration.

Your hit piece didn’t accomplish what you wanted. John Smoltz still stands tall in my book. And you look a lot smaller.

Biff Pocoroba

June 5th, 2009
7:48 am

Thank you MB for saying what needs to be said. Smoltz needs to grow up and stop whining already. He left the Braves, and Glavine – what gives him the right to bash OUR team – jerk. I think you are right on MB.

John OTC

June 5th, 2009
7:48 am

MB. I like you better now. Smoltz wears his heart on his sleeve and sometimes that results in his foot being in his mouth. Those emotions are used to benefit his pitching, but should be left on the field.

Jurrjens4NLCY

June 5th, 2009
7:50 am

Mr. Bradley, I know theres a lot of people on here who do not like the AJC for many different reasons, mainly because of that one guy who is not DOB. I am not one of those people. But I sure do hope the you are not a paid journalist for the printed paper of AJC, because your last posts (with TP & Smoltz) are not paper material. I have a problem with journalist who print their opinions (Even though I agree with you about TP and even more so about Smoltz, he need to just STFU). That kind of writting is “blog” material, and I know that those both are. Anyways great reads!

John OTC

June 5th, 2009
7:50 am

apropos? Again? Didn’t you use that in your last article? Still a fan, but I’m a little apropo’d out.

Bailer

June 5th, 2009
7:51 am

its very simple the two of them are not interested in the braves but adding to their records. the most playoff wins, and victory number 305.

Kevin

June 5th, 2009
7:54 am

hey mark write this smoltz n glavine and maddox at HOF in cooperstown n u not invited and ban when they get the award did that hurt u feelings good…cause u miss there wearin of different caps also as they wear a detroit tiger n redsox cap a Nymets cap n cubs hat…that for u oh enjoy fact that when u start on bobby cox rants n beatin his wife alot n start askin why he chokes worldseries games n wildcards game then we love u…Other wise bobby cox n TP need to be fired…if are Now President former GM can’t then we in the sewer now

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
7:55 am

Thanks, folks.

And Jurrjens, opinions are what they pay me — I know, it’s a miracle — to offer. In fact, in the printed AJC it says right above my wittle — sorry, little — picture, “My Opinion.”

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
8:00 am

I did use “apropos” the other day. But I think it was in a comment. So that doesn’t count against my “apropos” quota.

zorba

June 5th, 2009
8:03 am

Well done, Mark. Smoltz and Glavine see loyalty only as they describe it. Glavine, go back to New York where you favored money over family. Smoltz, you have a history of being a cry baby. Ask his neighbors

dap01

June 5th, 2009
8:06 am

Smoltz is a baby! A premadona (sp!). Glavine decision was difficult. I love Glavine. But the decision was correct. Smoltz is so out of touch. He was offended that we did not want to pay him $8 million to not pitch this year out of RESPECT? I am tired of John Schilling Smoltz!

Go Bradley.

MattyB

June 5th, 2009
8:07 am

For a normally good, entertaining, and insightful journalist, this was a pathetic column. Immature at best, making you no better than your subject, I fail to see the point other than a long-delayed counter jab. I also believe that Smoltz may have jumped the gun based on emotion and a lack of facts, but you as a journalist should be familiar with this problem, and thus be more readily able to forgive than most of us. For a truly level-headed opinion and some thoughtful insight, I suggest you read your esteemed colleague’s (DOB) column on Glavine-Gate.

Then again, you have put out like 872 columns this week. So maybe you’re just delirious?

the truth...

June 5th, 2009
8:10 am

John can’t have it both ways. He has become a wealty man playing a kids game in a business endeavor. Despite the love affair Atlanta Braves fans have had with John, he showed his accepance of the fact that baseball is a BUSINESS when he bailed out on ATLANTA FANS.

John and Tommy both are “VICTIMS” ???????? Give it a break boys…you guys have most likely made close to 100 MILLION DOLLARS playing a GAME…

Grow up….you have been blessed and should get on your knees every day and give thanks for such a blessing in this life.

Lose your house John? How about you Tommy?….lose your retirement boys?

Sorry fellas you just can’t have it both ways…

Jurrjens4NLCY

June 5th, 2009
8:12 am

Mark, Well if its in the instance where its the opinion portion, that’s fine, but if it were to be reported as actual “news”, that is absolutely ridiculous. I know (not personally) a few people who have tried to pull that off at The Chicago Sun Times (which is an awful paper if you ask me) which resulted in firing.

matt_T

June 5th, 2009
8:14 am

Well put Mark. I love Smoltz, but he needs to shut up. The Braves didn’t force him to stay for less money when he was a free agent.

Also, he and Glavine need to realize what Wren finally did, the mid 90s ended a very long time ago.

The Real Fan

June 5th, 2009
8:14 am

Mark,
While it is true you are paid for your opinions one would hope that there would be some degree of maturity instead of infantile diatribe. If you have a bias (and obviously you do) say so up front instead of making it seem your “opinions” are evenhanded. They have not been in the present discourse.
Again stop being a shill for the Braves and service the readers.
Please!

ndadome

June 5th, 2009
8:15 am

Mr. Bradley, you were already my favorite sports journalist, but now you’ve elevated your game. Thank you for saying what needs to be said concerning John Schmoeltz, er Smoltz. I, for one, would be pleased if I never heard what any professional athlete had to say about anything. I honestly don’t give a rat’s petoot what they think, especiallly a guy who had to be able to see his phsychologist in the stands in order to play baseball. All this crap about Smoltz taking less money to stay in Atlanta, blah, blah, blah. . .how about the years he called in sick and still made millions? I’m sick of him, and his type. A major league baseball team made a sound baseball decision that also saved millions of dollars. Just because a guy is good at playing a game doesn’t mean he’s smart. .Smoltz proves that.

wawel78

June 5th, 2009
8:15 am

Great article! I love both of these guys for the history they’ve created here but at the end of the day, I’m a braves fan. Both Smoltz and Glavine left Atlanta at one point for more money so give me a break about loyalty.

And while I’m at it, great job Frank Wren. The guy’s had two very tough decisions to make this year, including the off-season, and he handled them both very well. Playoffs or not, I’m excited about watching this team make a run.

Apropocious!

Jurrjens4NLCY

June 5th, 2009
8:16 am

Also Mark if you really dislike Smoltz, stop writing about him, I’m sick of having to read about Smoltz on the AJC -> Atlanta Braves site when I gaze thorugh the headlines. If a Smoltzee complains in the woods and no one is there to report it, does it happen??

AJC

June 5th, 2009
8:16 am

Good read, MB

Thanks for calling Smoltz out for being the big whiney baby that he is. It’s nice to see someone in your position, not be a butt-kisser to head cases like Smoltz.

Note: MB, were you just a little bit embarrassed, when John OTC nailed you on “apropos”? LOL

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
8:19 am

The truth? I was thrilled that anybody would pay such close attention.

But I have just declared a moratorium on “apropos.” It won’t last as long as my talking-to-John-Smoltz moratorium, but it’s in place as of this moment.

ND

June 5th, 2009
8:21 am

Once Somltz says more than “no comment” on Glavine he is fair game for Bradley and any other person that wants to write about him.

TommyP

June 5th, 2009
8:22 am

Another great article.

I’m a Smoltz fan and a Bradley fan. And there’s nothing wrong with what you wrote. I, personally, wouldn’t have kept my distance from the guy over these years. It’s your job to cover and write your opinion. Let him have the problem, which apparently he still has.

The Real Fan

June 5th, 2009
8:30 am

No I see why Bush carried Georgia

David

June 5th, 2009
8:31 am

Mark, this is a little below you for journalism. You could’ve taken the high road, you should have.

Smoltz was a great pitcher, so was Glavine. Both were let go under good decisions but both were decisions handled poorly.

Wren is making good baseball decisions but his PR training leaves something to be desired. And it affects ticket sales, believe me, Schuerholtz’s pompous comments a few years ago made me stop buying season tickes and I guarantee you some people will be turned off by Wren and feel they are being taken for granted by fans. He is immature when it comes to understanding fan bahavior that is certain. But in the end if they win, it will not make that much of a difference.

Ted Striker

June 5th, 2009
8:32 am

1) I like “Apropos.” Second cousin of Aphrodite, great-nephew of Zeus, right?

2) Good article. Can’t imagine someone like Hank Aaron, a classy guy and the anti-smoltz in terms of public relations skill, ever making comments like this.

The Real Gumby

June 5th, 2009
8:34 am

Use apropos all you want, Mark. I used to get apropos on hot days but I started using powder. Remember, these are baseball players. What they think and say is thrust upon us by the media. Had John Smoltz no forum, no one would know his thoughts- shallow as they are. Baseball players. That’s all. Such is the stuff of pretend heroes. Sports figures should not be our heroes – well, perhaps there can be an exception. For the most part, though, they come up short – as does the game that tolerates so many disruptions.

I note that Terry is being labeled a seed-spitter. It is true that he is always seen with seeds in his mouth. Does it make him less a coach? Sure seems like it to some. Contrast that with the resident nose-picker. Nose picking doesn’t make you look smart. Maybe you are smart, but you don’t look smart. I think Bobby manages by the book but can no longer read the book because he has smeared all the pages with nose matter. Nose matter is a nice way of saying boogers.

That’s how I think and that’s why I like your columns.

Willy Wally

June 5th, 2009
8:35 am

Can’t imagine someone like Hank Aaron, a classy guy and the anti-smoltz in terms of public relations skill, ever making comments like this. (TED STRIKER)

Really?!?!? How about when Hank Aaron does his annual call to Terrence Moore to whine about not getting enough credit from Bobby Cox for the drafting of Chipper?

Hoof Hearted

June 5th, 2009
8:39 am

I love Glavine and Smoltz, and it would be awesome to see them both starting for the Braves, winning 20+ games with ERAs around 2. It would also be awesome if I won Mega Millions, lose 25 pounds, and drive the golf ball 300+ yards overnight. Both scenarios are equally likely (or unlikely). Smoltz is paranoid–it’s not all about him. It’s about the team, particularly the young pitchers (like Smoltz and Glavine were 20 years ago) who need a chance to help this team win.

Willy Wally

June 5th, 2009
8:39 am

Great column, Mark. Really like the wittle word in the title. That really bewittles the overglorified, overdeified, overlionized one. And you just know Smoltz is sitting in a hotel room somewhere reading this online with steam coming out of his ears.

Daniel

June 5th, 2009
8:40 am

Mark!!!

I love it. John needs to be taken down a notch or two. Him and all of his acolytes seem to think that Smoltz IS the Braves, (oh, heck) ATLANTA for that matter. I am beyond sick of his schtick, and it is so nice for a columnist to write about it. John is a great pitcher, that is it. He is not a role model. The media in this town have kissed his and Tommy’s butt for so long that they seem to think that they should be carried around like a pharoh by the people, or they rip Atlanta for not being loyal. Get over yourself John. You are no longer the self-appointed voice of the Braves. You are just another pitcher in Boston, and nobody cares what you have to say.

old fart

June 5th, 2009
8:41 am

Good column, Mark. Two more days … it’ll all be over. Tom hasn’t blasted anyone … yet. I would be surprised if he did. He was always a class act

79

June 5th, 2009
8:44 am

Glavine and Smoltz? Yep, they were great Braves…..so were Spahn and Aaron and Rabbit Maranville? Who cares? None of them will be on the field tonight….

tale of woe

June 5th, 2009
8:45 am

Does anyone else think Smoltz will be pitching against the Braves in a couple of weeks? That should be interesting.

SimpleDawg

June 5th, 2009
8:46 am

Smoltzie needs to STFU ! He’s a Red Sucks player now….we don’t care what he thinks. He can go count his money and stop acting like we dissed him by not over paying him. I didn’t hear that he had returned any of the money he collected while not pitching.

As for Glavine, reality can suck sometimes….he didn’t have much velocity when he was in his prime. His fatball ( yea, I meant to put it that way ) couldn’t bruise a baby’s lip. A change up without a fastball is no deception. I saw one of Glavine’s recent outings….he looked old, out of shape, and ineffective. Sad to say, but he’s done….thanks for trying, but this dog can’t hunt any more.

wawel78

June 5th, 2009
8:48 am

I didn’t get the memo about not buying tickets. I want to see Hanson and McLouth on the field. I’m pretty sure I would rather watch those two than any of Tommy’s remaining games. Thanks for making the season more exciting Wren!

A Tribe Called Quest

June 5th, 2009
8:48 am

OMG YOU CAN’T DISS GLAVINE AND SMOLTZ!

They are still the two most amazing pitchers in the MLB! Look what they did 89 years ago when we beat the Indians in the world series! They are Braves for life! Wren is so dumb for letting them go! They are still the best pitchers around!!!!

Haha, you got this, MB. Glavine and Smoltz are old trash who will never be healthy and would just burn our payroll

Kitchen Sink

June 5th, 2009
8:52 am

It’s kinda funny that a couple of guys who have realized over 100 million dollars for playing baseball can get theri panties in a wad for how they are treated but then both of them have made decisions to go where more money is waiting. I thought when they went on strike they said they had to because it’s a business! Business works both ways fellas! It’s laughable that they get there feeling hurt because the Braves don’t kiss their asses the way they think they deserve. Grow up!

SAM

June 5th, 2009
8:53 am

John Smoltz knows what every other current and ex Brave knows – Nobody cares what Mark Bradley thinks.

Hank Aaron

June 5th, 2009
8:58 am

Smoltz and Glavine need to realize that loyalty goes both ways. The Braves made both of them very rich men, and both took off for more money late in their careers, when they really didn’t need the extra cash any more.

Ryan

June 5th, 2009
9:00 am

Perhaps John doesn’t like you Mr. Bradley because the majority of your articles are highly opioniated, and are backed up by little to no facts. Smoltz is arguably the greatest postseason pitcher of all time. 15 career wins in the postseason ties him with Andy Petite for number one. These are facts. Would they ever be in a Mark Bradley article discussing Mr. Smoltz? Doubtful.

R HAIRE

June 5th, 2009
9:00 am

WOW…AN AJC WRITER TELLING IT LIKE IT IS ABOUT JOHN SMOLTZ. I WAS A BIG FAN OF HIS OVER THE YEARS BUT HE BLEW OFF THE BRAVES BECUASE BECUASE THEY WOULD NOT GIVE HIM ENOUGH $$$$$$, AND BECAME A BIG CRYBABY AT THE SAME TIME
THE BRAVES HAD PAID HIM $130,000,000 OVER THE YEARS…HE SHOULD HAVE PITCHED FOR THE BRAVES FOR FREE.
AS FOR LITTLE TOMMY I GOT MY FILL OF HIM BADMOUTHING THE BRAVES FOR “MAKING” HIM SIGN WITH THE METS.
I WAS GLAD THEY WERE AND NOW I’M GLAD THEY’RE GONE

Willy Wally

June 5th, 2009
9:00 am

Also digging the frequency of your posts this week Mark. Not only writing alot, but you’re bringing it as well. Looks like you’re experiencing a rebirth. Good to see.

Blizzard

June 5th, 2009
9:05 am

Thanks Mark, I for one appreciate the insight. I used to be a huge Smoltz fan, only “real” Braves jersey I ever bought was a number 29. His act began to wear thin for me a few years ago. The grandstanding he has done this year about how the Braves mistreated him has been the final straw for me. If he had not been running his mouth and whining from afar I doubt you would have felt the need to expose your mutual past. I for one think it provides a great snapshot. While people like John Smoltz run around crying about how he and his buddies are underappreciated, I am trying to hang on to a job I need to pay next months mortgage.

The Murf

June 5th, 2009
9:07 am

Sorry Bradley, Smoltzie has meant more to this city than you have, I’m backing him…