Tom Glavine speaks and does himself a disservice

“The last thing I want to do was come in here and sound like a bitter athlete,” Tom Glavine said on 790 The Zone this morning.

Call that a swing and a miss.

My favorite Brave ever went on the radio (link requires registration) and did himself a massive disservice. He sounded like a bitter athlete. He called the Braves liars. He called them cheap. He said he’d been “misled and mistreated to a certain extent.”

And also this: “It could have been handled a whole lot better … This organization sometimes boxes itself in. They don’t ever take into account [that some] guys deserve to be treated a little bit differently.”

Tom Glavine was treated differently. He was handed a million dollars coming off shoulder surgery at the ancient age of 43. No other team would have given him a job — or a dime — without first seeing if he could pitch. The Braves gave him a million dollars. Then they took a long look and decided he couldn’t.

And now he’s mad. He’s mad because he had to drive (his estimation) “an hour and a half” to pitch in Rome on Tuesday. He’s mad because he worked hard to get into shape only to be told he wasn’t good enough to make the Braves’ 25-man roster. Had he been told, Glavine said, he was going to have to audition for a place on the team, he wouldn’t have signed the contract.

Did the Braves mishandle Tom Glavine's release?

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So there it is: If he was going to try and make a comeback, Tom Glavine wanted a guaranteed roster spot. At age 43. After arm surgery.

Folks, this is not college. Athletes — even great athletes, which Glavine indisputably is — don’t get tenure. There comes a time when every athlete must realize he’s no longer the guy he was at 25 or 35 and step aside. And too many of them simply don’t grasp that. Too many of them walk away blaming somebody else for the inexorable march of time.

Glavine said on 790 he probably wouldn’t show up at Turner Field to honor Greg Maddux in July. Because he’s mad. But you know what else made him mad? That the lying, penny-pinching Braves didn’t offer him a job as a pitching consultant or something. Glavine is so mad he wants to have it both ways — or, more precisely, all his way.

But he’ll get over it. Guys invariably do. He’ll step back and realize he’s no longer a big-league pitcher, and the Braves will call and say, “We’re putting up a statue of you — will you come for the unveiling?” and he’ll say, “Yeah, sure.” And he’ll show up and smile and forget he ever called the Braves liars and cheapskates and he’ll join the broadcast team and forget how mad he felt in June 2009.

Rip-A-Hall-Of-Famer Friday: In case you missed it, here’s what I thought of John Smoltz’s criticism of the Braves for releasing Glavine.

545 comments Add your comment

Tale of Woe

June 5th, 2009
10:27 am

Glavine forgets that he jilted the Braves 5 years ago for more money. Smoltz and Glavine need to remember that the Braves did just as much for them as they did for the organization.

MB, you are on a roll…..

Chris

June 5th, 2009
10:29 am

And you forget that he changed his mind and tried to undo it. The only reason Glavine pitched for the Mets for those years was because the Braves were being petty. Just like today, and just like these last two columns and their responses.

BTW, how have the Orioles faired since Wren’s one year in charge? Welcome to that scenario, folks.

griftdrift

June 5th, 2009
10:29 am

Mark, the problem here is he did everything they asked him to do and when it was time for the Braves to live up to their end of the deal they didn’t. I’d be mad too. And it just makes me sad that the era is ending in bitterness everywhere. Back in 91, I told a friend that we really needed to savor this feeling because it would never be this good again. I always knew we’d reach the last chapter of the book, but I really hoped it would end better.

Tale of Woe

June 5th, 2009
10:35 am

I dont think the Braves were being petty 5 years ago. Because of Glavine’s position in the players union he needed to go where he was going to get the most money. Now he wants favors from the Braves. I just think he is wrong on this one.

Scott Womack

June 5th, 2009
10:37 am

Bradley you’re a #@$%#$%#$ idiot! Wake up and show some class! Business decision or not, it was handled with piss poor decency and class! That is the only point that Glavine is trying to make here. Any other town in America would be a little more respectful of the athlete that provided the city’s ONLY world championship in any sport! That’s not how you treat people! And Atlanta has botched the situation twice now with him!

Rex

June 5th, 2009
10:40 am

GOOD RIDDANCE !!! Tom “The fans don’t pay my salary” Glavine is bitter….Who cares…How bout the cancellation of the World Series you orchestrated in 94 Tommy Boy ? I am bitter..I went to 14 games that year…drove way over an hour & a half doing so. Bought overpriced beer & food and then had those games rendered usesless. And I was’nt making millions to drive tot he stadium like you, & I worked 5 days a week, not every 5th day. Cry me a river Glavine…my only regret is that your left arm did’nt peter aout BEFORE you won 300. You will be the LEAST DESERVING HOF player in MLB history. Good Riddance !
Rex

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
10:40 am

I absolutely concur, Tale of Woe. I thought the Braves were in the wrong in 2002 because John Schuerholz went out of his way to make Glavine mad. (And succeeded.) But I think the Braves were absolutely justified this time. They’re trying to win games.

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
10:42 am

I’m sorry, Grift. You’ll have to help me. What part of the contractual agreement with Glavine did the Braves not fulfill?

AdirondackDave

June 5th, 2009
10:42 am

Mark — You nailed it perfectly. Thanks.

MightyQuinn

June 5th, 2009
10:43 am

Got really mixed feelings about this one. I really wish all the ATL sports franchises respected legends more, i.e., Aaron, Niekro, Wilkins, et al, but it is still a business, and the Braves made a business move. Who was going to help the Braves more? Where is the future? The future is Hanson and he was going to waste time at Gwinnett for Glavine to victory lap around The Ted? On the other hand, I don’t think this year is the year for the Braves anyway unless they pull a Fred McGriff level trade soon, and I don’t think the Pirates deal was it. So if we’re looking at ‘10 as our year with Hudson back at full strength with Lowe and the others, would it been too terrible to give Glavine, who won the biggest game in Atlanta Braves history, his due? I’m glad I didn’t have to make that call.

David..(Athens, AL)

June 5th, 2009
10:43 am

in this day and age … Glavine is very blessed. Be thankful and go out do “more” for others … and just maybe I would feel sorry for him. It is amazing all the individuals that have lost jobs, pensions, had to take pay cuts, etc. …. those are the individuals I have compassion for … not for Glavine … be thankful Tom!!

Mine This Bird

June 5th, 2009
10:43 am

Glavine whines that this was all done for money and not about the fact that his fastball was in the upper 70s.

You know what else was about money? When he left for the New York Mess. Oh, and don’t forget 1994.

Glavine is a scumbag. I’m glad that we’ve had someone like Maddux step out with the upmost class. I can’t wait to be there when we honor him next month.

Chris

June 5th, 2009
10:44 am

That’s not the point and you know it. You used to be able to take people in this organization at their word. No more.

Let’s hope Peter Angelos becomes even more senile and hires Wren back.

Obama hates Cheney's bald head the most

June 5th, 2009
10:47 am

You are a loser MB and just trying to stir the pot with your crap $$$ articles about these 2 great pitchers. Whose your favorite pitcher now? Kawawhatever?

SHOW SOME CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!

Are your wittle feelings going to be hurt if the AJC fires you!!!!

TAW

June 5th, 2009
10:47 am

Handled poorly, and indeed the sad end to an era. It would have been nice to see Tommy have a few good outings and retire gracefully. With that said, Tommy should also realize that this is best for the team. They have young talent that is ready. Last year was a wreck because the Braves relied too much on aging pitchers that mostly broke down. Maybe Tommy could have been kept as insurance should another starter get injured, but we need to remember that Hudson hopefully will return at the end of the summer, so it would be only temporary in any case.

Clint Ellison

June 5th, 2009
10:48 am

Thanks for the truth, Mark. It needed to be said. Glavine has been a shadow of his former self for several years and is now obviously not major league material. Why can’t these athletes thank God for the talent He allowed them to use for the great careers they had? Why not graciously admit it is time to move on? Why not show some class? With all the economic misery in our country today, it is hard to feel anything but contempt for rich athletes who are wallowing in their wounded pride.

Rex Robinson

June 5th, 2009
10:48 am

Sometimes it’s not what you do, but how you do it. Professional teams screw this process up way too often. You would think PR people actually got paid for PR.

raindawg722

June 5th, 2009
10:49 am

Mark, I listed to almost the entire interview and I don’t think that on the whole Glavine sounded petty. It’s easy to pick one or two quotes from an interview that lasted more than an hour and make it appear that way in print. I noticed that you didn’t put the word “liars” in quotes. Sure, that was implied when he said he was misled by the Braves, but that’s a lot more subtle and appropriate to say than outright calling the Braves liars.

Besides, the reason given by Wren for Glavine’s release, that his velocity was down and the committee deciding that he didn’t have good enough stuff to get major league hitters out, is complete nonsense. If the decision to let Glavine go was made to put what the Braves think is a better team on the field (as Glavine said he thought it was so they could free up salary for the McLouth trade) then, for everything that Glavine did for this franchise, the Braves should have been up front about it.

NYCBrave

June 5th, 2009
10:50 am

Totally agree Mark. The Atlanta Braves Baseball Club is not a charity. It is also not a PR firm. It is a professional organization whose stated mission is to win games. The moves by Wren (who, by the way, is not without Schuerholz’s guidance in all of these decisions) were made with this in mind. Sorry … there’s no crying in baseball. Get over it folks. We’re a better team today than we were a week ago. If you can’t see that, then your emotions are getting the best of you. Thank goodness the front office doesn’t suffer from the same affliction.

John OTC

June 5th, 2009
10:51 am

I do wish the Braves would have offered him a job as a “pitching consultant or something”. This dude knows how to pitch, how to win and go out there every fifth day even if you don’t have your best stuff. He brings that to offer even if he isn’t our choice for the MLB roster anymore.

Jeff

June 5th, 2009
10:52 am

Glavine is a whiner and always has been. It has been paid countless millions over the years from the Braves payroll (and Mets too) to play a stupid game for a few months each year. As another poster noted, he bolted from the Braves and Atlanta a few years ago to go to the Mets because Atlanta didn’t pay him enough millions for his 1 or 2 appearances each week. Are you kidding me? Blah, blah, blah! I had the unfortunate task of laying off four of my employees yesterday due to corporate pressures to cut costs, and my employees got a few weeks of pay for their years of service (DAILY service EVERY MONTH of the year I might add…not just 1 or 2 appearances a week for a few months). Glavine lives in a totally different world than the rest of us. He will get no sympathy from this boy. I, for one, am gald Crybaby Glavine is gone!

Eddie

June 5th, 2009
10:52 am

MLB is a business. Both owners and players are making huge bucks. Dropping him was a business decision just as Glavine leaving for the Mets a few years ago was a business(money) decision. So quit whining Tom and enjoy your money that you made. The loyality that the Braves showed you equals what you showed them when you went on strike and left for the Mets!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dap01

June 5th, 2009
10:52 am

He got $1,000,000 for rehabbing. Shut up Glavine and Smoltz. We loved you but neither of you would be better than our number six starter. And number 6 starters in this league do not make millions!

Tomas

June 5th, 2009
10:53 am

Nice Mark. Let’s just say this, the Braves made the right choice, but didn’t handled it very well.

I agree with the people that say Glavine can no longer be able to perform at a high level. An 80mph fastball isn’t exactly eye popping. Not that he can’t be succesful with an 80mph(look at Moyer), but Glavine used to throw 86-90mph with perfect control on the outside corner(and I mean an inch of the plate, which he doesn’t get the call anymore).

Look at John Smoltz. He says the Braves made an awful offer, and that the way they bussines is pathetic. It turned out to be the right call, he’s been a paid 5 million, it’s half way through the season and he hasn’t thrown a single pitch.

He can say all he wants about the way Braves do bussines, but it’s the right call.

St. Simons Island Dawg

June 5th, 2009
10:53 am

How many of you fans upset over his release have thought of this…The Braves paid him 1,000,000 dollars for 5 months work when no other team would touch him because of the surgery. 200,000 dollars a month to rehab his shoulder is more than fair.

Realworld

June 5th, 2009
10:54 am

Hey Tom, welcome to the real world, people are being released daily from jobs they have worked at for a lot longer than you have been in baseball, that is the nature of the game. Get in the soup line with the rest of us…..

24dork

June 5th, 2009
10:54 am

You stink Bradley

Najeh Davenpoop

June 5th, 2009
10:55 am

Suck it, Glav.

NYCBrave

June 5th, 2009
10:55 am

One more thought. The suggestion that the Braves should have paid Glavine a million bucks to pitch one more start and retire gracefully is unpersuasive to me. Come on, folks. Really? Funny how enraged people get at Wall Street bonuses and corporate excess, but then they fail to give another organization credit for making a wise business decision. Leaving the performance issues aside, let’s assume it was a business decision. What is wrong with that? Another start by Glavine isn’t worth $1M. Heck, we gave him $1M already for two months of rehab work. Take the check, say thanks, and move on.

When will Glavine and Smoltz...

June 5th, 2009
10:56 am

…learn that they are over the hill and that is the reason the Braves (and Mets, for Glavine) do not want them? Smoltz got Boston to go out on a limb for him when the Braves offered him a good option, and how has that worked out for Boston? Smoltz has not thrown a pitch this year.

Both of them received gazillions of dollars from the Braves and/or Mets; and when it is time for them to step aside, what do they do but whine about being “shoved aside”. If they had showed a little class then we would not be having “this” discussion. But, both will be back to have their jersey’s retired. I will not be there to watch, however.

allenman

June 5th, 2009
10:57 am

Woe is exactly right. This is the same jerk who threw the Braves in the trash when, after telling everyone that it wasn’t about the money–it really was. he sold the team that helped him build his career out for, in the big picture, a nickel. That very episode was the last straw for me and baseball. The circle is finally round for a change, and what goes around comes around. Godd riddance. Glad it’s over.

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
10:57 am

Of the Braves’ claim that the decision wasn’t financially driven, Glavine said: “Not true. It’s totally financially driven.”

Ron Roberts

June 5th, 2009
10:58 am

He got a million just to TRY and make the team, folks….that’s money he GOT, no MLB pitch-thrown. Yeah, he’s right in that it might’ve been handled better, but the Braves didn’t “owe” him a roster spot, contractually, and he HAD to have known, in the back of his mind, at least, that with Lowe, Jurjjens, Kawakami, Vasquez, Medlen and Hanson either doing well or waiting in the wings, and with a younger Tim Hudson also on the mend and due back by August/September – he HAD to know he was an odd-man out.

I ask Tom Glavine this… if you were the pitching coach or manager for these Atlanta Braves, would he have put a 43-year old fresh-off-of-surgery guy back in the rotation if you knew it would mean keeping Tommy Hanson in the minors while your team were in a pennant race? Knowing that EVERY game will matter, would you take that chance, coach Glavine?

Might not have been handled in a piece of public relations beauty, but ALL the moves the Braves made Wednesday made them a better team, and its unfortunate that releasing Glavine was one of those sound moves; but that’s the case.

Paul H

June 5th, 2009
10:58 am

I still say he should’ve gotten at least a chance. He’s owed that much. The guy wants to pitch. He wants to pitch for the Braves. Yes, he’s made millions, bla bla bla. But he worked his butt off for months to get back in shape to pitch for this team and then at the moment he became ready, he was shown the door before getting that debut. For someone who has meant so much to this organization, I still say he deserved better.

JGray

June 5th, 2009
10:58 am

Anyone who has been laid off understands the general principal around Glavine’s anger right now although most folks won’t have the $40 million dollar contract to soften the blow to their ego.

As pointed out by many others here, Glavine has a different track record with the Braves than someone like John Smoltz or Maddux. He was a visible point of contact for the strike and left for the Mets! Those are two strikes on our ability to love a player who brought success to the team.

I loved watching the guys of the 90’s play like everyone else who is a fan but I’m not interested in watching them until they are 90! It is a tough position to have to generate a youth movement when the icons do not realize that their time has passed in the spotlight.

Da Real Real

June 5th, 2009
10:58 am

All the greats eventually get released and its happened in every major sport that i can think of – let’s see Jerry Rice was basically told to retire or leave by the 49ers. Dominique got the boot when he was the Hawk team himself. Heck, recently, the Green Bay Packers told Favre to retire or leave and he ended up playing with the Jets and to this day he’s still whining like a ________.

While I think the Braves handled this poorly this eventually happen to the “legends”. They have to be sent away or they will hold the organization hostage. I can’t blame the Braves because they have appeared to be ready to move on for a while now but have been afraid to pull the trigger. All of sudden this team has grown a pair of balls and making moves. I still think a few more moves are up the organization sleeve that I’d like to see them pull off (another trade maybe).

I wouldn’t be shocked if at the end of the year more moves, like this glavine gate move, is made at the end of the year if this team is not competing for the wild card or division.

John

June 5th, 2009
10:59 am

Everything ends badly…otherwise, it wouldnt end.

This is a sad week for Braves baseball……but baseball is a business. Glavine was an employee of a business and that business just didn’t need him anymore.

Was it handled the best way possible? Of course not…..but what is ever handled the best in baseball??

In a few months when Tommy Hanson is dominating hitters we will all forget this happened.

JFKDawg

June 5th, 2009
10:59 am

They (Braves brass) gave him an out and offered to allow him to retire and he declined. His ego got in the way of that. How about Smoltz and Glavine STFU and file a union grievance in MA where it will play better. You guys were made multi-millionaires by this organization and all you can do now is cry little school girls.

Tomas

June 5th, 2009
11:00 am

It’s a shame both Smoltz, and Glavine dispise the Braves right now. It’s like they don’t want to accept they are old, and way past their prime. I hope Chipper doesn’t feel biitter when they decide not to offer him a contract.

SorryTom

June 5th, 2009
11:00 am

Unfortunately, Glavine has followed the footsteps of many great athletes: trying to play past his time. Aaron and Mays did it as well. After he broke the HR record, Aaron faced a pretty steep decline, but kept playing – mostly mediocre. Same with Mays. Fame and ego drive most athletes more than money. Tommy didn’t need the cash; he needed to be needed. MB, you’re right – there’s not much of a market for over 40 pitchers. The Big Unit and Jamie Moyer will probably hang it up after this year because they’ve either reached a milestone or have become ineffective. If they continue on, fans will be calling for their heads. If Tommy came back and stunk up the Ted in 3-4 outings with a 6.50 ERA and more walks than SO, there would be a different tone to these posts. The Braves have to start winning games and taking the chance that Glav could give them 1 good start out of 5 is crazy. As much as I loved the 90s, it’s almost a decade removed and we haven’t done much since…let’s turn our eyes to the future!

Mark Bradley

June 5th, 2009
11:01 am

And let me be clear about something: I have never held Glavine’s union activity against him. On the contrary, I applauded him for speaking on behalf on his MLB brethren when it was unpopular to do so. And I chastized those who booed him when he returned to Atlanta as a New Yorker in 2003. I like and respect Tom Glavine and have for 20 years. He is, I say again, my all-time favorite Brave.

That said, this is baseball. Nobody gets a lifetime contract. And I remember what Joe DiMaggio said when asked why he was retiring: “Because I can’t be Joe DiMaggio every day.”

Van the Man

June 5th, 2009
11:01 am

There is an enjoyment in watching great players play. I enjoyed watching Murphy, Horner & Neikro even though the teams were bad. Neikro was not done when the Braves indicated he should retire. He won a lot more games in NYC. We suffered though watching Jo-Jo this year & last. I for one would much rather see Glavine pitch than Jo-Jo.

The Real Fan

June 5th, 2009
11:02 am

Man you are nothing but a shill!

ernesto

June 5th, 2009
11:02 am

it seems to me like the Braves already took a chance on Smoltz and Glavine – last year. Tommy made a lot of money sitting on the DL, as did Smoltz. And he got a mil this year just to rehab – Tom has always had trouble realizng the difference between a real labor grievance and “the business of baseball”

Steve

June 5th, 2009
11:02 am

Spot on, MB. Another thing, I see that (predictably) Smoltz still hasn’t learned that the best way to keep his mouth from overloading his brain is to keep shut the mouth. Probably will not ever happen in his case.

Both these guys were great and we all enjoyed watching them but the time has come to move on.

N8

June 5th, 2009
11:02 am

Mark, I have to commend you on your willingness to stand up and call it like you see it. It would be easy for you to take the high road and do what seemingly everybody else around the country is doing, and jump on the “The Braves dissed Tom Glavine” bandwagon.

While I suppose this could have been handled a bit better. They could have NOT sent him to Rome (though I suppose they were hoping their scouts were wrong), but in the end, they made the right call.

All spring, I was pissed that they didn’t just bring Hanson up right away. But upon having a better understanding of the “super 2″ rule, I commend Wren for basically giving us one more “year” of Hanson at the end of his arbitration years.

I believe this was the plan all along. Which was to have Glavine “help” until they were able to get Hanson past the Super 2 status, then assess from there. If Glavine was producing, then reassess. If not, release him and call up Tommy.

Only problem was that Glavine wasn’t ready to “help” until Hanson was ready. Now Hanson’s ready, and Glavine (with the roster bonus money) was going to have to REALLY be able to produce to outpitch the younger, cheaper, more dynamic (at this point of their careers), Tommy Hanson.

Odd man out, is how I see it. It’s too bad. But I agree with many bloggers who have stated that Tommy can’t cry “business” in 2002, and now cry “loyalty”.

Which is it Tommy? (9 million dollars for 2 wins the past two seasons wasn’t enough for you?)

Chris

June 5th, 2009
11:03 am

Terry’s quote: ‘We’re kinda in the position where every win counts.’ (Perhaps paraphrased)

Yup. Sure was nice when the clubhouse was completely deflated before the 3-2 loss in extras. (Fact, not theory) I’m sure that didn’t have any effect on how we played.

Floyd

June 5th, 2009
11:03 am

Ironic….the player most apt to remind fans throughout his career that “baseball is a business” (most notably during the ‘94 strike and after his departure to Atlanta’s rival in 2002) is now the one complaining most loudly about baseball being a business.

Tomas

June 5th, 2009
11:05 am

It may have been financially motivated, but it was also in the best interest of the team. Having the best team on the field with Nate Mclouth and Tommy Hanson instead of 43 year old Tom Glavine.

It’s both financially motivated, and performance related.

tale of woe

June 5th, 2009
11:05 am

I am actually glad the braves made the tough decision to let Glavine go. If they thought he couldn’t pitch in the majors then why give him one start? It is there job to pick the best players and they didn’t think he was one of 25. It is tough to let an icon go and it is never clean. Kudos to the Braves for making a decision and going with it. I will miss him and I was looking forward to Glavine pitching last year. Times change. This isn’t 1995 or even 2005 anymore. We need to move forward as a team….