“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.
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.