Smoltz won’t start against the Braves, and I am … not sad

I’ve been steeling myself since January. John Smoltz would make his triumphant return to the big leagues at Turner Field against the Braves in June and I’d be there to cover it and he, being John Smoltz, would throw a no-hitter and force me to write something nice about him and in the process grind my teeth to nubs. I’d even embarked on a course of meditation and aromatherapy to help me prepare for the moment.

And now comes word from Boston: No Smoltzie in the A-T-L.

And I say, “Whew.”

I’d borne my burden in silence for a dozen years, but two weeks ago I was moved to confess: I don’t much like Smoltz, and he really doesn’t like me. When duty called, I put aside my feelings and afforded him his due — I was there in 2007 the night he beat Greg Maddux and the Padres and there again 15 days later when he beat Tom Glavine and the Mets for his 200th victory — but those came when he was pitching for the Atlanta Braves. And I do cover sports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

But now he’s with the Red Sox, and the thought of him returning to town and beating the Braves and then sneering at me afterward was, shall we say, not my idea of a night at the opera. Or a day at the races. Or any other Marx Bros. movie you care to name.

So now, barring a rainout or a dastardly bait-and-switch by Boston manager Terry Francona, I’m off the hook. I can stop breathing deeply and lighting scented candles. Turner Field just became a Smoltz-free zone.

86 comments Add your comment

Gman

June 16th, 2009
7:35 pm

Smoltz is an ass

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
7:36 pm

Gee, GMan. And he always spoke so highly of you.

mista ashraf

June 16th, 2009
7:40 pm

Interesting perspective, Mark. I’ve never heard anything bad about the guy but there’s always two sides to everyone…

GoldenDawg

June 16th, 2009
7:45 pm

Since you are unburdening yourself re Smoltz, who else in the present or past Atlanta sports scene do dislike? Surely Smoltz is not in a league of his own.

I still enjoy the irony of the self-described turned-on Christian suing his neighbor-whose garage cast shadows on Smoltz pool.

hmmm

June 16th, 2009
7:48 pm

Who cares whether you like him or not? Your job isn’t to like or dislike anyone – it is to cover sports. Jesus get over yourself.

Diane Smoltz

June 16th, 2009
7:53 pm

Trust me, John is no prince. Can’t elaborate as my silence regarding his misdeeds has been bought and paid for.

BehindEnemyLines

June 16th, 2009
7:56 pm

I’m relieved about it myself actually but mostly because there’s at least some theoretical chance that the Braves might win against him.

EditorGreg

June 16th, 2009
8:01 pm

Interesting comments. Care to get specific as to why you don’t like him? I ask because I’ve seen my attitude toward Smoltz go from strong admiration to something like annoyance over the past few years.

farmer

June 16th, 2009
8:06 pm

actually, I would kinda like him to pitch so we could put it to him and shut his mouth. I used to be his biggest fan, but now he is dead to me as a person and a ballplayer.

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
8:07 pm

Here you go, Greg. It’s linked above, and now it’s linked here.

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
8:12 pm

Guys I once liked but came to dislike: Deion Sanders, Dan Henning.

Guy with whom I’ve kind of reconciled: Mike Fratello.

Guys I never liked one bit: Jerry Glanville, Kenny Lofton.

Guys I tried to like but failed: Jim Mora, Danny Manning, Lonnie Smith.

Sonny Clusters

June 16th, 2009
8:15 pm

Mark, do you like Jeff Francoeur? Me and him played some ball together in high school.

TB

June 16th, 2009
8:19 pm

Being a Red Sox fan I’d be pulling for the Red Sox except when Smoltz would be pitching, once he’s out of the game I’ll pull for the Red Sox. I’m still predicting he is forced to retire before the end of the season, as he should have already done. The team needs a pitcher who can pitch for their team to win, not because their ego says pitch until you can’t. I thought he wanted to go out on a high note, he’s had the chance to do so but, continues to keep going out there as long as someone will pay him.

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
8:24 pm

I like Jeff Francoeur a lot.

Eagle83

June 16th, 2009
8:33 pm

Maybe you should start hating on Jeff and he will start hitting.

Shane

June 16th, 2009
8:41 pm

Great article Mark. Right on the button again. The folks who wear their Smoltz underoos to bed will never get it but just because you are a great pitcher doesnt make you a great guy. Smoltz is proof of that.

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
8:43 pm

Good thinking, Eagle. Wish I’d thought of it myself.

And thanks, Shane. And I should stipulate that a lot of other people in my profession really like John Smoltz. I’m the oddball. (Insert punch line here.)

GoldenDawg

June 16th, 2009
8:45 pm

Your list is quite interesting. It’s notable that of the 4 coaches mentioned, 3 are x-Falcons. OK, how about some others-scale of 1 to 10-or ranked 1-10:

Stan Kasten
Hubie Brown
Nique
Pascual Perez
Eddie Haas
Moses Malone
Bob Horner
Hank Aaron
Dave Justice
Isaiah Rider

ronald

June 16th, 2009
8:46 pm

who cares he’s like any former brave who’s made millions and now choses to bash the team for not resigning the ungrateful tommy g. who abandoned the team over a small difference in salary the mets offered.tommy g as well as smoltz need to learn this is business and not a charity organization.

Jt

June 16th, 2009
8:49 pm

I loved Smoltz (when he wore a Braves uniform). But he has a HUGE ego (some would say you have to in order to be a professional baseball player) and he needs to be stroked. The Red Sox stroked his ego and gave him a contract they could afford. The Braves could not afford to either wait for him to become healthy and could not go into this season with the uncertainty of his health. He took the money and ran. And then has spoken badly of the organization that paid him a lot of money over a lot of years. He could have taken a higher road. I am weary of hearing how certain athletes have “done a lot for an organization”. Bullsh#*! The player and the organization have had a business relationship in which both have mutually benefited.

Bat Masterson

June 16th, 2009
9:00 pm

I can tell you Stan Kasten is a world class pr$ck, an arrogant a$$.

Barks Madley

June 16th, 2009
9:02 pm

New category for you MB.

Guys I disliked, but have grown to like. I just officially added you to that particular category list of mine.

Now. Enough “guys I like” talk. It’s starting to get weird in here.

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
9:03 pm

I’m not going to give away every secret here, but I will say that Dominique Wilkins and David Justice were among my favorites, and I always enjoyed being around Moses Malone. And Stan Kasten had — and has — considerable entertainment value. And I once got Hank Aaron’s autograph at old Crosley Field and remain grateful to this day.

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
9:03 pm

Thanks, Barks. I’m indebted.

JD

June 16th, 2009
9:06 pm

I gotta say, I’m glad to see this, Mark. I missed your previous Smoltz column (just read it), but for the most part, I haven’t seen or heard any major Atlanta sportswriter be too critical of Smoltz. When he was in Atlanta, I thought he was a good guy and great player. But his image has really taken a trip down the crapshoot. He’s acting childish and arrogant. He’s acting like a complete baby and taking any jab at the Braves that he can. They’ve wronged the mighty Smoltz. I mean, why would a team trying to improve NOT want offer a couple 40 year olds coming of arm surgeries millions of dollars?

Look at Trevor Hoffman – he was dumped by the Padres and chose to take out an ad in the newspaper thanking the Padres and the fans for all the great years. Although I suppose Smoltz is still making the AJC…

keep up the great work, Mark. Your several blogs a day are very entertaining and very much appreciated (they help time to pass at work too, but don’t tell my boss)

Bravedawg

June 16th, 2009
9:06 pm

It’s funny how everyone forgets a few years back, when Smoltz compared homosexuality to bestiality. Stupidity aside, he’s got wayyyy too many sour grapes for me to give a crap. The guy needs to just let it go.

GoldenDawg

June 16th, 2009
9:11 pm

That’s how he appears Bat – beyond arrogant. Without the 3 pitchers (aforementioned Smoltz included) he isn’t likely as savvy as he appears. Loved the Hawks of the late 80’s early 90’s but the Babcock years were beyond brutal. His stewardship of the Nats hasn’t exactly been the stuff of legends either (the Expos were arguably the best organization in baseball-churning out future star after future star). Give the guy credit for riding a hot streak and parlaying it into progressively better gigs.

It’s always good to hear from those that see these guys when they aren’t “on” for public consumption.

Bry22

June 16th, 2009
9:13 pm

SCREW SMOLTS. HE NEEDS TO SHUT HIS IGNORANT MOUTH!

Mark Bradley

June 16th, 2009
9:13 pm

You’re welcome, JD. And mum’s the word, as they say.

tip

June 16th, 2009
9:24 pm

Very interesting. I always liked his warrior attitude when it came to pitching but he really showed his true colors by leaving the Braves and continually ripping them since leaving. Probably a jerk all along. He will never get the love or be on the same status level that Dale Murphy receives from Braves faithfull.

Beautiful Monte

June 16th, 2009
9:26 pm

So, Bradley doesn’t like Smoltz, but he has “great affection” for the piece of human garbage that calls itself Michael Vick.

If I were a cynic, I’d think that Mr. Bradley is trying to ingratiate himself with Atlanta’s prevailing demographic. Either that, or Bradley really is the sports department’s version of Jay Bookman. I’m not sure which is worse.

At any rate, somewhere, Terence Moore is smiling. (He’s also re-counting the number of black players on the Braves’ roster).

LSU

June 16th, 2009
9:34 pm

Good read MB…I’m giving you an attaboy for this blog (which means absolutely nothing coming from me, because I’m a nobody)…..Smoltz did some amazingly great things as a Brave pitcher, very sorry to hear that he’s an in real life Richard.

hmmm

June 16th, 2009
9:40 pm

do you like puppies, small children, or bright sunny days ….? Irrelevant blather as usual ….. Do you get paid or are you a British Airways employee?

Gman

June 16th, 2009
9:48 pm

Monte-

10.2% of MLB players are African-American. You should be more circumspect before making your insinuations. Not exactly a big Atlanta conspiracy.

My Bad Wrist

June 16th, 2009
9:49 pm

Interesting that someone mentioned Bob Horner above. Not a name you hear often, even though he did get some love for keeping Chump Summers from pounding Magellan Perez into a chunky pulp. I remember being late for work the night Murph was traded. Horner kvetched a little on either side of his Japanese vacation, but not much from he or Murphy since, and they probably had as much reason to carp as Smoltz thinks he does.

BDubs

June 16th, 2009
10:02 pm

Mark –
On the “tried to like but failed”… Do you mean Jim Mora, Jr. or Sr.???

I am tempted to assume Jr., but everyone knows what happens when you “assume” something…

Ken

June 16th, 2009
10:11 pm

John Smoltz could save orphans from a burning building and you’d still be pulling your best Max Mercy impression in trying to paint him as the consummate creep.

Shame such a talented sportswriter like you has to resort to badmouthing a future HOFer who has done so much for this community, just to get readers.

I thought you were better than that.

Rasheed Willis

June 16th, 2009
10:17 pm

Yo Beautifoo Monte…Don’t be dissprespecting Vick. I’ts nice to see a White Atlanta sportswriter takin Vicks side. I guess all honkeys aint same afterall. Keep up good writin Bradley cause we in Bankhead love you. No what Im sayin. OBAMA is my black presdent!!

William

June 16th, 2009
10:23 pm

Ken…do you love everyone? Why should Mr. Bradley have to love Smoltz? I bet you hate someone who a lot of people love. Some people hated Ghandi too. LOL Please get over your dismay with Mr. Bradley and show him some love. :)

La Jolla Dawg

June 16th, 2009
10:37 pm

Lonnie Smith? Really?

Melissa

June 16th, 2009
10:40 pm

Wow, I’ve gotta say, it sounds like there are 2 parties being stubborn and holding grudges here. And maybe one party got jealous that the other party sounded his opinion first. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong; I just think it’s interesting that baseball players aren’t allowed to be emotional about the game they love.

dobearsbare

June 16th, 2009
10:41 pm

Let’s face it, Mark, you’re an easy target. If he’s willing to call out the best GM in the game, why should a sports columnist be any different?

Here’s another thought: Smoltz is a Michigan State fan, which carries with it a built-in inferiority complex. Which carries with it sometimes childish behavior. I believe the guy has his heart in the right place — there are too many stories of good works for this not to be true — but Smoltz’ ego is second only to Curt Schilling’s. Maybe that’s what has made him great.

Mike

June 16th, 2009
10:45 pm

Gotta like Lonnie for his personality ’cause it’s sure not for his base running!

jermaine's dye

June 16th, 2009
10:50 pm

I know we only knew each other briefly, but did you like me?

brewdawg

June 16th, 2009
10:50 pm

John Smoltz attended the same church as my late grandmother in Marietta, and she always spoke highly of him. Her word is more than enough for me.

I was flummoxed at Bradley’s dismissal of Smoltz’s departure, but his aforementioned article cleared it up for me. Sometimes two people just don’t like eachother.

Rasheed Willis

June 16th, 2009
10:59 pm

My Old Granny Willis’s cousin used to do work for Smolts family. She said he was a nice white man.

OBAMA is my black presidents!!

Ramdawg

June 16th, 2009
11:05 pm

Ok, now I can say it I met Smoltz at a Lunch and baseball signing at Stats sportsbar Downtown. He was one cocky S.O.B. but I gues you have to be to be a MLB pitcher.But I have also met Maddox on several occassions and he was cool and as nice as could be, he and Justice will always be my favorite Braves.

Ramdawg

June 16th, 2009
11:12 pm

Met Smoltz and he was a cocky SOB, Met Maddox he was cool as could be. The Braves are run by o “corporation” now no one should be surprised by the business way they let their stars and legends go, it ha never been the same since Ted stopped owning the team.

glorydays

June 16th, 2009
11:16 pm

Mark, who would you say has the bigger ego, you or Smoltzie?

Sonny Clusters

June 16th, 2009
11:22 pm

I think the best biscuits are at the Waffle House. Wait, wrong blog.