A change-up: How does Congressman John Smoltz sound?

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher John Smoltz reacts after throwing his 3,000th career strikeout in 2008. AJC file.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher John Smoltz reacts after throwing his 3,000th career strikeout in 2008. AJC file.

Within minutes of U.S. Rep. John Linder’s announcement that he won’t seek a 10th term in Congress, the phone began vibrating.

Late this afternoon, a Washington source called with this surprise: One of the people likely to approached as a candidate for Linder’s seat by Republicans will be former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz.

Smoltz has been paying down some dues in several Republican contests in Georgia over the last two years. He’s been part of a fund-raiser for U.S. Rep. Tom Price of Roswell, and if memory serves, he cut a robo-call for U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss in ‘08.

Linder’s retirement has caught many Republicans off-guard. Who replaces him could be settled in a quickly approaching July primary – the district is trending Democrat, but not that fast. Advantage could go to someone who could put up his own cash, especially in this economy.

Two GOP names certain to be considering a congressional race are state Sens. Don Balfour of Snellville and David Shafer of Duluth. But both are tied up in a desperate session of the Legislature. Both would be free to raise money for a federal contest, but time becomes a big issue.

Smoltz’ advantage in name recognition would be inestimable. And right now, he’s a bit footloose. He hasn’t yet signed a contract for the season. This was written by my AJC colleague Jeff Schultz earlier this month:

Spring training opens next week and John Smoltz doesn’t have a job. This might unnerve most 42-year-old pitchers who don’t want to hear from baseball people or medical people or certainly Joe-in-section-312-with-nacho-sauce-on-his-chin people that his career might be over. But the waiting doesn’t bother Smoltz.

“I’ve been doing what I’ve always done this time of year — throwing every other day and getting ready for the season, ” he said by phone this week while driving to his workout. “I’m at a good place with everything that has gone on in my life. I’m just going to let this play out.”

He is not retiring. Nor has he decided for certain that he will hold off signing with a team until midseason — as Pedro Martinez did with Philadelphia last July — but acknowledges that is a possibility.

“A lot of people are speculating right now, ” he said. “But I can assure you it hasn’t come from anything that I’ve said.”

It’s possible that playoffs for Smoltz could come a little earlier this year.

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212 comments Add your comment

Not This Kind of Change

February 27th, 2010
6:22 pm

He may be a good candidate. I’d fear his divorce records becoming public though since he is not running against Obama the Messiah the chances may be low. Also there is that whole stint with the Red Sox that left a bad taste in the mouth of Braves fans with annoying Red Sox fair weather fans for neighbors :)

Limbaugh Needs to Exercise

February 27th, 2010
6:29 pm

No thanks–the state does not need yet another religious zealot.

TnGelding

February 27th, 2010
6:42 pm

He’d be as good as any. But look for a strong Dem candidate to emerge.

Right-Handed, Right-Winged

February 27th, 2010
6:43 pm

After Smoltz comes back to pitch 2-3 more years for the Braves, this sounds like a GREAT idea!

ATHtoATL

February 27th, 2010
6:43 pm

No… I don’t want to have to dislike John Smoltz.

Smoltz for Congress? — Peach Pundit

February 27th, 2010
6:45 pm

[...] name to consider, according Jim Galloway, is John Smoltz: Late this afternoon, a Washington source called with this surprise: One of the people likely to [...]

Chiparm

February 27th, 2010
6:49 pm

I love the use of the term “Obama the Messiah.” It’s typical trash from sheep and lemmings who accept as fact whatever “truth” their radio heroes present. You show disrespect to the President, yet bow down to Rush, Sean, Michael, and Glen (those whom conservayives call by their first name, as if they are friends).

BABY SAY

February 27th, 2010
6:51 pm

HHEE BEE DA WON!!!>> JONNY SUMTSLZ EYP HEE BEE DA WON. EN 91 BEET AS S TROS AN PUTT BRAVCS TO TY FIR FIRS. YEP JOHNBNNY BEE DA WONN BABY SAY LENDDER DO GUD JOB AN HE KAN RUN FIR GUV BABY SAY HE BEE DA WON FIR GUV!!!>>

SMULTS KAN WEN 2 BABY SAY WHUT BABY SAY IT GO@@!!!!

BIOMASS

February 27th, 2010
6:52 pm

Megadittos on the zealot comment.

"The Road to the Right"

February 27th, 2010
6:53 pm

Intriguing idea…knows how to deal with the biased media. His faith is an admirable quality absent in liberals. I always wonder how they wake up each day with no faith…Go Smoltzie! I’ll do a Draft Smoltzie for Congress facebook page….if it isn’t already done.

Farsider

February 27th, 2010
6:54 pm

I welcome Smoltz into the race. Might be one of the few scenarios that could provide a Democratic upset.

Moderate with Open Mind

February 27th, 2010
6:55 pm

As long as Mr. Smoltz doesn’t vote to give EVEN MORE free, taxpayer-earned money to the worthless FreakNik supporters and V-103 booty shakers who contribute nothing (of value) to society helps put more of them in prison, I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

yo

February 27th, 2010
6:58 pm

no way he’d screw us like he screwed the braves

M

February 27th, 2010
6:58 pm

You wonder how they wake up each day with no faith? Try it sometime…it’s a beautiful thing. It’s amazing how much sense life makes when you do it.

Skin And Bones

February 27th, 2010
7:03 pm

I second M’s comment. You just get up and do good works and don’t worry about getting into heaven. And you don’t go around hating everyone who’s different than you.

TPM

February 27th, 2010
7:03 pm

Yes- John Smoltz is repected because he can throw a fastball and he has done admirable things for the food bank. However there is a lot more there than meets the eye. He has bought and closed restaurants and left people without jobs. He has made disparaging remarks about the gay community. His temper on the golf course is also legendery.

Chiparm

February 27th, 2010
7:04 pm

I am a Democrat who loves Jesus. Guess what conservatives, you don’t really have a lock on faith. God and Jesus love me as much as they love you.

Pompano

February 27th, 2010
7:04 pm

The Guy is a jerk and a headcase. During his campaign, would he have to have his shrink sitting in the audience in a pink shirt?

Just what we need – another prima donna with no connection to the real world.

Ga Voter

February 27th, 2010
7:05 pm

Where do I send my $2,000 check? A great choice

Audrey in Georgia

February 27th, 2010
7:07 pm

NO republicans!!!

the guy whose home addition shaded John Smoltz's pool

February 27th, 2010
7:08 pm

Jeff Foxworthy

February 27th, 2010
7:09 pm

Can’t let him go to Washington. The church school ain’t done yet!

.

February 27th, 2010
7:10 pm

Chiparm you’re the DA..

John would do just fine and better than most.

1st Mrs. John Smoltz

February 27th, 2010
7:10 pm

Good riddance

The General

February 27th, 2010
7:10 pm

I can’t understand why some people insist that if one has no belief in a god that one can never be a moral, good, and worthwhile person. And any comments about ‘moral code’ coming from a god…you’re wrong, you just won’t acknowledge it.

Terry Pendleton

February 27th, 2010
7:10 pm

Another foul

Tom Glavine

February 27th, 2010
7:12 pm

foncused

February 27th, 2010
7:13 pm

As an openly gay republican sports fan who is religious, and yes, I am single thanks for pointing that out, I think this is a terrible idea. What we need less of in Congress are individuals who base their decisions on religion and more on what is practical and pragmatic.

John, for all the great years he gave Atlanta, has been known to where his religion on his sleeve. I don’t preach, I try not to judge, and I certainly don’t condemn those who choose not to be religious or choose a different religion than myself. So Mr. Smoltz, if you want to run for Congress, please run to represent all of us . . . and not just those with whom your faith agrees.

barf

February 27th, 2010
7:13 pm

Ever notice how the metro gay/atheist movement jumps in these blogs at every chance they get to try and throw mud at anyone remotely religious? Disgusting! Then again, I can see what there motive is. Its always to promote there agenda.

Braves fan

February 27th, 2010
7:14 pm

Remember in the early days when Smoltzie’s shrink was in the stands to help his composure?

foncused

February 27th, 2010
7:14 pm

where should have been wear . . sorry about that.

Danson

February 27th, 2010
7:16 pm

Smoltz was so overpaid in baseball, how will he take such a big pay cut? Well, okay, it won’t be that much of a cut.

LibertyMediocrity

February 27th, 2010
7:17 pm

Yeah, all of John’s experience and education in foreign affairs and domestic policy should also be a plus. For goodness sake, the guy is a pitcher. We already have that idiot Bunning in the Senate as an embarrassment to the GOP. I want to vote for the Republican candidate, but candidates who are “cute but stupid” like Sarah Palin or have a good slider and bad facial hair are NOT what the party needs.

Danson

February 27th, 2010
7:17 pm

“…another prima donna with no connection to the real world.”

That’s an excellent point. Smoltz has never lived in the real world where bills pile up and you have to decide which ones to pay.

cjrad

February 27th, 2010
7:18 pm

BIOMASS ( I assume LIBERAL Massachusetts?) and S&D:

you sound pretty hateful and hypocritical.

TheTruthHurts

February 27th, 2010
7:25 pm

Actually Chiparm…
Obama makes himself look like an unqualified “Town Organizer” all by himself. He needs no help from “Radio people”! If Obama was a white guy he would have never been elected. His resume is the most suspect of any President in History. Our country wanted to have a black President so bad they rushed a guy in who was popular and gives a hell of a speech but lacked experience in leading people. Whatever color or gender our next President is, let’s hope he has better credentials. Of course anything would be an improvement over the lowest approval rating of any President in his first term in History.
P.S. In case you haven’t heard or seen the polls WE DON’T WANT GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTHCARE OR MORE TAXES!!!

Tom

February 27th, 2010
7:25 pm

I’ve never known Smoltz to be very politically involved. However, obviously a post game interview isn’t going to consist of questions about our national debt. But an athelete could inject themselves into politics if they wanted to.

He’s got enough $$$ to run, that’s for sure. It would be more interesting on capital hill. Especially if more congressional panels scrutinizing steroids in baseball.

Tom

February 27th, 2010
7:27 pm

Don Balfour should run (and win) Linder’s seat. Then Smoltz could take Balfour’s seat on the state level. Smoltz is too inexperienced for Congress.

cjrad

February 27th, 2010
7:28 pm

these AJC blogs are proof to me that there ARE truly computers in the county jails…

DirtyDawg

February 27th, 2010
7:33 pm

I knew there was a reason why I despised this guy. The whole time I just thought it was because he was a narcissistic, wife-dumpin’, greedy baseball player and charlatan that happened to have a great right arm, when, in fact, it was that he was just another Republican…that explains it all. Plus it fits right in with his buddy, and former BoSox pr**k, and perhaps the biggest jerk in MLB, Curt Shilling. Go ahead and run John, I’m looking forward to the world finding out that you may very well be an even bigger jerk that Curt – in fact that sounds like a campaign line for whoever your opponent would be – ‘A Bigger Jerk Than Curt’.

Of course, I know we’re talking about Gwinnett…and he is a fan of one of Georgia’s top candidates for ‘Embarrassingly Stupid Republican Congressman of the Year’ – Tom Price…so anything could happen, but clearly his, Smoltz’s, true colors will come forth, either in the primary or the General election.

By the way John, how’s that foundation of yours going. Guess if you decide to run for Congress, you’ll have to actually do some work on it – of course you can always convert it to a PAC.

Man, I really hate it when athletes go public with their politics…damn sure hope that young Mr. Heyward ain’t one of them repugs.

NORRIS

February 27th, 2010
7:35 pm

Smoltz would be great. He is a moral man with integrity.

tim

February 27th, 2010
7:38 pm

Let smoltz run so we can add another crybaby loser to out list of politicans.

Everyone remember this: Smoltz sued his neighbor because the neighbors house cast a shadow on his pool area. Boo Hoo.

Smoltz is currently being sued for 50k because he covered up defects in a home before he sold it.

Another low life loser!

Courtney

February 27th, 2010
7:40 pm

I love John Smoltz. Sounds great.

tim

February 27th, 2010
7:40 pm

Norris……Smoltz has NO integrity!

Tim

February 27th, 2010
7:42 pm

Funny, silly thoughts coming out of the mouths of “religious” people, like you’ve got the only line to God..Just take a breath, walk around your double wide, empty the spittoon and git back to watchin’ American Idol…

stands for decibels

February 27th, 2010
7:44 pm

“What’s next? Marrying an animal?”

–John Smoltz

JoeDawg

February 27th, 2010
7:45 pm

Smoltz has been pretty good about keeping a certain public image, in spite of his real personality. Anyone remember Bradley’s Blog about the “Real” John Smoltz? http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2009/06/05/john-smoltz-gets-his-wittle-feelings-hurt-imagine-that/

Alabama Communist

February 27th, 2010
7:45 pm

In amazing display of 4 Balls, Smoltz said he would pitch for the Durham Bulls part time and work 1 day out of the month in Washington….When press for a reason why only 1 day of the month for Congressional Work. He said ” WTF! Those lazy Umpires have never called a game right in DC! Besides I am working on a Tea Bag slider that circles around the Batter that nails Communists in the rear and promotes Jesus as the Iron Duke of Baseball and politics…”

Courtney

February 27th, 2010
7:46 pm

Linder was NEVER a Gwinnettian any way. Glad he is gone and Balfour hates the teachers. He will never win. I would vote Democrat over that bozo.

Mike30326

February 27th, 2010
7:47 pm

Sorry to hear that. I like John as a pitcher, but not as a politician. If only people would know where there lot in life was…ala Schwartneggar. Hopefully he is smarter.