If we weren’t talking about Tom Glavine, it wouldn’t be worth it.
He’s ancient. He’s hurting. Mostly, he’s not Tommy Hanson, the Braves’ 22-year-old pitching sensation who could bring his roaring fastballs in a flash from the Class AAA likes of Gwinnett Stadium to the big time at Turner Field.
So, if we weren’t talking about Tom Glavine, it’s like this: Out with the old, in with the new — like now.
It’s also like this: When you’re the Braves, and you’ve missed the playoffs for the past three seasons, sentimentality deserves a firm handshake along the way to the door and your version of a gold watch. That’s especially true if sentimentality has a strained 43-year-old rotator cuff after missing much of last season with a damaged elbow that needed surgery.
We are talking about Tom Glavine, though. As a result, those in charge of such things with the Braves should wait slightly longer than forever before saying so long to their future Hall of Fame pitcher and his increasingly creaky body.
Glavine deserves nothing less. In fact, he has spent more than two decades in the major leagues — mostly with the Braves — earning the right to leave the playing field whenever he chooses.
Under such a scenario, neither Braves officials nor the choppers and the chanters would fret. Glavine would choose the right thing. He is a splendid combination of wisdom and pride. For instance: After he discovered recently that this latest shoulder issues will require two weeks rest before the need of another evaluation, Glavine said, “Right now, for me, the glass is probably half-empty, simply because I’m frustrated and tired with this whole rehab thing. But at the same time, being as close as I am — or was — I’m not willing to just say, ‘OK, that’s it.’ I’m willing to put in a little bit more time.”
Sounds reasonable. We are talking about Tom Glavine, the guy who remained the classy face of the Braves from their wretched days in the1980s through their wonderful days in the 1990s.
He’s the guy who threw that shutout for eight innings to help secure the only world championship for an Atlanta professional sports franchise.
He’s the guy who stood up the most to the Evil Owners during the Mother of All Baseball Strikes in 1994.
He’s the guy who always has been involved in a slew of charities and operated as the perfect representative for baseball in general and Braves baseball in particular.
He’s the guy who should be allowed to exit the home clubhouse at Turner Field as a player without being shoved.