February 6, 2003

A Brave Beginning

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I used to be a fan of Tom Glavine because he was who I believed every baseball player should strive to be like. He kept his personal life out of the news and had that elusive work ethic.

Going into the offseason, I knew the Braves were going to be stretched. With the contracts of Greg Maddux and Glavine, to name a few, coming to an end, there was no way Atlanta could have signed everyone. Especially in the age of payroll reduction.

But after John Smoltz took less money to stay on with the Braves last year, I figured Glavine would be willing to follow suit.

He’s old, he faltered disastrously in the postseason, and although he is still considered one of the best pitchers in the league, his ship is headed back to port.

Taking these factors into account, I wondered how he expected to get the monster contract he was seeking, which was pretty clear when the phrase “shopping around” came out of his mouth.

Either I was wrong about his longevity, or the Mets and Phillies were desperate for a pitching elixir.

Thus, the bidding war began between the three NL East rivals. As the stakes rose higher, I doubted the Braves’ ability to match or even come close to the multi-million dollar contracts offered by New York and Philadelphia.

They did. Not quite the three-year deal worth $35 million from the Mets, but pretty darn close. Three-year, $30 million with an option for a fourth-year close. And this developed from the Braves’ opening offer of a one-year, $9 million deal.

But, Glav-ine’s gut told him that New York was the best choice for his family.

Uh, yeah right. He had been with Atlanta since he was drafted in 1984. How is moving your family the best choice for your family when your other option would be to not move your family in the first place?


Well, so is his choice to move. Obviously, money is the main reason and perhaps Glavine was bothered by the Braves’ request to defer most of his payment.

But if you think about deferred payment for a second, you see that it can only benefit you and your team because it gives the front office more money to get better players immediately.

Maybe Glavine isn’t interested in winning the World Series. He did sign with the Mets despite having a virtually identical contract from the Braves sitting on his desk.

Now, instead of finishing out his career with a team and city that showers him with praise when he wins and forgiveness when he chokes, he will wither away in the bowels of Shea Stadium.

If the Hall comes a calling, I wonder which team he’ll put on his plaque?

Now that pitchers and catchers have reported, I’m sure he’s finally experiencing the weight of his decision. Maybe it’s not so bad right now since he has a dozen or so followers in his clubhouse seeking advice from the Cy Younger.

If he isn’t the million-dollar man that New York thought he was, he won’t be able to rest easy in a city that has no loyalty to its former enemy.

Perhaps then he will regret turning in his old #47 for the new orange version.

It will be strange not seeing Tommy in the dugout, but I don’t want someone who is willing to forego championships for money on my team anyway.

I guess he’s not the guy I thought he was.

Archived article by Katherine Granish