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Walk Off and Walk Away

I should always trust my first instinct.

When Tom Glavine signed with the Mets, my first instinct was that this was a bad move. I had some reasonable statistical evidence to back up this conclusion, as his performance at the end of his Braves career was not stellar. I also had a strong gut feeling that bringing someone from the Braves in as a mercenary, one clearly only here for the money, was a bad idea. In 2003, he went out and proved that I was right. His work during the Art Howe error (not era) was miserable.

I told this to anyone and everyone who asked, and throughout his Mets tenure, I've had very little positive to say about Tom Glavine. As Glavine's performances got better, I've been questioned about my comments, but I've always held steadfast to a strong dislike. I've just never really felt that he enjoyed his Metness.

I applauded out of respect when he took the mound for his first start at Shea Stadium after winning his 300th game. I don't dispute that Glavine was a Cooperstown-worthy pitcher and I'm grateful for the playoff games he won last season, but I just could never fully embrace him as a real Met.

On Saturday night and on through into an IM conversation I had with my dad about an hour before gametime Sunday, I decided that I was going to support Glavine to the fullest extent possible. I went as far as to utter the following statement.

"He is the right man to be pitching this game."

As it turned out, that was an accurate assessment. Because nothing represented the patheticity of the past few weeks than Tom Glavine's showing on Sunday. It was a complete meltdown. One person watching the game with me noticed after Hanley Ramirez's at-bat (one in which Glavine was gifted a second chance and pissed it away by walking Ramirez) that Glavine's "stuff" was non-existent. Lefty Williams pitched better in Game 8 of the 1919 World Series than Glavine did (baseball historians should appreciate that reference) and Williams was trying to lose on purpose. Trying to figure out which was worse- the throwing error or hitting Dontrelle Willis with the bases loaded- was like asking me which Met I liked better, Bobby Bonilla or Vince Coleman.

The beauty of this whole thing is that it's now in Tom Glavine's hands as to whether or not he wants to remain a Met, and he can really stick it to the team by accepting his player option for $13 million, thus hindering potential offseason maneuvers to find his replacement and better the team.

I had an interesting conversation with a former baseball player recently, and he told me he was teaching his son not to boo his team at games. I think that's fantastic and I try to set a good example. When I go to a game, I'm a clapper, not a booer (except with Chipper Jones). But it would have required incredible restraint to keep me from booing Glavine on Sunday. If Glavine returns next season, his presence will remind fans of the memories of this game and that will linger, much like I felt that Carlos Beltran's final at-bat in 2006 was the ghost that haunted the team throughout this season. I told a number of Mets fans I knew that I felt certain that 2007 would have a very unhappy ending, one that could be traced all the way back to Game 7 of 2006. In the end, I think I was right.

We don't need him here. We don't need him here in 2008. We don't need him here at any OldTimers Days or Shea Stadium celebrations. Convince Tom Glavine that the right thing to do is cash in the buyout and sign with the Braves (his legacy with their fans is untarnished, and rightfully so, considering he did win the clinching game of a World Series for them), or announce his retirement and be heard from again when Cooperstown comes calling. That's a good first step and one far more appropriate than the ridiculous suggestion to fire Willie Randolph.

In other words, I'm hopeful that Glavine's walk off the Shea mound on Sunday was his last with the Mets.


Anonymous said…
You had me up till the don't fire Randolph part. Yankee go home!
-- JBF
metsnyc said…
If Glavine signs with the Braves, he will throw away any goodwill he earned with Met fans. Not that it was that much anyways. I cheered for him because of the name on the front of his jersey of course but let's see what his future holds.

I'm a clapper not a booer myself, and it was sad to hear fans boo Reyes yesterday, but he has somewhat earned it lately. Regardless, let's clean the slate and start with this as motivation in 2008. Ugh.
Anonymous said…
What a brutal way to go into the final year of Shea. First, a carryover season, then fewer seats with higher prices. Rough, very rough.
-- JBF

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