Well, it was good seeing you in the realworldosphere, back in the big blue junkpile. I must admit that new Diamondvision is awfully impressive, and while the Nathan's hot dogs aren't even in the same ballpark (ahem) as the ones at Keyspan, they're a lot better than the ones from Pyongyang Collective Snout Factory #5 Brand, or whatever that was that was foisted upon us in years before.
Shea being Shea, it did have its share of strange sights, such as rain swirling sideways through the sky and not appearing to actually fall, elevator doors with a sign that says ELEVATOR DOES NOT STOP ON THIS FLOOR (so many questions), and Tom Glavine on the mound with nothing terrible happening to him.
Sometime this spring I had an unhappy realization: Every time something bad befalls Glavine on the mound, I feel ashamed, almost like I should be apologizing to him. And so many bad things have happened to him during his time here — a total lack of offense, bad bullpen work, horrid defense. You name it, it's happened to Tom Glavine.
But here's the thing: I don't feel like cringing when something happens to Trachsel, or Heilman, or Pedro or Zambrano or anybody else. Just Glavine. And ultimately, I've realized, that's not a compliment. It's the opposite, in fact: It's an admission that going into the third year of his time here, I still don't regard him as One Of Us. And from the impatience fans have always showed with him at Shea, I think most Met fans feel the same way.
But why? He chose us, didn't he?
It's not the obvious things. It's not that he's a mercenary — once that first free-agent period rolls around, they're nearly all mercenaries. I realized that and got over it sometime during the Reagan administration. It's not that I still think of him as an Atlanta Brave and therefore as the enemy, though all those years of seeing him throttle us didn't help. No, it's something else.
Somehow he's just never seemed to fit in here. He's invisible in the newspapers, in a way a top-flight starter and probable Hall of Famer shouldn't be, not in New York. Who remembers anything he's done or said, except for rumblings that he was part of the Leiter/Franco kitchen cabinet and his losing his teeth in a taxicab accident? (I know, I said that and yet we're killing Leiter because he can't keep his mouth shut. Fans suck.) On the mound he's aloof, expressionless and somehow apart — something I do remember from his Atlanta days, usually in conjunction with him staring at Javy Lopez after Javy had managed to screw up a bunt or put his shinguards on backwards or get a ball stuck in his ear or some other numbnuts Javy Lopez thing. Maybe it's that having stolen him away from the Braves, he spent too long getting shellacked by them. But if anything, that should have made him more one of us, not less.
I think, ultimately, it dates back to his countdown to 300 wins and the creeping realization that by coming to New York, he'd blown his shot at it. That's embarrassing, especially since I think we all know he'd have gotten there if he'd stayed in Atlanta. (Personally, I can't understand why he didn't go to Boston, but that's another post.) It comes down to thinking that we cost him 300 wins, that we let him down, that he'd have been better off never putting on our uniform. Which is a we that somehow doesn't include Tom Glavine.
And if he's still outside that we in his third season, he's probably not ever coming in. It's strange. Glavine's always competed, never malingered, thrown a one-hitter for us, and otherwise done his best for a bad team in the face of Questec and advancing age and plain old bad luck. And yet we've never warmed up to him and probably never will. So what happened? Did we reject him? Did he reject us? Did we reject him because we thought he was rejecting us? Like many a bad relationship, the only answer is that we'll never find the answer — beyond knowing, with a certain chagrined bafflement, that we never should have gotten together in the first place.