It was the ninth inning and to be honest I wasn't paying that much attention. We seemed to have it in the bag (which I understand is different from having it in the bag, but it felt OK) and the only mystery remaining was to see who would be pitching the final frame. I was delighted that the starter had preserved the bullpen even though he gave up five runs. Not a terrible night to give up five runs, so I was feeling good about things where that was concerned.
I glanced up at the screen and saw a lefty delivering the ball and as he lunged forward, I saw a 7 on his back. He induced a tapper back to the mound from Jeromy Burnitz, which was a delightful first out. I said to the screen, in appreciation, “way to go, Tommy…”
Did I just say what I think I said? Did I refer to the icy and eternally detestable presence known as Tom Glavine in terms both familiar and indicative of endearment? Did I just call Thomas Michael Glavine “Tommy”?
I don't believe what I just heard.
Technically, I had just called Dae-Sung Koo “Tommy” — told ya I wasn't paying close attention — but the reality of the situation is I have, after 2-2/3 grudging years, accepted Tom Glavine as a Met.
I tried to wriggle out of it. I tried to morph “Tommy” into “Tommyister Koo!” but it was no use. I've finally given up. I no longer hate Tom Glavine the Met. I still disdain Tom Glavine the Brave and everything he did on the field and off it while he was One Of Them, but I can't hold history above the present day any longer. I have neither the energy nor the luxury to keep spitting at a relatively dependable starting pitcher who plies his trade for New York's National League franchise.
This has been developing all year. In 2003, I couldn't look at him. In 2004, I couldn't argue with his making the All-Star team but I didn't exactly embrace it. When he had that cab accident I sort of felt sorry for him but only as a human being, not as a Met. And as documented here from time to time, I've been to slow through 2005 to unclench my jaw over the concept of Tom Glavine identifying himself as One Of Us.
What paved the road to acceptance was my businesslike approach to the whole thing. A couple of months ago, I decided we needed the best Tom Glavine we could get. His goals and our goals were largely mutual. What do I care if he gets 300 wins? I mean that in the sense of why should I mind if he ties Burleigh Grimes for thirtieth place all-time with his 270th victory as he did last night? W's for him are also W's for us.
So I stopped rooting against Tom Glavine and started rooting for him. First nominally. Then sincerely, if not terribly enthusiastically. When he'd fall apart, I could always lean on the crutch of “aaah, it's Glavine, whad'ya expect?” But you can only relish somebody's failures in your favorite laundry for so long before you realize how counterproductive it is.
Of late, there is little to complain about where Tom Glavine's pitching is concerned. Since the second half commenced, he has turned in an admirable start every time out. Friday night's was not hot stuff on paper (8 IP, 5 ER) but it was just what was required for a game when we scored nine and needed to keep Roberto from telling Willie how good he felt.
Tom Glavine did the job for the Mets. He helped get us a win, a commodity we'd lacked since Tuesday.
Way to go, guy wearing 47 in the home pinstripes.