I'm not devastated, but I am disappointed. Devastated is a word used for greater things in life than a game. I was disappointed in the way I pitched. I got some ground balls, but I can't control where they go. A couple got through. Another was too slow to turn a double play.
— Tom Glavine, Sept. 30, 2007
Yes, he's gone south, less than two months after he played his part in helping our season do the same. As a parting gift to go with the 300 golf balls and the $50+ million, I'd like to send him off with whatever bile I can spare, and to fervently wish that he never return. I don't care if that means sacrificing the chance to boo him, or to watch some gang of 2008 Mets beat him around on a day when the ump isn't giving him the wide strike. I have thought and written far too much about him over the last five years, and I'd love for this to be the last time I do so. Though I know that won't be true.
Glavine's final failing — that endless, awful seven earned runs in a third of an inning — wasn't what did it, though it certainly didn't help. Nor is it that he returned to the Braves, though that makes for some nicely loathsome symmetry. It was what he said after that horrific final start that tore things irrevocably.
Remember (I promise it'll only be for a bit) what the afternoon of Sept. 30 felt like, what it was like watching nearly a year of hopes and dreams gurgle down the toilet? OK. Now, re-read those words at the top of this post again.
That quote — that astonishing, awful quote to end a month of astonishing, awful quotes– perfectly sums up all the reasons I only fitfully warmed to Tom Glavine, and why I'd like to never, ever think about him again. It's all there. His sneaky alibi-ing, the way he always sounded like he was being diplomatic or philosophical while he was actually blaming his teammates or casting himself as an innocent bystander in the schemes of Dame Fortune. (Here's a sampler of Glavine-speak from this blog's early days.) Never mind the ball he threw clean over David Wright's head in that endless third of an inning, clearing the bases, or the pitch — his final one as a Met, as it turned out — that hit Dontrelle Willis with the bases loaded. Got some ground balls, can't control where they go. Oh well.
And then there's his aloofness, never expressed more noxiously than here, with Glavine waxing philosophical while fans cried in the stands. Devastated is a word used for greater things in life than a game. Look, I bow to no one as a Met fan. (OK, I bow slightly to my co-blogger.) Even at my most livid that day, I was perfectly aware that, as the old saying goes, it wasn't my wife and it wasn't my life. I didn't need lessons from Spouting Thomas to put the disaster he'd completed in perspective.
By the way, Glavine wasn't the only one discussing disappointment and devastation that day. Those terms were heard elsewhere in the Met clubhouse — but in a somewhat different context.
To say disappointed would be the understatement of the year.
— Shawn Green, Sept. 30, 2007
We're devastated, also.
— Willie Randolph, Sept. 30, 2007
I don't know if Shawn Green was really in a state beyond disappointment, or if he was just saying the right thing. I have no reason not to think it's the former, but even if it's the latter, as a fan I'm grateful. I'm inclined to believe Willie Randolph — if you read Wayne Coffey's long, characteristically great piece this weekend, you probably are too. (More on that another day.) As for me, when the Mets' collapse was complete, I wrote how I was OK. Which I was. But that was a post addressing how I'd turned my back on the 2007 edition of the Mets some time before. The year? That's different.
I will think about the wreckage of 2007 off and on for my entire life. Years after the events, I'll suddenly realize I've been spending 10 minutes fuming about Gary Carter packing his gear as Orel Hershiser smothered us, or Armando Benitez and [insert one of several players here], or Jay Payton getting thrown out at third, or Kenny Rogers throwing ball four, or Carlos Beltran straightening up at the plate. 2007 was about falling out of love with a team, about learning to doubt players I'd come to trust, about enduring what I normally cherished. And sometimes, in the middle of the night, I fear it'll be about more than that — about how a plan for returning a ballclub to glory started to go horribly wrong. 2007 was devastating, and I'm not the least bit ashamed to feel that way. I'm a fan. Of course that's how I feel.
That Tom Glavine didn't feel our final defeat as deeply as we did is one thing — we rarely if ever discuss this, because it's the third rail that separates fans and athletes, but deep down we know few of our heroes care the way we do. That having failed so utterly, he chose to lecture those of us who cared more, even if it's just a game and therefore one of the lesser things in life? That's another thing entirely. That's when he touched that third rail. That's when he became unforgiveable.