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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Cursed to Met Hell

I have wasted thousands and thousands of kisses on you — kisses that I thought were special because of your lips and your smile and all your color and life. I used to think that was the real you, when you smiled. But now I know you don't mean any of it. You just save it for all your songs. Shame on me for kissing you with my eyes closed so tight.

—Faye to Jimmy, That Thing You Do!

Met Hell has a new Member. His name is T#m Gl@v!ne.

It is pronounced as it appears: like a curse word.

From here on out in this space, when you see a reference to the pitcher who came to the Mets from the Atlanta Braves in December 2002 but who never, ever gave the slightest impression that he wouldn't have preferred in an instant to be back in Atlanta, it will appear as T#m Gl@v!ne.

Just as it was pronounced on March 31, 2003 when he grimly marched to the mound and surrendered 8 hits, 4 walks and 5 earned runs in 3.2 innings and 32 degrees upon the occasion of his Met debut.

Just as it was pronounced on September 30, 2007 when he trudged to that same pitching rubber under much hotter conditions and gave up 5 hits, walked 2, committed 1 error, hit 1 batter and allowed 7 earned runs in 0.1 innings upon the occasion of his Met farewell.

In saying hello and goodbye, T#m Gl@v!ne posted an earned run average of 27.00.

In between, generally speaking, T#m Gl@v!ne pitched better than that, though it bears noting that he couldn't have pitched any worse. He won 61 regular-season games in five years as a Met, was named to two All-Star teams as a Met, earned two playoff victories as a Met and famously posted his 300th win as a Met. Take away his first and last impressions and T#m Gl@v!ne's Met statistics would give you the impression that he was all right.

Met Hell, however, is not wholly a performance-based destination. In fact, performance isn't the key determinant of whether a Met winds up there. When my partner incorporated Met Hell just over two years ago, he set out the parameters:

[It] takes more than incompetence or not living up to your potential or saying the occasional stupid thing or becoming a Yankee or just being a lunkhead. There's got to be something worse, something that still makes the blood boil…

I like to say style points don't count in baseball, that there's no such thing as a bad win. I would counter that when considering what Met winds up in Met Hell, it's all about style points. It's all about who you were as a Met and how you conducted yourself.

Where T#m Gl@v!ne is concerned, he conducted himself like a professional. That's the word I heard Gary Cohen use on Mets Hot Stove after T#m Gl@v!ne returned to Atlanta. He meant it as a compliment. I don't.

There is being professional, then there is being cold and bloodless. It can probably be viewed an admirable trait under the right circumstances. With T#m Gl@v!ne, it was not. Not here, not as a Met, not at the end of 2007. There was never a worse time to be cold and bloodless as a Met than at the end of 2007. There was never a worse time to be disappointed and not devastated, just as there was never a worse time to compile three consecutive starts in the latter half of September in which you permitted 17 earned runs in 10.1 innings.

We could forgive three consecutive godawful starts from a Hall of Fame pitcher. We could forgive three consecutive godawful starts from any pitcher. We could, perhaps, forgive three consecutive godawful starts at the worst possible moment in team history.

But not when you're as bloodless and cold and professional as T#m Gl@v!ne was as a Met.

Not when the very next thing you do is return to where you were The Enemy and tell everybody what a hardship it was to have been here for five seasons during which you collected massive paychecks and were lavished with praise and gifts for your personal milestone, an event built primarily on your accomplishments as The Enemy. You can wrap it in concern for “trying to keep my family off a plane,” but it still comes off as tasteless self-pity from a man who was paid more than $50 million over five seasons and came up small, smaller and smallest in the last three opportunities he had to come up big as a Met.

Fifty million bucks buys quite a few round-trips on Delta, by the way.

Without labeling it as such, Jason already made the case very well for the induction of T#m Gl@v!ne into Met Hell:

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.

And without knowing it, one of our all-too-infrequent commenters, Kevin from Flushing, seconded the nomination:

My favorite quote from him on his return to Atlanta was why he didn't come back to New York, because “I couldn't do that to my family”…Seriously?! What's the matter, you don't like your family putting up with unwed mothers, purple-haired guys with AIDS, and people who don't speak English on the 7 train, is that it? I vote that when his plaque in Cooperstown goes up it must have big quotes around “New York, N.L.,” and maybe a few asterisks with it. Ugh…we just HAD TO steal him away from the Phillies in 2003, didn't we?

I've been sort of waiting for some contrarian fan to come along as one often does when I think there's universal agreement on a Met matter and tell us that we're wrong to be so full of bile toward this pitcher, that he was actually somebody's favorite Met, that he will be missed. It hasn't happened — not even the semi-practical concern of replacing 200 innings in the rotation has been mentioned by any of our readers. It is my very strong sense that nobody who calls himself or herself a Mets fan will miss this pitcher.

Jason said he'd like to never, ever think about him again. Amen, buddy. But he will come up in our thoughts and, inevitably, in our conversation. And I won't be able to think of him or speak of him without wanting to curse out the fact that he ever wore a Met uniform along with my decision — born of what I considered fanly obligation — to attempt with as much of my heart as I could muster to respect and accept him as one of our own.

There are phrases in this world that rankle me. One of them is “get over it already,” implying as it does that it hasn't occurred to us that life goes on despite our particular personal hangups regarding something that happened before. Sports engenders a lot of “get over it already” sentiment since there's always another contest and another season on which to concentrate our fullest energies, and nothing's more important than forward progress. Didn't like that call, that decision, that trade? Get over it already.

If I'm at the stage where somebody is telling me to get over it already, I'm probably not going to. If I'm not past it on my own, it's probably because it meant something more to me than today's random score will. That's how baseball works for me, for a lot of us. I'm not a Mets fan because of what the Mets might do next year, but because of what the Mets — individually and collectively — have done for me every year up to this year. I wouldn't care about next year if not for all the years before. I don't forget that. I don't get over it already lightly.

But I have, in my own way and on my own time, tried to get over already what I've considered the ungetoverable. The future is all there is to look forward to in any year. I don't want to miss it altogether.

So I tried to get over my twinned inclinations from five winters ago. I tried to stop being upset and angry that in a three-day span my favorite Met of his time was dispatched to free agentry and my least favorite Brave of his time was signed to a large Met contract and had his face slapped on the front of Met yearbooks and Met pocket schedules and his name on the back of giveaway Met t-shirts.

It may not have been the plan to literally replace Edgardo Alfonzo with T#m Gl@v!ne — I understand that not retaining an infielder didn't directly affect the inking of a pitcher except perhaps by way of an allocation of resources — but the sequence of events from December 2002 charred my soul in a way that all the losing in Metdom couldn't. My identity with and affinity for the Mets of the previous half-decade, coupled with my corresponding disdain for their archrivals, was all at once invalidated. The Met era I'd loved more than any other, already evaporating in '02, was now completely gone.

With the success of '06, I thought I'd gotten over it already. Other Mets came along to help me push the loss of Alfonzo and what he represented to me (believe me, I'm not going to argue on behalf of his post-2002 production) into the past the way others had always come along to help me push the loss of previous favorites into the past. If T#m Gl@v!ne was helping my new favorites create the better future of which I'd been dreaming since '02…well, how bad could the guy be?

After the way T#m Gl@v!ne comported himself on the mound and in front of microphones in his final scenes as a Met, I can't tell you how sorry I am that I caved even that much. The 61 regular-season wins weren't worth it. The All-Star berths weren't worth it. The playoff victories weren't worth it. None of it was worth it. Rooting hard for a guy you just don't like never is.

Thus, he's condemned to Met Hell. He can take his 300 golf balls with him and he can tee off to his heart's content on the steamiest 18 holes in creation…if he can unglue them from that piece of plywood to which they were stuck. And he can play in a foursome that includes Guillermo Mota, Mike Stanton, Braden Looper or any of a rotating series of inept former Met relievers who blew leads and cost him wins. And when he thinks he has an off day, he can rush to the airport and discover all the flights out of Met Hell have been interminably delayed.

They always are.

Also, he enters Met Hell as T#m Gl@v!ne. Since he was a curse on our franchise's history, it is only proper that when you see his name printed here, at least under my byline, you will see it spelled exactly the way it would be spelled in a forum where the explicit spelling of curse words is discouraged.

I've wasted enough curse words on him already.

But let's not be entirely unreasonable about this. He did win those two playoff games, did make those two All-Star teams, did not unleash firecrackers in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. There are worse villains in Met Hell. That's who the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Circles are reserved for.

T#m Gl@v!ne will now and forever be ensconced in the One-Third Circle of Met Hell. We might have assigned him a few circles lower, but he proved on September 30 that one-third is as deep as he goes when it really counts.

26 comments to Cursed to Met Hell

  • Anonymous

    Back in August 2004, when he had that taxi accident and lost two teeth because he couldn't bother to put on his friggin' seatbelt, a new phrase entered our family lexicon. It was, “Buckle Up – Don't Be Like Glavine.”
    We can now just shorten the phrase to “Don't Be Like Glavine,” period.

  • Anonymous

    The bile rises once again. Not for a millisecond did I feel anything better than loathing for this “person.” I fulfilled my fanly obligation (and my own views on loyalty to/support of one's team) by not booing him. That's the best he ever got from me, but he shouldn't be too flattered… even Armando got that. Roger Clemens would get that in the unthinkable event of… *shudder*. It's just who I am.
    Did he unleash firecrackers? No. But did he unleash hatred and directives of shunning and pariahhood upon several players during and after the strike? Yes, yes he did. When you have leaflets placed in everyone's lockers listing the names of all those who are now to be treated as if they do not exist as human beings, you cease to exist as such to me.
    T#m Gl@v!ne's ill-conceived tenure in our laundry is ungetoverable to me. So, fittingly, I shan't get over it.

  • Anonymous

    T#m Gl@v!ne it is.
    The 1/3rd circle is a nice touch.

  • Anonymous

    To think that Seaver had to get No. 300 as a member of the White Sox while Gl@vine got his as a Met is just….wrong.
    But at lease Seaver got his big win in New York, the one place where people would weep with job with their families as Seaver did with his.
    I don't lament losing him. Yes, his 2007 was decent. But there's no proving he'd do it again.

  • Anonymous

    Days to circle when the 2008 schedule is released: Opening Day, Johnny Estrada Bobblehead Day, Glavine's return to Shea–Let the Boos Reign Down!

  • Anonymous

    Days to circle when the 2008 schedule is released: Opening Day, Johnny Estrada Bobblehead Day, Glavine's return to Shea–Let the Boos Reign Down!

  • Anonymous

    The only problem with T#m Gl@vine as epithet is that it demands too much effort for someone you'd really rather not talk or think about again.
    maybe we just use his initials, TG, and go T#@G.
    eh?
    maybe just T@M?
    (that kind of looks like tam, like short for tampon (sorry))
    I don't know, but I know this comment will be the last time I write that whole thing out. He sucks. Good riddance. F#ck h!m.
    best move of the offseason is Glavine for a first round draft pick.
    Have you started to dream about Santana yet? let's get some shakespeare on the dreaminess of getting Johan for any amount of our prospects.

  • Anonymous

    Heh. Too bad nobody ever told Glavine how very important it was that he “not stink today.”

  • Anonymous

    We all assumed that the so-called Hall of Famer would know that without us.
    Silly us :(

  • Anonymous

    You're right that it will take some effort, but I figure that's my penance for ever rooting for him at all.

  • Anonymous

    Heh. Too bad nobody ever told Glavine how very important it was that he “not stink today.”
    He made no guarantees…

  • Anonymous

    Are you insinuating that Liv Tyler may have metaphorically kissed Tom Glavine!? As if Christine Glavine weren't bad enough…what is wrong with these women? Can't they recognize a Brave in the grass when they see one?
    The Glavinator, as I once called him, had me going for a bit there. That moment of striking honesty in his 300 win speech actually made me respect the guy. But I see now that the honesty streak was just a precursor to his showing his true colors. What is this splitting hairs, trivializing the game and making excuses? Sure doesn't sound professional to me. Talk about a Tom-ahawk Chop.
    Thank God he's not on the 2008 team so that when we win the World Series we won't have to give him a ring. The bum.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Now he's T#m Gl@vine, just about four months after you wrote how you finally had accepted him as a true New York Met (you were at Shea for the ceremonies commerating his 300th win, remember?). Like the rest of us, I'm sure you were just taken in by his hollow praise for the organization, teammates and fans. All season we saw him wear a hard hat in front of Citifield hoping to be part of a championship Met team. Yeah, sure.
    As far as Gl@vine not wanting his family subjected to New York, wasn't Atlanta honored as being one of the top five most dangerous cities in America? New York, if I recall, was the safest.
    Let's just hope the golf balls come off that plaque but the glue remains, making them useless, that both water-ski boats get captsized (while no one is on board, of course) and that his SUV has a total breakdown on his way to Turner Field.

  • Anonymous

    I think I'll stick with “TFG.” It's simple, but it says it.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, it too often seems that “Met Hell” is considered heaven in most other places.

  • Anonymous

    What all o' yez said…

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the mention!
    Thinking about Glavine in the hard hat in front of CitiField is just… “ugh”. But you have to admit he was perfect for those spots: you never wanted either of them in the first place, and you'll spend the first 5 years just trying to accept them. But man, I can just see it now: Glavine pulls a Clemens and signs on for one more year in Atlanta in 2009, then comes to CitiField in June and tosses a no-no. After the game he tells the press, “CitiField is the perfect place to pitch a no-hitter”. If you listen closely you might hear a gunshot go off in the background as I blow my brains out.
    Great mention of Fonzie's departure too. I remember that night well: I was at the bar with friends, being a total jerk and ignoring all of them as I had my eyes glues to ESPNews' bottom line from 11:30pm to 12:30am, waiting to see if Fonzie got his arbitration before the midnight deadline. It was a rough night.

  • Anonymous

    I find it hard to work up much of a lather about Glavine. He's just so… vanilla. Not so much a villain as an extra, a walk-on, a random passerby. A guy who disappointed on a franchise teeming with disappointments. Had he won a Game 7, I can't imagine feeling much different down the road than I ultimately will: “Oh yeah, Glavine. Almost forgot about him.”
    That said… 61 wins in five years is pretty weak. Yeah, wins are always downplayed as a misleading stat, but I can't help thinking we could have saved $40 million and held open auditions for random schmucks to win 12 games a year.

  • Anonymous

    Don't remember who was hosting, but Ed Coleman was on as a guest on the Saturday night when Fonzie's deadline to stay was fast approaching. It was like a quarter to midnight and Ed was reporting negotiations had broken down and that the Mets couldn't re-sign him until May 1. I still couldn't quite accept it. A week later (at this event), I was weaving scenarios with a likeminded Fonziephile that would have him avoid signing with anybody so he could come back on the appointed date. Yeah, that's the ticket!
    The next night, it was announced he got a very generous deal from San Francisco, where he never produced remotely like he did in New York (though he did help them to a division title his first year on the strength of a hot second half). Imagine all the trouble that would have been saved everybody had Fonzie stayed in Queens (moving back to second if Alomar's option not been picked up as it DID NOT HAVE TO BE for 2003 after it was clear he was a total mistake) and that pitcher we were talking about stayed in Atlanta.
    Once Wright comes up, he plays third anyway. And if Fonzie had rolled downhill at second, well, it's not like we ever had a dependable second baseman from the moment he stopped playing it in 2001. Besides, with Fonzie on second, we have nowhere to shunt Reyes to entering 2004, thus we don't sign Matsui and you're saving money even if you're overpaying Alfonzo.
    The rationalizations get a little more pretzelish every year, but the irritation never goes away.

  • Anonymous

    The thing about Glav is that he was and always was a mercenary. I truly felt he would have hung it up after winning a WS with us just to stick it to the Braves who thought he was washed up. Unfortunately it wasn't to be, and like a pathetic jilted lover who decided to get some since it was offered, he was back with his old flame.
    The true reward will be when we see in 2008 that the Braves were right: he IS washed up, letting gofer balls go out of the yard faster than you can count his false teeth.
    Sorry Greg, but “Get over it already.”

  • Anonymous

    Everytime I glance at this posting my mind keeps processing “Mel Hall,” rather than Met Hell.

  • Anonymous

    Screw him, too.

  • Anonymous

    Isn't there a great story in Damn Yankees about Hall's wife and girlfriend duking it out at the hotel pool during one road trip?

  • Anonymous

    Wow. These thoughts remind me of a freind, who at the trading deadline the last 2 seasons has said, “why don't they trade to get Piazza back? He would only pinch hit for us, and this way we can use him as our DH when we get to the World Series.”
    Why not? That'd be nice. X-Ray vision would be nice too, while we're at it.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that's just crazy…
    Piazza could have platooned at first in the home games if the A.L. team was starting a lefty.

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