He threw six innings. He wasn't touched in the final five of them. He took a seat. And he smiled the broadest smile I ever saw from him.
The devil bared his fangs.
In the detritus of September 30, 2007 (as we continue to live in a post-September 30 world), it makes me wonder all over again why T#m Gl@v!ne ever left Atlanta.
John Schuerholz was under pressure from AOL-Time Warner six years ago to reduce payroll and Gl@v!ne, as much of a modern athlete (and Players Association big shot) as anybody, saw the potential pile of money on the table in another city and lunged for it, but honestly, how much money do these guys need? Not once in five seasons in a Met uniform — if not exactly a Met — did T#m Gl@v!ne ever look remotely as happy as he did after his six innings of light tossing Tuesday afternoon. Likewise, I watched his welcome back press conference last November and he was more at ease (with reporters, of all things) than I've ever seen him. It's obvious being an Atlanta Brave agrees with T#m Gl@v!ne, never stopped agreeing with T#m Gl@v!ne.
Maybe it's the fabric they use down south. Maybe it's the proximity to The Varsity. Maybe it's the soothing presence of Coxie and Smoltzie. But we never got that smile, that relaxation and, way more importantly, that kind of wriggling out of a first-inning jam and segueing into a rocking chair for five more frames, not when the world depended on it.
To be fair, between 2003 and 2007 Gl@v!ne never had the benefit of facing the Mets in that situation.
If T#m Gl@v!ne had gone into life insurance or become a pharmacist and he had never come to my attention and somebody tried to tell me about this swell guy who was an ideal co-worker and a real smart cookie, I'd nod and maybe say that sounds like someone I'd like to hang out with. Instead, he went into baseball and we know the route his career took — straight through our gut several times, kicking us in the intestines from all angles. Thus, it's impossible to hear his former teammates and the media that covered him sing his praises as a human being and not want to retch for a couple of weeks straight. Baseball brought him to our attention. Baseball is why we give a damn about total strangers we'll never meet or know. Baseball is why I tune out every he's-a-jolly-good-fellow endorsement from every otherwise trusted source — even our trusted trio of announcers.
For his diabolical doings as a Brave from the late '80s until the early '00s; to his job-blocking of hard-working, well-meaning ballplayers who got caught up in a labor mess not of their own making; to his wary, tenuous tenure as a half-decade Met; to his disastating, devappointing farewell; right up to yesterday when he grinned the grin of a canary-swallowing cat after yet another afternoon of short-circuiting Met hope and Met happiness, he remains now and forever T#m Gl@v!ne, pronounced just as he's spelled.
If he'd smile his Satanic smile out of SNY camera range, if he'd flash his demonic dimples in someone else's faces, I'd not feel any need to dredge him up again. But there he #@! was yesterday, looking relaxed, seeming pleased as punch with himself, still #@! revolting us to high heavens and ever deeper hell.
Will September 30 ever #@! end?