Today, AJC columnist Furman Bisher welcomes Tom Glavine home with a big wet kiss on the buttocks. Furman is amazed — more than that, he’s flummoxed — by the selfless Tom Glavine, who agreed this week to pitch for less in Atlanta:
What he did was something I’ve never heard any baseball player do before. He said he wasn’t sure he was worth what the New York Mets were offering.
His projected salary, I should say. It was there. All he had to do was take it, a $13 million option to pitch another season on Long Island.
So in the end it was take a $5 million cut in pay to live and pitch where his home and heart are.
What Bisher doesn’t seem to understand is that, while Glavine is pitching for less, he’s not pitching for that much less. The Mets gave him a $3 million buyout. He signed an $8 million deal with Atlanta. So he’s pitching for $11 million in 2008, $2 million less than he would have earned with New York. Not $5 million less.
Glavine, for his part, says the reason he was willing to take less money is because, well, I’ll let him tell you:
“I wasn’t sure I was worth 13 million,” Glavine said. “I’m not a No. 1 starter any more. I didn’t have the feeling that I could go out and pitch like a $13 million guy anymore.”
See, making $13 million made Glavine uncomfortable. That’s a lot of pressure. $11 million is much less of a burden.
Bisher thinks Glavine’s admission is the greatest thing he’s ever heard. Seriously, he’s giddy.
This is utter violation of the athlete’s code. You don’t get such honesty in this day and age of the agent and his pawn.
Bisher goes on to say that Glavine is going to be lights out in Atlanta and that the reason he sucked down the stretch in New York was, well, it was all mental. He was home sick.
I put nothing into Glavine’s rocky wind-up in New York: three blown starts, including one tormented one. His mind was at work on other matters. He knew he was pitching his way out of a Mets uniform, and his head was getting mixed signals.
Now all the disturbing doubts are gone, and here is a man with a freedom of mind. He’s home again. He drives to Turner Field to an old familiar parking space. Walks into home, not the visitors clubhouse, greets old pals and familiar faces. That should add years to his happiness and his ERA.
First of all, I’ve got news for you, Bish. Matt Diaz has Glavine’s parking space now and he told me the other day that he’s not giving it up for nobody. He said if Glavine wants his space back, he’s going to have to take it.
And “years to his happiness and ERA?” Well, I guess we’ll never know since Glavine only signed a one-year deal, right Bish?
Yes, the contract is only for one year. With Glavine’s well-ordered lifestyle, his deep faith, and the ease with which he delivers his 82-mph fastball, change of pace and slider, his trim body should be good for two or three more seasons.
Well, it’s hard to argue with that logic. Glavine does look pretty smooth throwing those 82-mph fastballs. But if you think that’s impressive, Bish, you should see just how casually I loft my 68-mph cheese. You want deep faith? I was a freaking alter boy! And if you’re looking for a guy who’s willing to accept a contract for less than $13 million a year, hey, I’m your man. I’ll pitch for $5 million right now! Sign me up!