Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tom Glavine

I've been very wrong about Tom Glavine. Ever since his 2003 Mets debut, which was his worst season since the 80s, and the Mets' worst season this decade, I've been on career death watch. He wasn't even that bad (just below league-average ERA). But he was so damnably old! He was 37 that year, and I figured it was over. Umpires would stop giving him the extra one or six inches off the plate. His velocity would gradually approach batting practice range, and the flinty-eyed New Englander would have to call it a career.

Now, it could very well be the case that the umpires aren't giving him as much room, and his velocity has dipped, but it just hasn't mattered that much. He's been money in the bank.

There's of course the hoary cliche about the aging pitcher who, late in his career, makes up for his lost velocity by changing speeds and improving his command. Well in Glavine's case it's absolutely true. Yes, he was kind of a finesse pitcher even in his prime, but in each of his age 38-41 seasons he's walked 2.3 batters per nine, below his overall career average of 2.6. He's been every bit a front of the rotation starter.

Until today. Today he got mugged like that 101 year-old woman in the highly-rated YouTube video. Yes, it's grainy but that's Tom in the vestibule.

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