By Mike Steffanos
Mets 8 - Cubs 3
Played Sunday, August 5, 2007
I have to confess that the emotion I felt watching Glavine's 300th win last night wasn't what it would have been if Dwight Gooden had managed to overcome his demons and win 300 games in a Mets uniform. Unlike some Yankees fans that seem to feel some moronic need to appropriate Doc and Darryl Strawberry as their own, I'm actually very comfortable with the fact that Glavine will be going into the Hall of Fame as an Atlanta Brave. His best years -- and 3/4 of his career -- were spent there.
On the other hand, I experienced no real mixed emotions watching him earn the milestone victory as a Met. After 5 years here, he looks like a New York Met to me. We may have never had the Cy Young winning Tom Glavine during his New York tenure, but he's been a pro. I guess it bothers some people that he wanted to return to Atlanta this past winter, but there was nothing clandestine about it, and I can understand his desire to be with his family more. Besides, I remember Glavine's efforts in recruiting Billy Wagner and appreciate the terrific mentor he has been to this young staff here.
|Tom Glavine (Last 5 Starts)|
|Season (24 Games)||144||72||69||147||63||50||18||4.31||1.37||15-9|
Having said all of that, I'm also grateful that Glavine's historic win is in the past. I don't think the Mets needed the distraction that this milestone might have become had it been delayed much longer. There are important pennant race games to be played, and I'm glad 100% of the focus can be on that.
There were some in the New York media who tried to paint the decision to replace Rick Down as hitting coach of this club as something out of the pre-senile George Steinbrenner's playbook of making someone pay for a lack of success. Others pointed to it as a sign that the feel-good era of everyone getting along -- which was a myth in the first place - was crashing to a halt. Either point of view conveniently ignored the fact that this is a fairly common baseball move to try to shake up the dynamic of a struggling team that continues to display an unacceptable approach.
While it would be silly to give Howard Johnson all of the credit for the patience this team is showing at the plate right now, it would be equally foolish to say that the same thing would have happened if Down stayed. This team did need a kick in the pants, and if paid off with the way they have been working opposing pitchers the last couple of weeks. Moreover, the patience at the plate has also been reflected in the number of clutch RBIs we've seen recently. Opposing pitchers can no longer count on Mets batters to get themselves out by chasing bad pitches any longer.
The Mets would not have won 4 of 6 on this tough road trip with the offensive approach they had a month ago. While their offense is hardly perfect, it is dramatically improved. If Beltran returns and Shawn Green is relegated to the bench, it can only get better.