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October 16, 2001

Tom Glavine


THE MODERATOR: We'll take questions for Tom Glavine.

Q. Have you faced Miguel Batista before? If you have, what do you know about him as a pitcher?

TOM GLAVINE: I probably have somewhere. I don't know exactly where or when, but in terms of what I know about him as a pitcher, what we know about him as a pitcher, he's got good stuff. He's got a good arm. He's got a good live fastball. Good breaking ball. Kind of guy if he locates his fastball can be tough. He's obviously thrown well here of late, and that's a reason why he's been starting in the post-season. So he definitely poses a challenge for us.

Q. You guys have been in this situation many times. How are you approaching it differently this year, the team and you personally?

TOM GLAVINE: I don't know that we are, to be honest with you. I think your preparation is pretty much the same. I think that's one thing that's helpful about having been in the post-season a number of times, is you know what to expect. You know what you're going to have to deal with media-wise, preparation-wise. You come to learn how to, I guess, manage your time and deal with everything and not let it get in the way of your preparation. It's really not much different. I mean, everything kind of goes the same. You kind of know what your travel schedule is going to be, what your workout schedules are going to be. You get a good sense of how everything is going to flow and it makes it much easier to deal with it as opposed to the first couple times where you're not sure exactly what to expect from day to day.

Q. When you prepare, scouting reports of opposing hitters, how much, if at all, do you consider the plate umpire, his strike zone?

TOM GLAVINE: As far as the preparation goes, the home plate umpire really doesn't come into it. I think you go through your scouting reports, you go through whatever else you go through preparation-wise, and you get ready to pitch. Really, I don't -- the home plate umpire is not factored into my equation preparation-wise until I sit down today and get ready to do the chart and I see who the first base umpire is, and that, for the first time, will be when I start thinking about who's going to be behind the plate.

Q. Is there more thought process during the game as you see what his zone is that day?

TOM GLAVINE: Yeah. I mean, I think every umpire has a reputation, whether it's - he's a good pitcher's umpire or he's a good hitter's umpire. But umpires, players, we all have good days and bad days. You might have an umpire whose I guess reputation is to be a pitcher's umpire but he's having a bad day. You just don't know. That's the human element that factors into any decision. As a pitcher, your job is to go out there and establish that you're going to throw strikes and do what you can do to let the umpire know that, to get the umpire in synch with what you're doing. Then if you're able to expand the strike zone, then you do that. But first and foremost, you have to go out there and establish early in the game that you're going to be on the plate, you're going to be throwing strikes. If you do that, you're going to start to get the benefit of some calls whether it be border-line inside, border-line outside, whatever the case may be. If you can establish that you're able to throw the ball where you want to, then you can expect to get anything borderline.

Q. Has the strike zone changed all that dramatically last year to this?

TOM GLAVINE: There again, I guess from some umpires, yeah, it has a little bit. I think you see some umpires that are a little bit more aggressive calling the upper portion of the strike zone than others. I think you see some umpires who have always been good umpires and they're still good umpires and they haven't really changed the way they do things. I guess overall the one change that you've seen for the most part is that pitch up in the strike zone has been called a little bit more. But even that I think varies from game to game, from umpire to umpire. But there again, that's a matter of getting out there. If you see during the course of the game that you have an umpire that's more aggressive in calling that, you might try to take advantage of that.

Q. You haven't had to alter your approach fundamentally because of the strike zone?

TOM GLAVINE: No. I made some adjustments I guess in the way I pitched out of necessity, out of lack of success earlier in the year more than anything else. I mean, early in the year, I was struggling to be successful and I kind of changed my approach a little bit. Kind of got away from just being exclusively sinkers and changeups and away to right-handers and trying to do more. That was out of necessity of not wanting to get my brains beat in more than anything else.

Q. Can you talk about the contribution Paul Bako has made behind the plate? And also his onfield at-bat contribution?

TOM GLAVINE: Well, Paul is a perfect example of what it takes for a club to be successful in the post-season. He's a guy who, before the post-season started, was probably going to be doing what he had been doing all season long, catching Greg Maddux and that would be it. With Javy going down, Paul's been forced to play every day. He stepped in and did a great job. He had a good series with Houston. He's shown as every day has gone by he's got more consistent at-bats. He's swung the bat better. He's been more of a threat for us offensively. I think we came into this post-season knowing Javy may or may not be available at some point in time. With Paul behind the plate, everything was going to be fine. He's always been a very good defensive catcher. He's always called a very good game. He's handling his staff very well. Even though for the most part all he did was catch Greg all year long, he's the kind of guy that sits on the bench and watches everybody else pitch, knows what we're trying to do. So now when he's put in a position where he has to catch us, it wasn't a big deal for him. It wasn't a big deal for us. We didn't feel like we lost anything defensively having Paul back there. Whatever he was going to do for us offensively was going to be a big plus. Whatever he's done for us offensively has been very big for us.

Q. In a game tomorrow where Schilling nor Johnson pitches, is that a critical game for the Braves to not let the game get away?

TOM GLAVINE: Yeah, I guess so. Every game obviously is critical. But you can't place any more emphasis on a game that Curt or Randy is not pitching in than any other game, because if you do, then you're making the assumption you're going to lose every time Curt and Randy goes out there. We're certainly not making that assumption. Obviously those two guys, their reputations are what they are. We know it's going to be a difficult task to go out there and beat them. But we're obviously hoping to go out there today and beat Randy and then worry about tomorrow when tomorrow gets here. But certainly on paper, yeah, you look at the games that those guys are not pitching in and you figure, "All right, those are the games that we really want to do something in," and then try in the other four games that those two guys do pitch in, try and sneak one or two wins out of those games.

Q. You talked about changing out of necessity because of a lack of success. Your walks were much higher in the beginning of the year than normal. You said it wasn't the strike zone. What do you think it was?

TOM GLAVINE: I'll try not to be lengthy, but part of it was my inconsistent situation. I wasn't throwing the ball where I wanted to a lot. Or at least consistently enough so if I did throw a border-line pitch, chances are I wasn't going to get the call, which I shouldn't have. I guess that is the reason my walk total went down. No. 1, I ironed out my mechanics and was much more consistent the latter three-quarters of the year in where I was throwing the ball so I pitched ahead in the count a lot more, which makes your job easier. And I think because I kind of got away from just being away, away, away all the time, it made it so that when I did go back outside or go back to my changeup or my sinker away, I was getting swings and I was getting the outs. Whereas before, I was throwing three, four, five, six pitches away an at-bat. For every one that a hitter sees, he's getting a better, better look at it. So if the ball is borderline and he sees it and he takes it, it's a ball, well, every pitch subsequent to that that is in the same spot, they're going to take it. They're not going to offer at it. I think by using the inside part of the plate more, using my breaking stuff more, when I did go back out there, now all of a sudden they weren't quite so sure whether that pitch was a ball or a strike. They weren't sure which pitch it was. So consequently I got a lot more swings and got outs that I wasn't getting on those pitches before. And I probably got them to swing at some bad pitches at times that they weren't swinging at before.

End of FastScripts....

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