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October 13, 1999
ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Game Two
Q. Is this getting very old for you?
TOM GLAVINE: No, it never gets old. I think you learn how to deal with it a little bit
more every year, but it never gets old. That's what we play every year for is to be here
and have a chance to go for the championship. So it's still a lot of fun.
Q. Tom, who's the Met hitter that gives you the most problems and why?
TOM GLAVINE: I guess statistically speaking, probably Piazza. And probably most of the
reason is I faced him more than anybody else in that line-up; so he's got a bunch of hits
off me, bunch of career at-bats. I think Mike is a dangerous hitter because he can hurt
you any number of ways, and there's no set way to pitch him. He is a rare combination of
power and a guy who can hit for average. He's got great plate coverage; so you can't just
pitch him away. You have to use both sides of the plate, and you have to change speeds a
lot and change your patterns. And obviously, guys like that, they're difficult to pitch to
for obvious reasons. He's one of those guys that the more pitches you make to him, the
tougher it is to get him out because he's making adjustments all the time.
Q. How do you like pitching at Shea?
TOM GLAVINE: Aside from the airplane stuff, it's a pretty good place to pitch,
actually. As far as I can tell, I think I've pitched pretty well there. I don't know what
my record is, but I feel as though I've pitched some pretty good ballgames there. And it's
definitely not a place that when I know I'm slated to pitch there, I'm disappointed to
pitch there. There's definitely places like that in baseball. But it's generally a pretty
fair ballpark to pitch in. It's got a good infield. You have to hit the ball pretty solid
to get it out of there. There aren't too many cheap home runs in that park. It's a good
place to pitch.
Q. Considering what's happened on this level the last couple of years for this team, do
you in a sense have to succeed this year, and perhaps even push it farther, to validate
what the franchise has accomplished in this decade?
TOM GLAVINE: Regardless of what happens this year, I think everybody in that clubhouse
is proud of what we've accomplished. I know that for myself and Smoltzy, I think the two
guys that have been here since '91, nothing anybody can say or do is going to take away
the pride that I have for what this organization has done. When he and I got here in the
late 80's or early 90's, we were 100-loss ballclub a year. And 8 or 9 years later, we've
got 8 Division Championships and a couple of pennants and a couple of World Championships.
So I don't think any of us in there need validation from the media as to what we've
accomplished. I think we're extremely proud of it. Sure, whether you've got one
championship or four championships, you'll always be disappointed, because you feel like
you could have another one. You're not going to win every year. It's not going to happen.
You keep plugging along, and try to create an opportunity for yourself every year. We've
been able to do that. Like I've said many times before, to come up short is a
disappointment, but this has been a heck of a lot more fun having a chance every year than
it was when I first got here. So I'll just take that for what it's worth. And if this
season is over and we win a championship and it makes us the team of the 90's or whatever
people are trying to proclaim us, great. If we don't, that's still everybody's argument.
They can have it. But I'll still be proud to be a part of this organization.
Q. Tom, the way you just described Mike Piazza, how difficult it is to pitch to him, do
you guys as a staff realize that hitters all say the same things about you guys, are you
cognizant of that?
TOM GLAVINE: Yeah, I think we are. I think we're all pretty aware of what makes us
successful. And I think that's the case with most good players. I think you realize what
you do well and what you don't do well, and you try to make the things that you do well be
the difference in the outcome of the ballgame. I know the scouting report on me. I know
what things I do well in order to be successful, and I know those guys know what I'm
trying to do to be successful. You still have to execute and make your pitches. Much like
-- even as a hitter, I know what guys are trying to do. I know where their weaknesses are.
I know where their approaches are; I still have to make my pitches. If I make a mistake,
that's when they have to take advantage of their opportunity to try to beat me, or any
other pitcher for that matter. But that's what makes it hard to be successful in this game
year after year after year, is that people get to know you and they know your patterns and
they know what you're trying to do, both as a hitter and pitcher. And it's up to you as
the individual to either stay ahead of the curve and make whatever adjustments you need to
make to be successful, or figure out a way to be so good at what it is you do that it's
successful year after year. And that's what makes good players good players, is that they
do one of those two things.
Q. Bobby Cox's record now is Hall of Fame material. What does he bring to the clubhouse
in terms of tactics, strategy, people skills that make him the manager he is?
TOM GLAVINE: I would say that Bobby's greatest asset is probably his people skills. He
has a knack for making people believe in a system, have pride in a system, have pride in
playing for this organization and have pride in playing for him. Guys want to go out there
and play hard for Bobby. And a lot of that comes from how he treats guys. He treats you
like a man. He's very simple in what he wants. He doesn't have a whole lot of rules. It's
pretty basic. You show up on time and you show up ready to play and play the game the
right way. Bobby is very big in preserving the game of baseball and how it's supposed to
be played, and that rubs off on people. You don't see our guys going out there and doing a
lot of things out of the ordinary. We just go out there and play the game, and we play the
game with respect. And a lot of that comes from Bobby. I think oftentimes he's criticized
because people don't think he has much -- many tactics when it comes to managing, because
his team has been so good, you throw guys out on the field. I think Bobby does a great job
with the tactical side of the game. Oftentimes, what makes a good manager a good manager
is calling the right plays, and then it's up to the players to execute. He can call things
all day long, but if we don't do what he's asking us to do, then he doesn't look very
good. But I think he's -- again, I've heard it from so many people that have come from
organizations over here to play for Bobby, that it's just a joy to play for the guy. And
like I say, I think that when he gets that respect from his players, guys want to go out
there hard and play the game the right way.
Q. Tom, are the players aware of how little criticism, if any, he ever makes of his
players, particularly to the press, compared to what some other managers do?
TOM GLAVINE: I think that players are very aware of that, and that goes a long way
towards why we respect the man. He's not one of those guys that's going to air us out on
the newspaper or on TV or anywhere else. If he has a problem with us, it's: "Come in
my office, I want to talk to you." Again, that's all part of being treated like a
man. We're all grown men here, and we're all going to make our mistakes, and we all need a
kick on the butt from time to time, and a pat on the back from time to time. Bobby knows
when to do those things. He's very discrete about what he does. The most flagrant thing is
when he took Andruw out of the game in the middle of the game. That's so out of character
for Bobby; that's why it caused such a stir. Those kind of things Bobby has always handled
very privately. And for that matter, most of us don't know half the stuff that goes on.
That's how private he is about it. And again, on the flip side of that, there are times
that Bobby -- he commends us so much sometimes in the media -- there have been times when
I know I've pitched a terrible game, and I read the newspaper and I'm seeing some of the
things Bobby says and I'm wondering if he was watching the same game. That's how defensive
he is with his players. Again, those things go towards the amount of respect that builds
for him from the players. I think that sometimes is underrated when it comes to what makes
guys want to go out there and play.
Q. Mazzone said Bobby is a pitcher's manager, but a lot of people don't realize that.
Can you expand on that a little bit from a pitcher's standpoint?
TOM GLAVINE: Well, I think that there are a lot of managers in the game think that
pitchers are kind of nonathletes, second-class citizens, whatever you want to call them.
But Bobby is extremely protective, I guess, of our pitching staff. And not just the
starting guys, the relievers, too. He's very aware if a guy has thrown 2 or 3 days in a
row and needs a day off. Or if you're a reliever and you've been in a game or two in a row
and you need a day off, "Come tell me." He's very respectful of his starting
pitchers and asking us how we feel and trusting us to tell him the truth. Trusting us to
tell him: "Hey, I've got one or two more innings in us or we're done." He's not
the kind of manager that's going to run somebody out there and if somebody is having a bad
game, just leave them out there until he rots, or leave them out to get embarrassed or
hurt. He's always been very protective of trying to keep his pitching staff healthy
because he's one of the managers that subscribes to the
pitching-and-defense-will-win-championships-for-you. And he does his utmost to protect his
pitchers from injury, and at the same time try to use them in situations that they know
are going to be successful in.
Q. I understand that you're paying attention to the task at hand here, but do you have
friends and family back home that are talking to you about the Red Sox, and are you happy
for their success?
TOM GLAVINE: Yeah, I still keep an eye on the Red Sox. Obviously, the kid in me is
happy for the Red Sox, because I'm still a Red Sox fan. I think more closer to my heart
right now, I'm happy for Jimy Williams. I think he's done a tremendous job up there, and I
think at times he's been too criticized up there for what people perceive as not quite the
guy they wanted for the job. But he's done a tremendous job up there. I'm happy for him.
Monday night watching that game, my sister, who still lives up there, must have called me
15 times during the course of the game. (Laughter). It's still pretty exciting. And
obviously, that looms on the horizon for me personally. But it's something that is way off
in the future right now, because we've still got an awful lot of baseball to play in this
Q. Tom, Al Leiter is admittedly a bit quirky, what's your demeanor in the clubhouse?
TOM GLAVINE: Well, I caught part of Al's interview, and I guess I wouldn't describe
myself as a typical left-hander. I mean, I'm not -- at least I don't think I'm real goofy
or anything like that. I don't goof around a whole lot. I like to have fun, but at the
same time I guess I'm pretty serious about what I do. And I get criticized a lot because
people tell me: "You never smile when you're pitching"; "You don't look
like you're having any fun"; and stuff like that. I can't operate that way. It
doesn't work for me. Believe me, there are times when I'm on the mound that I wish I could
goof around, but it takes away from my intensity or my concentration. Like I said earlier,
there's a certain way that we all do things to be successful. And it's important to know
how you need to do things to be successful. And for me, I just -- out on the mound,
anyway, I can't goof around a whole lot. It takes away from what I'm trying to do. In the
clubhouse, I like to have fun. There's certainly guys that like to have more fun than I
do. I don't think I sit around and mope around a whole lot. I just kind of go with the
flow. If the timing is right, I like to joke around as much as the next guy. But if
there's something I need to be doing to prepare for my next start, I'm going to do it
rather than goofing around.
Q. Now that the regular season is over, did the strike zone ever change? Did you ever
make any adjustment or think that you had to or was that all press speculation?
TOM GLAVINE: I don't think it changed. Honestly, I cannot sit here and say that the
reason I struggled the first eight weeks of the year was because of the strike zone, or I
should say, a lack of pitches being called for me. I struggled because of the strike zone
because I was throwing too many balls in the heart of it. I don't have the stuff to get
away with that. I cannot be throwing the ball down the middle of the plate. And too many
times the first eight weeks of the year, I was doing that. And it was just a matter of
making some mechanical adjustments. I didn't know, quite honestly, from one pitch to the
next whether I was going to throw the ball on the outside corner and it would sink like I
wanted to, or I was going to cut it and throw down the middle of the plate. That's a hard
way to pitch. If you don't know where it's going, it's tough to get any rhythm or
consistency. And it seemed like the first part of the year that when I threw a ball over
the heart of the plate, it got hit hard and it was either an extra-base hit or a home run.
When I made a pitch that I wanted to make, it seemed like I would get a ground ball and it
would be out of somebody's reach or wasn't hit hard enough to get an out. It seemed like
everything that could go wrong, went wrong. And the easiest thing for me to do would be to
sit here and say it wasn't me, it was the strike zone, but that's a cop out. You've got to
look in the mirror and figure out where the problem was. And the problem was me. And the
problem was my mechanics, and it was just a matter of working on things and just getting
to the point where I got comfortable and got natural and just went out there and threw the
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