Tom Glavine, I forgive you.
I know you don't care, but I need to say it.
So there. I said it. I forgive you.
Four years ago tonight I went to bed with the uneasy, yet hopeful excitement of a dramatic final day of the baseball season just hours away. Sure the Mets were in the throws of a nasty tailspin. Yes, they had lost five in a row before John Maine dialed up a season-saving one-hitter on the season's penultimate day, but their was still reason for optimism. Unlike the Red Sox and Braves month-long slumps, the Mets were playing well most of September, 2007. They had won nine of eleven to start the month. And despite dropping the next five, they swept the Marlins in Florida before coming back to Shea Stadium for their final seven games against the Nats, Cardinals and Marlins. Then the losing started. And all the while, the Phillies and Rockies kept winning. Colorado went an absurd 14-1 down the stretch and slammed shut the Mets escape hatch, the wild card, that had appeared a lock just weeks earlier. The Phillies were seven games back of the Mets on September, 12th but they went 12-4 to get to the final day tied with the Mets for first in the NL East.
One of the things I love most about being a sports fan is the angst. I enjoy being nervous. I love not knowing what's going to happen. Yes, it's a little sadistic, but I believe it comes with the territory, so I embrace it. When I woke up the morning of September 30th, 2007, I was looking forward to four hours of angst. After all, this is what baseball is supposed to be, dramatic, romantic, climactic.
I never really cared for Tom Glavine. He was a Brave. Even as a Met, I thought of him as a Brave. When he first signed with the Mets I would tell my friends, "I bet the Braves are paying him $3 million a year to be a spy and when we need him the most, he's going to turn on us." Despite all that, when Glavine took the mound that day, I was hopeful and ready for some drama and angst.
Then this happened:
H. Ramirez walked; Uggla forced H. Ramirez (second to shortstop); Hermida singled to right [Uggla to third]; Cabrera singled to left [Uggla scored, Hermida to second]; Ross doubled to right [Hermida scored, Cabrera scored, Ross scored
(error by Glavine) (no RBI)]; Jacobs singled to left; Treanor walked [Jacobs to second]; de Aza singled to left [Jacobs to third, Treanor to second]; Willis was hit by a pitch [Jacobs scored, Treanor to third, de Aza to second]; only the second time in 20 years that Glavine has hit a batter with the bases loaded; SOSA REPLACED GLAVINE (PITCHING); H. Ramirez struck out; Uggla doubled to left [Treanor scored, de Aza scored, Willis to third]; Hermida grounded out (first unassisted); 7 R, 6 H, 1 E, 2 LOB. Marlins 7, Mets 0.
And just like that it was over. No drama. No romance. No climax. Not even any angst.
I had gone into my office that day to watch the game in peace and quiet. There was no peace. There was no quiet. There was only anger. This was a team that less than a year before was on the edge of trip to the World Series. Now they were a historic laughing stock. And to top it all off, Tom Glavine ruined my day. He crapped all over my 4 hours of angst and drama. And, oh by the way, the Nats gave no resistance to the Phillies, so there was hardly a moment of "Well, the Phillies are losing so there's still a chance we play tomorrow." The day was a total dud.
Fast-forward nearly four years to the day. Red Sox fans entered the final day of the season feeling the same way Mets fans had in '07. A cesspool of anger, nerves, hope and trepidation swirling in the pit of your stomach. But unlike my day, Sox fans got an E-Ticket to a 5 and half hour roller coaster ride. Momentum swings in their own game, nothing but good news coming from the Yankees game, a diversion and time-to-catch-my-breath rain delay followed by one bad development after another, climaxed by a pair of death blows in a three minute span.
This is when it hit me. Tom Glavine did me a favor. He put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger. Conversely, last night Red Sox fans suffered. It probably felt like someone who had been lying on their death bed for six months, hoping the doctor would bring good news. There were moments of hope and reasons to think they would be OK. Then, the doctor returned with the grim look on his face and relayed the worst news possible. I don't think I could have taken it.
All the times I had said in the past that I wanted the angst and the drama, I never meant I wanted it to end in a loss. I meant '86-Mets-vs-the-Astros-in-game-6 kind of drama. Or Broncos-vs-Packers-Super-Bowl kind of angst. But not last night. That was painful. Long, drawn out pain that capped a historically bad month of pain and misery.
So, I forgive you, Tom Glavine. Thank you for putting the proverbial bullet in my brain four years ago.
Glavine (L) 1/3 IP, 5H, 7R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 0K never looked so good