Sour Return For Former Atlanta Star

Walking out to the mound, his team characteristically squandering an opportunity to score in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves, Tom Glavine crossed the third base foul line to a chorus of boos from a select few Turner faithful who were ignorant to the 242 career wins Glavine donated to a team that has won 11 straight division titles.

"For now, I'm disappointed in how it went, but I'm glad it's over with," said Glavine to the Associated Press.

The more educated Braves fans soon overtook the few booers, and a predominantly appreciative applause came out of the stands of Turner Field when Tom Glavine took the mound to pitch against the organization that he spent 19 years helping to glory.

"I'm glad he got the ovation that he did because there's no one more responsible for the Braves being where they are today," Chipper Jones said to the Associated Press.

The Brave faithful had more reasons to cheer with Glavine on the mound, as the Braves stung the now-Met ace for six earned runs in 3 1/3 innings in a game hyped up by the media more than anyone.

One could predict before the game that with Glavine being in Atlanta all those years, the Braves knew what was coming at them from the veteran lefty. Obviously, something along those lines was true. Glavine's trouble began in the second inning when he gave up a solo shot to Andruw Jones. The next inning, Haracio Ramirez made it to third on a misplay by Cliff Floyd in left field. The play was ruled a triple, and Ramirez ended up coming home on a Rafael Furcal double. Furcal was plated by a Gary Sheffield double two batters later.

In the fourth, Glavine let up a homerun to the red-hot Brave catcher Javy Lopez and then allowed Vinny Castilla to score on a Rafael Furcal ground rule double. Glavine was then pulled, and Jaime Cerda promptly allowed Furcal to score on a homerun by Sheffield. Cerda went on to allow three more runs, and the day was over for Tom Glavine.

This Mets team, the team Glavine left the first place Braves for, has $40 million worth of players on the disabled list, including the two players they were banking on creating a majority of their offense this season, Mo Vaughn and Mike Piazza. In fact, both are doubtful to return to the lineup this season, putting the Mets in a forced rebuilding mode with Jason Phillips at first base and Vance Wilson as Glavine's battery mate.

Contrast that to Glavine's former team, who boast the league's leading hitter in Gary Sheffield, who is a member of the game's best outfield that also includes Andruw and Larry Jones. They also still have the right-handed portion of the three aces of which Glavine was a part of in Atlanta, perennial 20 game winner Greg Maddux and now closer extraordinaire John Smoltz.

Obviously, the two teams are going in different directions. The Braves lead the division by a wide margin; the Mets are beginning to rebuild. Is it possible that if he were still in Atlanta Tom Glavine would be wearing another World Series ring after 2003 after winning another WS MVP? Yes. However, his role with the Mets is totally different than what it would be with the Braves.

With young pitchers such as Jae Seo and Pat Strange already in the majors and Aaron Heilman and Jason Griffiths on the way, Glavine will take the role of mentor, much like he was to Damian Moss last year, who has since departed to San Francisco. The Mets can only hope he can help usher in a new era for them, one absent of overpaid, over the hill players.

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