|Glavine prepares for No. 300|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 27 July 2007 12:07|
``I anticipate a sigh of relief,'' Glavine said.
He will have earned that.
At 41, in his 20th major league season, Glavine is poised to become baseball's 23rd 300-game winner. Only he knows what has gone into reaching this point.
``Anything you try to accomplish, you understand the work that goes into it,'' he said. ``It's something I never thought I'd have the opportunity to do.''
Glavine's career started modestly with two wins after being called up by Atlanta in 1987 and a 7-17 record in his first full season the next year. It was not exactly head-turning stuff.
``I got my brains bashed in in my first game,'' Glavine said. ``I won my second start. The next year, I won seven. The first year and a half were tough. I learned how to handle not performing well. My approach for the rest of my career was formulated in that first 1 1/2 years.
``I had the luxury of being on bad teams and I knew I would pitch every five days. I could develop and get better down the road. You realize this is not an easy game as much as you want it to be and you won't be successful all the time. You learn to deal with bad times. There are bad times and lots of them. In the long run, it makes you a better player and a better person.''
Glavine never won fewer than 10 games again until he signed as free agent with the New York Mets in 2003. By then, he was at 242 wins and he could see the goal. He won just nine games in his first season with the Mets but that did not shake his belief that one day he'd reach 300.
``I don't think I felt that,'' he said. ``The concern is getting hurt. I'm 4,000 innings into this thing. You wonder how many innings are left.''
He knows the significance of the accomplishment.
``It's hard not to step back when you've been in this pursuit and the small list of pitchers who have accomplished it,'' he said. ``The names on that list are pretty special. To look at myself and to think I have an opportunity to join that company, it's very humbling, very exciting, very cool.''
Glavine came into the 2007 season with 290 wins and said he went about his business as usual for a while. ``At 290, you're still far enough off that you don't think about it,'' he said.
That changed after he won five games.
``At 295, the clock in my head started going,'' he said. ``You start anticipating. You look at that number and you try to get to that number. Now that I'm where I am, it's easier to do. I'm in the moment.''
Glavine's first chance comes next Tuesday in Milwaukee. He's also scheduled to start a week from Sunday in Chicago. In a perfect world, he said, he'd pitch a complete game shutout at home, but he's not picky about where and when No. 300 occurs.
The last pitcher to reach 300 was longtime Glavine teammate Greg Maddux. Will more follow?
``It's hard for me to think we won't (have other 300-game winners),'' he said. ``Nobody would have looked at me 20 years ago and thought we'd be here, having this discussion.''
Glavine said with the emphasis on offense and bullpens, achieving 300 will be more difficult in the future. ``The biggest factor will be staying healthy,'' he said.
Next on the list of pitchers with a shot is 300 is Arizona's Randy Johnson, who, at age 43, is at 264 and has battled back problems for the last several seasons.