During his year away from Braves broadcasts, Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine spent a summer in Massachusetts with his mother, Mildred. The quality moments together included trips to her favorite beach restaurants and his nephew’s baseball games – which are activities she had not done much since Glavine’s father died.
“I guess more than anything, just spending time with my mom,” Glavine said about what he’ll cherish most from last summer.
Mildred died in December. She was 86 years old.
When Glavine decided not to be part of the Braves’ broadcast team in 2022, he felt convicted in his decision. His mother’s death further confirmed this.
“It turned out to be perfect timing, so to speak,” he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution over the phone. “Obviously, if you have a crystal ball and I knew that was gonna happen, it would’ve made even more sense. The fact that I made the decision, was able to spend a bunch of time with her this summer, and now ultimately have her pass away, I’m certainly glad I did it. With all that that went on, it was the right thing at the right time.”
Now, Glavine is looking forward to his return to the booth.
Glavine, the legendary Braves pitcher who won two Cy Young Awards and a World Series, will be part of the Bally Sports South and Southeast broadcast team for Braves games. (The company plans to release its full group of broadcasters for Braves games in the near future.) Glavine estimates he will work 35 to 40 games as an analyst in the booth, which will feature new play-by-play man Brandon Gaudin.
Glavine’s games will come in every month but July. He still has a sister, a brother and family he enjoys seeing in the Northeast, and he wants to spend time with them during the summer.
But he’s excited to be back.
“I’m probably no different than most people, right?” Glavine said. “I mean, on the one hand, I thoroughly enjoy being retired. On the other hand, I like having stuff to do to look forward to. It’s certainly something that I know and have been passionate about all my life. Do I miss it on a daily basis? Probably not. Do I miss it in the sense that if I was getting ready to do it, do I have that anticipation of doing it? Sure. Did I miss that anticipation? Yeah. I enjoy having something to do, to look forward to.
“But at the same time, (baseball) being something that I obviously have a long history in and understand and was pretty good at, it’s fun. It’s fun for me to kind of look at the game, and as I’m getting ready to do a series, dissect what pitchers are doing, dissect what hitters are doing, and matchups and things like that.”
At the beginning of this year, Bally Sports reached out to Glavine to gauge his interest in returning. He left the door open last year and never walked away from broadcasting entirely. Glavine told the network he was leaning toward returning, and the sides began ironing out details. (Diamond Sports Group, which operates under the Bally Sports name, announced on Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In a statement, MLB said it expects Diamond to televise every game it committed to during the bankruptcy process. In the event that doesn’t occur, MLB said it’s ready to produce and distribute games to fans in local markets).
Glavine and his wife reside in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, so travel is one factor. Glavine, who spent 22 years in the big leagues, already has spent much of his adult life away from home, so he wanted to keep it to a minimum. He had to talk to his wife to make sure she was comfortable with his workload on Braves broadcasts this season.
Glavine’s return to the broadcast team is big news for Braves fans, who hold him in high regard for his success as a player. Over 17 years in Atlanta, Glavine posted a 3.41 ERA over 518 starts. Glavine, who turns 57 this month, also is remembered for pitching eight innings of one-hit baseball as the Braves defeated Cleveland 1-0 in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series. He was named World Series MVP that year.
Glavine is a Hall of Famer. But he knows something as well as anyone: That success never guaranteed that he would be a terrific broadcaster. He began broadcasting Braves games in 2010, first working with Chip Caray (now departed) and Joe Simpson, one of the current radio broadcasters. Since then, Glavine has learned a lot about the craft.
“It was an evolution,” he said. “I don’t care how successful you are in the game, how versed you are in the game. When you start getting on TV, I think most of us, (the) first thought is you don’t want to say anything stupid, right? Even though you bring a résumé with you, there’s still always that fear. Once you get over that, then I think it’s just kind of a lesson in learning what to say or what you want to say, how to say concisely, and kind of build on that. I think initially when I started doing games, I probably didn’t talk enough – I know I didn’t talk enough.
“You learn where to jump in, how to jump in, how to get your point across quickly. If you don’t, then you learn how to kind of be quiet while action’s taking place, and then if your point was important enough, pick it back up. I think all those nuances, those are things you kind of learn and get more comfortable with as time goes on. I don’t care what your résumé is, it’s not easy to jump in (to broadcasting). The most common mistakes are either guys don’t talk enough or they talk over the action too much.”
This season marks the first with the pitch clock. You might be surprised to learn that Glavine actually is accustomed to it: His son, Peyton, is a pitcher in the Nationals organization, and Tom has watched his games. “I’ll tell you what: They’re crisp, they’re fast,” Glavine said. “They’re over in a hurry.”
That part – speeding up the games by removing the dead time – is good, Glavine said.
“Will there be challenges? Will there be things that people are not happy about? One-hundred percent,” he added. “Everybody will sit here and tell you that the pitch clock is going to be great and games aren’t going to take four hours anymore and la la la la la, and the minute their team loses on a pitch-clock violation, everybody’s gonna be livid, right? Those are the things you’re gonna have to live with. I can sit here and tell you I hope the games aren’t decided on the clock, but I think I know I’m gonna be wrong about that.
“By and large, I’m in favor of it. When I was playing, I would ask you, ‘Why do I need a pitch clock? If you can’t throw a pitch in 15 seconds, what are you doing?’”
Glavine followed that with this: He’s less enthusiastic about the clock with runners on base. Glavine, who once was a young pitcher, said inexperienced pitchers are taught to slow games in stressful situations. But those young pitchers now will need to keep working with the clock in mind, which could prove difficult.
Like pitchers, Glavine also will adjust to change. Over the offseason, Caray departed to call St. Louis Cardinals games. Glavine said he texted Caray, with whom he built a great rapport.
“I’ll miss Chip. I loved working with Chip,” Glavine said. “For whatever views people have of him, and I know they’re varying, (but) I think for the most part, though, people enjoyed listening to him. From my standpoint, he was so great to work with. He did such a good job of, for me anyway, teeing me up for things to talk about. And that’s not always easy. I think Chip had a healthy respect for what he brought to the table, but also what me or (analyst Jeff Francoeur) bring to the table as guys who played the game. He freely admitted he never played the game, so he doesn’t understand some things, so he relied on us for a lot of those things.”
Bally Sports hired Gaudin, a lifelong Braves fan. He certainly watched many of Glavine’s games growing up. Now, the two will work together.
Glavine said he has exchanged texts with Gaudin. He’s looking forward to sharing a booth with him, and said there’ll be a natural adjustment because everyone is different.
“That’s a very coveted job,” Glavine said. “Once it was apparent Chip wasn’t coming back, I knew there’d be no shortage of people to choose from. To choose him, and a Braves fan, it’s gonna be great. I’ve talked to a few people about him – nothing but good things to say, and (they say he’s) easy to work with.”
Braves fans are fond of Glavine for his illustrious career with the team. Broadcasting allows him to share his deep knowledge of the game with fans. He enjoys it.
After a year away, Glavine will return to Braves fans’ TV sets and living rooms.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I enjoy doing the games. Certainly a lot more fun when you have a team that’s exciting and fun to watch. So all that’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to getting back into it. Taking the year off certainly was the right thing for me to do at that time. But I enjoy being around the game and being a part of it, so I’m excited about it.”
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