Cole Hamels Q&A: On Braves’ appeal, idolizing Tom Glavine

New veteran starter Cole Hamels spoke with local media at Saturday's Chop Fest, his first in-person comments since signing with the Braves.

Here are some of the topics Hamels covered:

Q: What made the Braves an appealing destination? And did you embrace the idea of mentoring some of the younger pitchers?

A: You want the opportunity to win. And my first year going into free agency, it was really just a matter of seeing where I could fit in. This group has amazing talent and great personalities. I've respected Freddie Freeman for so long. I've competed against him for so long. You see the group that the organization has built. To be part of it and see what I can bring — not only what I can do on the field, but what I can try to do in the clubhouse with a lot of these guys — when I was young, I was fortunate to have an organization that looked into what veteran leadership is. They surrounded me with some of the best players and pitchers I've ever been around with Roy Halladay, (Roy) Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Jamie Moyer. Those are great guys to learn from and I think it helped me elevate my game and become a better pitcher.

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So that’s something I know is where I’m at to be able to do. Hopefully I can introduce some of the experiences I have, what’s gotten me to where I am today, and see if guys can learn from some of the advice I have. Along with being able to pitch with some of the most talented pitchers. It’s going to be fun. We’re going to work hand-in-hand. They’re going to elevate me because there’s something about competition that’s so great in this game. When you have that internal competition on a pitching staff, it’s going to bring out the best in everybody. And that’s how you win. Let alone the offense they’ve been able to create. It’s an exciting time to be a player here.


» Mike Soroka
» Ronald Acuna
» Freddie Freeman
» Read the entire series

Q: Brian McCann compared Max Fried to a younger you. Do you see those similarities?

A: He throws a lot harder than I did back then (laughs). I respect Brian McCann so much. I wish I'd had an opportunity to pitch to him. We've developed a really good relationship as competitors. So when he says something like that, I take it to heart. It means a lot. So that's where I know I can hopefully step in and provide Max with any sort of insight I possibly can. I'd love to make him better. He's already really, really good. Just those finer points that can help a pitcher develop their repertoire and become that All-Star caliber pitcher and a successful postseason pitcher. I think that's something that's in the cards for him and he's going to have a long career.

Q: It’s been a while since your days in Philadelphia, but how much does the familiarity with the teams, cities and ballparks help?

A: It's great. I know this. For 10 years, I got pretty familiar with this division. I know teams change over, players change, but it's similar environments. I always feel comfortable pitching in the NL East against these teams. Now that I'm not pitching against Atlanta, I've always enjoyed being in the city and being able to pitch here. So it's probably better I'll be in this jersey. The fans will appreciate it more. But it is. You want familiarity, a routine. I'm very routine-oriented. I'm getting back into what I know and what I'm accustomed to.

Q: Looking forward to that first start in Philly in a Braves uniform?

A: It's going to be fun. I have the utmost respect for them. I was blessed to be able to play there. But I grew up watching the Braves in the 90s. Grew up trying to emulate Tom Glavine as much as possible. So it's special to wear the same jersey of someone I grew up idolizing. I'm sure he'll be announcing some of them. So to have him in the booth, to have those guys around, that's a special moment for somebody who really watched the Braves as a kid.

Q: So Glavine was a guy you tried to emulate?

A: The change-up, being left-handed. I grew up in San Diego and the Padres had Sterling Hitchcock. But there weren't too many left-handed pitchers you could watch on TV. Since the Braves were on TBS 24/7, he was the guy as a kid I tried not to miss those games. I wanted to see what he did, how he did it, try to emulate his mechanics. He was one of the best. Who doesn't want to watch one of the best pitchers in the game and try to be like him? As you get older, you create your own identity. But he was somebody that I really looked at and wanted to have some similarities.