Notes: Glavine attracts buzz
Before and after his Game 2 start, veteran deals with pests
LOS ANGELES -- The sting of the losses of Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez had faded somewhat by Wednesday afternoon, when the Mets and Dodgers began their National League Division Series, and the pain had all but dissipated by the time the Mets secured their victory in Game 1. Tom Glavine, the Mets' Game 2 starter, was home in Greenwich, Conn., confident he would be on the mound on Thursday night.
Glavine was certain whatever evil force had put his fellow pitchers out of the NLDS had done its dirty work. What else could befall the Mets' rotation? Then a stinging sensation returned -- in the back of his left leg. He was seated on the couch, watching television, when he felt the pinch of fate.
Unseasonably warm weather had brought back the bugs, and a yellow jacket had taken a seat in the couch, too. It didn't care to share space with the Mets pitcher, so it stung Glavine.
His brain responded. First an "ouch," then an almost involuntary smack of the television remote put away the insect. And then alarm. Glavine could recall one other sting in his life. It was nothing. But he also recalled how his wife, Chris, had been stung -- also for the second time -- in the fall of 2004, when the family was home in Alpharetta, Ga., and how she nearly died from her allergic reaction.
"Yeah, that went through my mind," Glavine said. "I got scared."
The sting still itched on Friday when Glavine reached the visiting clubhouse in Dodger Stadium for the Mets' voluntary off-day workout. But that was the only lingering effect of the sting. No swelling, no hives -- nothing approaching what his wife experienced following her second sting.
Only when that first flash of fear had passed did Glavine apply the scare to baseball and his pending Game 2 assignment.
"Can you imagine what would have happened if I called [manager] Willie [Randolph]?" Glavine said. "'Hi, Willie. It's Glav. Uh ... you're not gonna believe this, but I'm in the hospital, and I'm not sure that I can ...' Can you imagine that? That would have been the ultimate black cloud."
Glavine never shared the story with his manager. But when Randolph learned of it from someone else, his reaction was what you might expect -- an incongruous smile.
"Yeah, unfortunately, I can imagine it," he said.
The Sting II: His six shutout innings in Game 2 a happy part of his postseason resume now, Glavine still was smarting a bit after hearing and reading how he had resurrected himself with his performance. No chip on his shoulder, he was just a tad irritated on Friday.
With relatively few players participating in Friday's workout, closer Billy Wagner facetiously asked whether Glavine could throw batting practice.
"Apparently, that's what I did last night," he said. "That's what I read -- 'batting practice fastball, batting practice curve.' How did I win? I must have been lucky. I thought velocity only counted when you wanted to win stuffed animals at a carnival. It seems like there's an awful lot of focus on what you don't do or don't have.
"I was pretty happy with six scoreless [innings].
"I know the last time I pitched in the postseason before [Thursday], I stunk, and I had some other games in the postseason when I wasn't very good. But in a lot of them, I gave my team a chance to win; and in some others, I pitched really well. It wasn't just [Thursday] night and the [World Series] clincher in 1995.
"I don't think I have to apologize."
Diplomatic Dodger: Glavine has developed a relationship with another left-handed pitcher, Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, who was at Shea Stadium for Game 1 on Wednesday, sitting in the box of Mets owner Fred Wilpon, a friend since childhood.
"We're friendly, and I know Sandy and Fred are close," Glavine said. "But we're playing his [Koufax's] team. So I asked him 'Who you rooting for?'
"He said, 'I want good baseball.'"
L.A.'s fine, the sun shines most of the time: As much as any ballpark West of the Bronx, Dodger Stadium prompts memories for current players. So many of them grew up in Southern California, among them Steve Trachsel. The Mets' starting pitcher in Game 3 is a California kid with a mental scrapbook that includes a few Dodger Stadium moments.
As the Mets took batting practice on Friday, Trachsel stood in front of the visitors' dugout, pointed and shared his memories:
To the upper deck between third and home: "The All-Star Game in 1980. All those stars, and the only one I wanted to see was Steve Garvey." Randolph was the starting second baseman for the American League.
To the upper deck in right field: "My father and I came to a couple of World Series games against the Yankees [1977, 1978 or 1981, though he couldn't recall which year]. I'm sure I was booing Willie."
To field level beyond the Dodgers' dugout: "That's where I got the chicken pox. I'm sitting there with my Little League coach, and I see these marks on my arms and hands. He said, 'You're getting the chicken pox. We better leave.' I said, 'No way. Not till the game's over.'"
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.