Tag:Tom Glavine
Posted on: May 6, 2010 8:19 pm
Edited on: May 6, 2010 9:09 pm
 

Glavine makes his next pitch

Most ironic development in the 2010 season?

Retired ace pitcher Tom Glavine, now a special assistant to Braves president John Schuerholz, signing on as a spokesman for the company that developed and licensed the technical aspects of a certain computer program to ... Questec.

As in, the computerized strike-zone grading mechanism that caused freaked-out umpires to squeeze the zone a few years back ... which nearly blew up Glavine's golden years in the game.

Funny how in life our enemies can become friends, and vice-versa, huh?

The pitching program Glavine liked well enough to sign on with is called PitchSight, and it was developed by L-3 Communications of Burlington, Mass., about a year-and-a-half ago.

In a nutshell, PitchSight is a computer-based system that has the capability of tracking a number of elements designed to aid a pitcher's growth and development. Two cameras and a computer help spit out graphs charting a pitcher's release point, pitch speed, arm angle, the break of a pitch and the location of a pitch.

The intent is that by using the program, a pitcher will be better able to repeat arm angles, pitches and other technical aspects that needs repeating to be successful.

Glavine, who won 305 games in the majors and should be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2014, likes and believes in PitchSight for several reasons.

"It's pretty simplistic -- there are not a lot of bells and whistles," he says. "You can get instantaneous feedback. You can be in the middle of a bullpen session, stop and immediately dial up a pitch and get information that is pertinent with no guesswork.

"One thing that separates it from video is that in video, there's some gray area as to what you think you're feeling and what you see when you're watching."

By its graphic nature, Glavine says, with PitchSight, "what you see is what you get. There is no guesswork."

"Virtually every year down the stretch, I'd go through a period where I wasn't comfortable," says Glavine, who also offered tips and helped tweak the program while it was in development. "Sometimes you feel way off when in actuality you may be only a little off. Sometimes you feel just a little off when in actuality you may be way off.

"Sometimes you'd watch video, but there was still room for interpretation."

Glavine thinks this program would have helped him ("I'm not saying I would have won 100 more games").

And just think, if he's right, it probably could have done so with far fewer words than it took, say, former Braves pitching coach Leo Mazzone.

"And less expletives," Glavine says, chuckling.

The system sells for $30,000, plus installation. Ken Riddle, L-3 Communications vice-president, says Boston College is among those currently testing the system. The company is hoping its system will catch on with some major-league teams, which it thinks could benefit in expediting the development of younger pitchers in minor-league systems.

As for the idea that it's revenge for Questec?

"This is absolutely something to help pitchers out," Riddle says, chuckling. "I'm not sure I'd call it revenge. It's a different application of technology."

Or, as Glavine says, "You're stealing an evaluation tool pitchers were not real fond of, and now it could be an evaluation tool that is beneficial to pitchers. That's why I like it."

Likes: Still love the XM radio baseball package where you can listen to every game every night (and the MLB Extra Innings package on the tube, too). If only XM had been around a couple of decades ago, just think how many folks could have heard Ernie Harwell then. ... How about the play of Andruw Jones this year? White Sox fans may love it, but Dodgers fans surely are thinking about how badly Jones stole Los Angeles' money. Michigan summers. ... The Hold Steady at the Belly-Up Tavern in San Diego (actually, Solana Beach) on Tuesday night. Their new disc, Heaven is Whenever, sounds great and the show was stellar. Constructive Summer and Stay Positive were among the many standout numbers in the live show. ... These opening acts for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' summer tour: Joe Cocker, Drive-By Truckers, ZZ Top, Buddy Guy, My Morning Jacket and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Now that's strong. ... Finally, season four of Friday Night Lights debuts on Friday night. Nice job, NBC, keeping it on ice for so long that it again faces long odds of getting good ratings. Talk about giving a great show no chance. Of course, there was no room on the schedule, I know, with the lame Jay Leno 10 p.m. show going.

Dislikes: Farewell, Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. What a bad week. First Ernie Harwell, now the ace of the Phillies 1950 Whiz Kids.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Mama, take this badge off of me
"I can't use it anymore
"It's gettin' dark, too dark to see
"I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door
"Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
"Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
"Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
"Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
"Mama, put my guns in the ground
"I can't shoot them anymore
"That long black cloud is comin' down
"I feel I'm knockin' on heaven's door
"Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door
"Knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door"

-- Bob Dylan, Knockin' on Heaven's Door

Posted on: June 3, 2009 6:45 pm
Edited on: June 3, 2009 9:02 pm
 

Farewell to the classy Mr. Glavine

And so it ends not with a bang, but with a whimper for Atlanta icon Tom Glavine.

Six scoreless innings in a minor-league injury-rehabilitation start Tuesday night, his velocity back up into the low-to-mid-80s and, poof. Released.

John Smoltz and now Glavine in the same year.

Thanks for the memories, fellas.

Business is cold, and the game moves on, and that's life.  What rudely interrupted Glavine's homecoming in Atlanta is the fact the Braves' offense remains sluggish and the rotation has come together very well. Probably better than they hoped, given the progress of rookie Kris Medlen and given the fact that phenom Tommy Hanson is waiting in the wings.

The Braves' staff ERA of 4.08 ranks tied for fifth in the National League. Jair Jurrjens, having an All-Star season, currently ranks sixth in the NL with a 2.59 ERA. Javier Vazquez ranks third in the NL with 86 strikeouts. Derek Lowe has six wins. Kenshin Kawakami looks like he can help. Medlen held Arizona to one run over six innings in Atlanta's 9-3 win Sunday.

This isn't to say that Atlanta's pitching is flawless. But it's been pretty darned good. And when Hanson arrives, it'll be better.

There simply is no longer room in Atlanta for a 43-year-old, rehabbing lefty who, by his own admission, is well past his peak. Especially given what the Braves really need, and now we'll see whether Nate McLouth, the speedy outfielder acquired from Pittsburgh can give it to them.

Sad, given that there is nobody more classy than Glavine in the game. But true.

If he wants to hang around, there are plenty of clubs looking for pitching. Philadelphia, the New York Mets (look out for the cab rides, Tommy!), the Chicago White Sox. ...

And if he doesn't, well, think about this: Now he and Greg Maddux will be in the same Hall of Fame class, eligible for induction together.

That would be pretty cool.

Posted on: June 13, 2008 11:14 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2008 11:54 pm
 

Somebody take these targets off Atlanta's back

Not that Atlanta's recent run of injuries has bordered on the absurd, but a baseball came zooming out of the sky to knock slugger Chipper Jones out of the lineup Friday night in Anaheim.

Just like a meteor or something.

Actually, what happened was this: Jones, leading the majors with a .414 batting average, took a cut during batting practice, drilled the ball skyward ... but it slammed into one of the batting cage poles and ricocheted straight down, slamming into his left eye. Fortunately, the Braves announced late Saturday that X-rays were negative and are listing Jones as day-to-day.

For any other team, it might have been a freak thing.

For the Braves, who took a six-game losing streak into the weekend and were an embarrassing 7-24 on the road, it was business as usual.

The Braves currently have 10 players on the disabled list -- key players, like John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton, Mark Kotsay, Mike Gonzalez, Peter Moylan and a whole host of others.

Then there's reliever Rafael Soriano, who was just activated on June 2 but still can't (or won't) pitch on consecutive days.

And then there's Jair Jurrjens, who was scratched from Wednesday's start in Chicago when he turned an ankle falling down the stairs outside of the Wrigley Field visting clubhouse.

"We've had tough luck," said Tim Hudson, the rare member of the opening day rotation still standing, was saying not long before Jones took the ball off of his coconut and was lost Friday night. "Smoltz, Soriano ... nagging injuries throughout the year.

"Glavine's down. It's tough. We're not going to throw a pity party. It seems like every team is going through it. But we've been hit with some tough ones."

Even before Jones was taken for precautionary X-rays Friday night, the Braves put Smoltz on a conference call at midday to discuss his shoulder surgery. The legendary right-hander, though finished for the season, was optimistic on the call that he will come back.

Meantime, the Braves announced that tests revealed a small tear in Glavine's elbow but that he won't need surgery and should be back around the All-Star break.

It's not good at the back end of the bullpen, either, where Moylan last year developed into one of manager Bobby Cox's most trusted set-up men. Moylan had Tommy John ligament transfer surgery earlier this season.

"His stuff was as dirty as anyone's in the game," Hudson said.

Entering this weekend, 17 disabled list moves had cost the Braves 507 games.

Likes: The Iowa Boy Scouts. Now those are scouts. ... The halo on the Big A outside Angels Stadium being lit on nights following a victory but remaining dark on nights following a loss. ... David Letterman's Top Ten Signs an NBA Game is Fixed the other night, which included: 10. Game begins 20 minutes before visiting team arrives. 7. Missed three-pointers count for two points if they're "pretty close." 3. The team loses even though it led in points, delegates and the popular vote. ... The cab that Dave O'Brien, beat man for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Mark Bowman, of MLB.com, was involved in an accident on the Dan Ryan Freeway in Chicago on Friday morning as the pair were attempting to travel to Southern California. Good news is, it was a minor fender-bender and everyone was OK. But O'Brien, vice-president of the Baseball Writers' Assn. of America, and Bowman were forced to unload their bags from the cab and frantically hail another mode of transportation right there on the freeway. A Super Shuttle picked them up.

Dislikes: Sad, sad day when Tim Russert suddenly passes away at the far-too-young age of 58. Prayers for his family.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Mama, take this badge off of me
"I can't use it anymore.
"It's gettin' dark, too dark for me to see
"I feel like I'm knockin' on heaven's door."

-- Bob Dylan, Knockin' on Heaven's Door

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com