Yikes. Two Braves posts in a row. I hope they don't take away my Mets fan card.
I felt, though, that I had to comment on the John Smoltz situation. Earlier this week, Smoltz announced that he was going to have surgery on his throwing shoulder, ending his season. The speculation is that this might be too much to come back from, and it might have ended his career as well...but Smoltz says he wants to come back.
What bothers me about this is that it sort of messes up what could have been a great story - Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine all retiring at the end of this year, and all (in theory) going into the Hall of Fame together in five years.
This brings up a couple of things. First of all, yes, I think all three are Hall of Famers. Whether or not they are all first-ballot Hall of Famers is debatable, but I agree with others (most notably Tim Kurkjian, I think) who say that the voters will have a "sense of the moment" and put all three in together if the opportunity presents itself.
And, obviously, it's still possible. None of the three has said this will be their definitive last year, and it's still possible that even if Glavine and Maddux retire, Smoltz will not be able to come back.
The sad thing is, I hate to see Smoltz go out like this. Unlike the subject of yesterday's entry, Chipper Jones, I've never hated Smoltz. I've always sort of respected him, while hating the team he's played for. Part of the reason is because he's never been absolutely dominant over the Mets - they've gotten to him over the years. It was Maddux and Glavine who killed the Mets, Smoltz was a once-in-a-while killer...but beatable. Even as a closer. So it's too bad that he couldn't return this year and finish out from the bullpen again, or go out a winner as a starter.
It's like the Mike Piazza situation, which I haven't had a chance to comment on yet. It's one thing to retire unexpectedly after an injury, it's a whole different story to have your retirement cross the wires quietly. (Was there even a press conference? I never saw any video, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. This came right during my busy point of the year.)
But neither guy, both of whom are headed for the Hall, was able to go out on his own terms. And that's always a sad thing. Hopefully Smoltz will make it back and be able to gut out another year, at least. Piazza wasn't even given a chance.