A year later, HOF weekend has different vibe for Glavine, Maddux
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Last July when he was one of the greats going through the circus that revolves around being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, it was hard for Tom Glavine to believe.
"Everybody told us last year that coming back after you’re inducted it would be a lot more calmer, a lot more fun," the former Brave said Saturday near the first tee box of at Leatherstocking Golf Course.
But they were right.
"It is a little bit different when you come in and you don’t have to deal with all that other stuff," he said.
Part of the 2014 class along with rotation mate Greg Maddux and their manager, Bobby Cox, they are all back in Cooperstown, this time for Sunday’s ceremony for another piece of that 1990s Atlanta dominance: John Smoltz.
But after spending last year worrying about extended family members, and whether he was going to leave anyone out of his speech — "It was a lot more stress in that regard," he said — Glavine’s trip to upstate New York comes with different concerns this time around.
This year’s it’s just kind of been, my wife and I show up and ‘What time are we going to eat dinner?’ and "When’s our first cocktail?’" he said. "So it’s been pretty good."
Smoltz is pining for the time he’ll be able to have that kind of a Hall of Fame weekend. With close to 200 family members in for the event, it’s been a stressful build-up.
"I thought I could separate (it). I really did," Smoltz said. "Golf hasn’t been as relaxing as I thought it would be leading up to this. I think after this year, everything will be much easier. Everyone has been helpful, but there’s no way to not think about this."
While Glavine is enjoying the changes in his return to Cooperstown, Maddux was marveling at what the addition of Smoltz, along with classmates Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez signifies for the pitching in their era.
"It’s kind of cool," he said. "With all the hitting that was going on in the 90s and all that, to see right now, it’s kind of the pitchers all getting in with Glav last year and Randy, Pedro and Smoltzie this year. It’s pretty special."
Like so many fellow Hall of Famers did for him, Glavine imparted some advice on Smoltz. While he expects the Cy Young winner, who is the only player with at least 200 wins and 150 saves, to wake up Sunday morning with the feelings like he’s going to pitch a big game, Glavine stressed the simplest of approaches.
"Just enjoy it," he said. "It’s natural that when you get here you’re going to have a lot of things on your mind … once you’re done (with your speech) all that stuff is pretty much done and there’s nothing you can do about it except enjoy it and embrace it and have a blast with it."
Especially, if, like Glavine says, taking the stage has the feel of pitching in a high-stakes affair.
"(Then) I’ll be as relaxed as ever on Sunday with a script that hopefully goes according to plan," Smoltz said.
Though Glavine admits there is one massive challenge that comes with the ceremony.
"Putting your whole life and 20 years of baseball into 12 minutes is awfully hard to do," he said.
Smoltz has done that, and — known for his talkative nature — he’s making sure that he sticks to the script.
"I’m not going to stray too much from it, because I’ll get in trouble," he said. "I’ll use words that won’t make sense and I’ll hear about it for the rest of my life with the rest of the Hall of Famers."
Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney