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Glavine Knows All About the Doubters

October 05, 2000|ROSS NEWHAN

ST. LOUIS — The division series between the Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals resumes today with Tom Glavine (21-9) facing Darryl Kile (20-9) in a matchup of the National League's only 20-game winners. There is far more to it than that, of course. With the Cardinals having won the opener of the best-of-five series, it is imperative for Glavine and the Braves to salvage a split before returning to Turner Field for Game 3 on Saturday.

The Braves have won nine consecutive division titles, but they carry the burden of having won only one World Series in that span, and a wipeout in this series would renew the view of many that they have accomplished nothing--despite those nine division titles.

It's a familiar subject, and Glavine said people don't realize how hard it is simply to reach the playoffs every year, to negotiate a 162-game schedule, how any team is only an injury or two away from failing. The Braves, for instance, had to overcome the loss of Andres Galarraga and Javier Lopez last year and John Smoltz this year.

"People assume from the start of spring training that we'll be in the playoffs," Glavine said. "We've created the expectations by what we've done, and I guess that's better than when I first got to Atlanta and the expectations were that we'd lose 100 games every year.

"If I retire with only the one world championship, I would still be extremely proud to have been a part of what this organization has been able to do. But there's no question that another world championship would take away a lot of the negative talk. There's no question I would feel a lot better if I had another ring to go along with the one."


Reflecting Wednesday on Rick Ankiel's record five wild pitches in the third inning of Tuesday's game, Cardinal catcher Carlos Hernandez said:

"Now I know what it's like to play soccer. I never was a goalie."

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