Smoltz wants fan support for Glavine

Smoltz wants fan support for Glavine

ATLANTA -- When John Smoltz was opposing his close friend Greg Maddux on May 9, he had no problem with the impressive standing ovation that the Turner Field faithful presented the former Braves hurler.

Nor would he object to the fans showing the same sort of appreciation to Tom Glavine on Thursday night. As a matter of fact, Smoltz is crossing his fingers and hoping that for the second time in two weeks, one of his closest friends receives the support that he deserves from Braves fans.

"[Glavine] absolutely deserves a three-minute standing ovation for what he's brought to this town," said Braves manager Bobby Cox, who is looking forward to seeing Smoltz and Glavine oppose each other for the third time this season in Thursday night's series finale against the Mets.

While pitching in Atlanta from 1987-2002, Glavine recorded 242 wins, collected two National League Cy Young Awards and helped the Braves capture 11 consecutive division titles.

Yet, since he joined the Mets in 2003, he's heard more boos than cheers at Turner Field. It's almost as if the fans have forgotten that he's the man who limited the Indians to one hit in eight scoreless innings of the clinching sixth game of the 1995 World Series.

"I know the ovation is going to come in such an incredible way when his days are done, that it's going to blow him away, and rightfully so," said Smoltz, who will be attempting to win his 200th game in Thursday's showdown against Glavine.

Cox believes that some of the fans' animosity still stems from the fact that they remember that Glavine was a key union member in the days that led up to the strike that canceled the final two months of the 1994 season.

When asked if he believes it's impossible for Braves fans to cheer for one of their former legends when he's wearing a Mets uniform, Smoltz responded, "So is Julio."

Smoltz's response was directed at the fact that Julio Franco, who only played four full seasons in Atlanta, has been shown nothing but the utmost respect since joining the Mets last year.

Although they say they were in separate foursomes, Smoltz and Glavine did play golf on the same Atlanta-area course on Wednesday. Their friendship, which began when they were members of the 1988 Atlanta rotation, has only strengthened throughout the years.

Thus, it's understandable when Smoltz says it bothers him every time he hears Glavine get booed in Atlanta.

"It bothers me, but that's everybody's personal right," Smoltz said. "He'll deal with it. He won't be hardened by it. He'll just be bettered by it."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.