Tom Glavine on Hall of Fame: ‘I’m not defined by baseball’
The glacial cold that has gripped the Northeast hasn’t quite made it down to Johns Creek, Ga., but with temperatures in the 30’s the Deep South is not exactly balmy this day.
Tom Glavine is just off a plane and getting ready for a day of family obligations. He’s less than a week away from learning whether he will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first – and hopefully, only – year on the ballot.
But Glavine, the pride of Billerica, Mass., seems more concerned about one of his son’s youth hockey games. He coaches the team, after all, so the pressure is on.
“I’m not defined by baseball,” said Glavine in a telephone interview. “I’d love for the Hall of Fame to happen, but if it doesn’t, my life won’t change. I’ll still be coaching my boy’s games.”
Glavine’s life these days revolves around two things. There’s his job as a special assistant to Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz and occasional TV and radio broadcaster. But more importantly, there’s his family.
Glavine and his wife, Chris, have five kids. A son from Chris’ first marriage, Jonathan, attends the University of Georgia. A daughter from Tom’s first marriage, Amber, attends Boston College.
Two sons they had together, high-schooler Peyton and seventh-grader Mason, are heavily involved in hockey and baseball. And a fifth son, Kienan Patrick Glavine, whom the couple adopted at birth, is now four years old and running the house.
This is why the Billerica High Hall of Famer doesn’t have time to worry about the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“I honestly don’t know how the voting will go,” said Glavine, who will turn 48 in March. “From my standpoint, if you talk in terms of a body of work, I like my chances. I’m happy with my career.
Braves’ Chipper Jones to speak at Furman
An Atlanta Braves legend will be stopping in Greenville to speak at FurmanUniversity’s Upstate Diamond Classic early next year.
Chipper Jones will be speaking at the Feb. 12 event, which will benefit the university’s baseball program.
Jones spent his entire 19-year career with the Braves and won a World Series title with them in 1995.
The event will kick off Furman’s 2014 baseball season, which begins on Feb. 14 against Norfolk State at Fluor Field in downtown Greenville.
Tickets to the Upstate Diamond Classic are $100 and includes dinner.
An Ohio ballpark offers a lesson
The time and public treasure invested in the mixed-use development known as The Banks is a cautionary tale for taxpayers in Cobb County, which has signed on to fund about half of the Atlanta Braves’ new $672 million stadium in the Cumberland area.
The Braves say they will privately develop 45 acres around the ballpark into a $400 million mixed-use entertainment district that could include a hotel and office space, housing, retail and an amphitheater, in addition to bars and restaurants — a development, they say, that will be a year-round destination.
The Cincinnati example differs from Cobb in that local governments, not the team, control the land being developed. But from the outset the intention was the same: to have a private company build an attraction for all seasons.
Yet it still took cash from taxpayers to make that happen — on what is the most attractive and valuable real estate Cincinnati has to offer.
And not all of the grandiose vision has been realized. Despite the public grants, loans and promised future tax abatements, a boutique hotel and office space have not been built. The development currently consists of 300 apartment units and a dozen bars and restaurants.
Cincinnati officials say Cobb taxpayers should be wary of promises that involve a big payoff from private development without accompanying public investment.
Todd Portune, a Hamilton County commissioner since 2001 who also served three terms on Cincinnati’s City Council in the 1990s, said The Banks has been a net positive for downtown.
But Portune said the development is still missing retail shopping it needs for long-term success. In recent years, downtown Cincinnati has lost its mall, has been given notice that Saks Fifth Avenue will leave in 2016, and is under threat that Macy’s may also bolt. Yet none of those stores has expressed interest in relocating to The Banks.
When asked what advice he’d give to Cobb County, Portune said taxpayers should brace for more public investment than meets the eye.
“I’d say that whatever promises are being made are probably grossly overstated,” Portune said. “Interject a healthy dose of caution, especially in terms of how much you’re relying on projections of future development that will stem from building a stadium.
“And in respect to the development … whatever you build has got to be sustainable.” If it’s just trendy, he said, “it’s going to be attractive to a narrow customer base and you’re catering to the most fickle audience you can possibly have.”
While mixed-use developments have sprung up around stadiums and arenas in other cities, no one has been able to do what the Braves hope to accomplish: open both at the same time. The Cincinnati Reds’ Great American Ball Park, for example, opened in 2003 while The Banks opened in 2011.
The Braves want the bulk of their development to be ready for the first pitch in the new stadium in 2017.