7/27/2014 12:07 A.M. ET
Inductees feel nervous energy for today's enshrinement
Live coverage on MLB.com, MLB Network, At Bat begins at noon ET
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- Listening to the six men who will be inducted today in the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Class of 2014, it is definitely nervous time. Nervous for the moment, nervous for the experience, nervous for the instant they must stand up before about 50,000 fans on the stage behind the Clark Sports Center and make their individual speeches.
Tom Glavine said on Saturday that he doesn't think it'll be much like taking the mound for a big game.
"Speaking, that's not what I do. That's not what I got paid for," said Glavine, the left-hander who won 305 regular-season games and the clinching Game 6 of the 1995 World Series for the Braves over the Indians. "I don't know if any of us are 100 percent comfortable with public speaking unless you do it a lot. I'm certainly no different. That doesn't mean I haven't done it and I haven't done it OK.
"But there's a big difference walking out on that pitcher's mound because you trust what you're doing. And environments like that, the trust probably isn't as great."
Saturday was the last media availability for Glavine and fellow players Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, plus managers Joe Torre, Bobby Cox and Tony La Russa prior to today's induction ceremony.
Weather permitting -- and there is rain in the forecast -- the induction is slated to be staged about a mile from the red-bricked museum on Main Street in the heart of the village. Even if it is moved inside, it will air beginning at noon ET with MLB Tonight live from Cooperstown on MLB Network and simulcast on MLB.com and the At Bat app with the induction ceremony beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. Because of time constraints, the six inductees have been asked this year to keep their remarks to 10 minutes each.
The six men sat at individual tables for a media availability that went on for 45 minutes on Saturday.
"I'm nervous as a cat," said Torre, who managed the Yankees in six World Series, winning four of them. He can make the comparison. "People said they looked at me in the dugout and it appeared like I was unemotional, but I'm anything but that. The experience has been wonderful when you see who's around you. It's something they can't take away from you once it happens. It's unlike any experience I've ever had."
"Like I told everyone, I'm anxious, but I'm really nervous," said Thomas, the first baseman and designated hitter who played 16 of his 19 big-league seasons for the White Sox. "It's the finale and you want to leave your mark. I think we've all left our mark on the field. But I want people to understand that I do care about people. People have made me who I am. That's more important to me than anything."
"I'm getting a little nervous, I think," said Cox, who managed the Braves for 29 seasons in two stints, including a record 14 division title-winners in a row and the victory in the '95 World Series. "But I feel good. They treat you so well here. They make you so comfortable that I think everybody feels right at home and we'll get through our speeches somehow.
"I mean, it's great for the Braves. We've got three going in this year and another [potentially in John Smoltz] next year. Then it's going to be Chipper Jones' turn down the road here a little bit, too. You feel good about that. [Team president] John Schuerholz should be popping buttons everywhere. He hired us on and signed everybody. He's got to be proud of that."
Schuerholz is here along with a huge contingent of Braves personnel, including club chairman Terry McGuirk.
The Yankees and Major League Baseball had a party in Torre's honor on Saturday night at a Cooperstown establishment. Torre is MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations and chief operating officer Rob Manfred is already here. Commissioner Bud Selig always has the honor on Sunday of reading the inscriptions off all of the inductees' plaques.
La Russa, now the chief baseball officer for the D-backs and an MLB consultant after he retired from managing in 2011, has people here from all phases of his career. D-backs president Derrick Hall and GM Kevin Towers are at the Otesaga Resort Hotel. So is Walt Jocketty, the Reds' current GM, who worked with La Russa in Oakland and St. Louis, not to mention Barry Weinberg, his trainer in both places.
"Oh, yeah, I'm nervous," said La Russa, third on the all-time list with 2,728 wins in 33 years managing the White Sox, A's and Cardinals. "If you're not nervous you're not ready. I like nerves. I like discomfort. I don't like to be bored about anything."
Maddux, though, looked unfazed on Saturday.
"I'll be nervous big time when it's time to be nervous," said Maddux, winner of 355 games in 23 seasons, 10 of them with the Braves. "Right now, I'm OK."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.