The Mind of Mussina*

One of the early stories of the baseball season has been the splendid performances of older "cerebral" pitchers Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux,  Mike Mussina, and Curt Schilling. This Times article focuses on Mussina and the adjustments he has made recently which have aided his newfound success. It’s a testament to the baseball intelligence and will-power of Mussina that he’s changed his approach as his body has aged. Certainly, Schilling has made similar adjustments this season. And Maddux and Glavine have made careers of out-thinking their opponents. I’m rooting hard for three of these four pitchers to continue their remarkable runs. The other one? Not so much. But I recognize that all of them are brilliant at their craft.

*This is in no way a plug for that awful brainless show on Comedy Central in which the guy makes unfunny jokes about ethnic stereotypes and thinks that because they’re politically incorrect and therefore "shocking", they’re funny. That guy? I don’t think he puts too much thought into his craft.

29 comments… add one
  • That Mind of Mencia guy does suck.

    NYYFan in Boston April 25, 2006, 2:19 pm
  • Wow. “Schilling” and “cerebral” in the same post, the same sentence at that, from a YF to boot.
    How’s that water in San Francisco, Nick? They spiking that sh*t?

    SF April 25, 2006, 3:06 pm
  • And he’s on just before Jon Stewart. Him and Spade. Thank you very little Comedy Central.

    YF April 25, 2006, 3:11 pm
  • it was in quotation marks, SF. But, yes, the water is spiked and The Grateful Dead have never been better.
    I’m willing to give Schilling credit for baseball intelligence, which doesn’t translate into worldly intelligence. Heck, Bill James once rated Joe Morgan as #1 in baseball intelligence. His broadcasts reveal him lacking in other areas.

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 3:11 pm
  • Morgan’s broadcasts don’t exactly reveal a whole lot of baseball intelligence, either.

    SF April 25, 2006, 3:46 pm
  • Yeah, but you also mention Maddux, Glavine, and Mussina in the same “cerebral” context, so it was hard to tell if there was sarcasm in there or genuine sentiment.

    SF April 25, 2006, 3:50 pm
  • “Hey, guys! You know who’s crazy? [Insert ethnicity here] people! That’s right, I said [Insert ethnicity here]! [Insert ethnicity here] people don’t even realize how crazy they are! Especially when they try to relate to [Insert another ethnicity here] people!”

    airk April 25, 2006, 4:03 pm
  • yeah, the quotation marks were there because often a sportswriter will call a player “cerebral” because he’s read a John Grisham novel. The standards are low for what makes an athlete an intellectual.
    I’m being a snob.

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:10 pm
  • James’ ratings of baseball intelligence were based on players performances in certain areas of baseball. If memory serves me correctly, fielding and baserunning were weighted heavily. Morgan was superb at these things. When he talks about baseball, he does not sound so smart.

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:13 pm
  • “If they don’t start hitting, the Cubs aren’t going to win here.”
    But they did hit nd they did win….Joe MOrgan is the Yoda of baseball!

    walein April 25, 2006, 4:15 pm
  • “The standards are low for what makes an athlete an intellectual.
    I’m being a snob”.
    Wow, Nick.

    Brad April 25, 2006, 4:16 pm
  • Morgan may not come across as that brilliant about baseball, but at least he’s no Keith Hernandez.

    SF April 25, 2006, 4:18 pm
  • Brad, with your academic credentials, the media would call you the Ludwig Wittgenstein of baseball. All I’m saying is that sportswriters bandy around the words “cerebral” and “intellectual” when they discover a player is into doing the NY Times crossword.
    Again, I’m being a snob. Sorry.

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:20 pm
  • off topic. Brad, how’d the try-out go?

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:24 pm
  • I think Nick is right. Sportswriters default to the “cerebral” descriptive if they catch a player with a book, no matter how Seussian. It’s a stock description and as such has become nearly meaningless. I imagine Nick would admit that there are plenty of intelligent athletes (or at least some intelligent athletes ;) ), it’s just that the way sportswriters decide who are the smart ones ends up being determined based on incredibly superficial and easily describable levels, i.e. the history novel on the locker shelf. If anything, I read Nick’s comments more as an indictment of the sportswriting profession itself, not of the players. Nick may intend otherwise.

    SF April 25, 2006, 4:24 pm
  • I meant what SF said.

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:28 pm
  • mussina’s numbers so far are on pace with his 02′ numbers through 4 starts. he faded a bit at the end of july and into august that year. had a short and bad october and has looked old ever since. if he tops out at 18 wins this year, i’m not sure he’s worth the 19 million he’s getting. i think the guys a pro’s pro and it’s a shame he’ll end his career ringless, but that knuckle curve thing will keep him pitching into his 40’s.

    sf rod April 25, 2006, 4:31 pm
  • “i think the guys a pro’s pro and it’s a shame he’ll end his career ringless”

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:32 pm
  • Hey, thanks for asking Nick. The try-out went really well. The first day was especially nice because it was raining out, so it was held in the Yale field house. No bad bounce or surprises there! The second day was hitting, footwork and arm strenght, and that went pretty well too.
    The skinny is that they gave me the backup third base job, but it would mean that I have to pretty much quit my job or go to just part-time. That puts a little strain on the rest of my life, and I have not made up my mind yet.
    They’ve given me until the 5th of May to decide, but they call every day to find out. I’m not big on being backup, especially for what I have to do to take the job. The pay doesn’t even make up twenty percent of what I’d lose on going part time at work, and I’m not even guaranteed to play.
    I’ve already been through this once out of college and on the cape, and it’s a real pain.
    I could do it, and play my ass off when I get the chance, but for me, the decision is not as clear-cut right now.
    But the short is, yes, I made it.

    Brad April 25, 2006, 4:35 pm
  • Congratulations Brad! Whatever you decide, a big pat on the back from everyone here at the YFSF family. If you do choose to play, we’d love to hear all about it in this space. Keep us posted!

    YF April 25, 2006, 4:45 pm
  • hey, congratulations! Man, that sounds like a hard decision. Good luck in whatever path you take.

    NickYF April 25, 2006, 4:45 pm
  • Hey, thanks. You guys could keep up on me through the website..
    I’m actually considering taking a leave of abscence from work. I’ve been doing really well, and I could (but not sure if I should) just take the time off completely and see what happens. They said that I’ll fill in at short as well for defensive reasons, but the hitting will determine more than anything on a team like this, and it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a great slider.. Can’t get those at the cages or taking pitches from collegiate kids (Not the ones at Yale or Southern anyhow).

    Brad April 25, 2006, 4:52 pm
  • Way to go Brad!

    SF April 25, 2006, 4:54 pm
  • You know what? Since we are talking about it, I would like you guys to input.
    If I consider this, like my Dad said, is it an immature thing to do? Like a kid chasing a dream for too long?
    I mean, I’m nearly 28, so would it be childish for me to leave my job, deplete my savings, and play ball for the next seven months?
    Let me know what you think…

    Brad April 25, 2006, 5:04 pm
  • Mencia is hillarious man, what are you talking about?

    Sox Fan in NH April 25, 2006, 5:07 pm
  • Unless you have some pre-existing shrapnel, a-la the “Natural” you should go for it Brad! Congrats! If it would help I could pretend to be a big league prospect and throw you 65 MPH meatball sliders for BP, and if we could keep the scouts and coaches at about a 100 Yard distance they might think…you know…they might start calling you Brad Ortiz or something.

    Anonymous April 25, 2006, 5:22 pm
  • Mencia is a racist idiot relying on ethnic jokes to get a laugh.

    Brad April 25, 2006, 5:22 pm
  • Of course, after throwing a BP session of 65 MPH sliders you’d have to buy me a morphine drip and listen to me weep in the passenger seat.

    walein April 25, 2006, 5:23 pm
  • hahahaha…

    Brad April 25, 2006, 5:25 pm

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