There’s No “I” in Team, But There is a “Me” in “Moose”

But Mussina was clearly not pleased with Torre’s decision to remove him. Mussina had allowed two hits in six shutout innings before an infield single and another single put runners on first and third with no outs in the seventh.

"Why am I upset?” Mussina said after the game. “Because I threw 80 pitches and I think I could have thrown 110. It was the first mess I had. I just felt like I could have kept going.”

You know, the Yankees are on a little bit of a tear, you’d think that Mike Mussina would be happy for the team, happy for success that has been elusive this year.  Instead, all he can think of is himself.  What a guy.

42 comments… add one
  • As much as it pains me to do this, I have to disagree and fall on the side of Mussina. He was happy for the team’s success in the article:
    While Mussina stewed, he also recognized how much better the Yankees have played lately. Although first baseman Josh Phelps misplayed the infield hit in the seventh — retreating to the bag instead of taking the ball and flipping to Mussina — the defense has been crisper, the offense has been strong and the pitching has been solid.

    “We’ve actually looked like a baseball team now for the last part of this trip,” Mussina said. “We’ve played the game right, energy, except for the first game of this trip when we were still asleep — getting in at 5 — other than that, we’ve played really well.”

    From a Yankee perspective, that was not a good move to go to Myers even if he is a “lefty specialist.” If the Yanks have a starting pitcher that is actually doing well, far below the 100-pitch count and wants to go longer and is confident enough to want to get out of the jam…why does he take him out?
    And as a side note, Myers did nothing to save Moose either by giving up a hit and an inherited runner. In spite of the win, it was not a good move by Torre.

    Scott SF June 8, 2007, 8:12 am
  • Mussina is absolutely right to be frustrated with Torre’s perplexing bullpen usage.
    If you can’t trust your pitcher to work out of a jam with 80 pitches when he’s shut out the opposing team all day, hell, why have him start at all?
    Grasping at straws, SF.

    AndrewYF June 8, 2007, 8:42 am
  • the myers matchup strategy isn’t worth a lick, so that doesn’t need debate…i agree with scott here that mussina’s comments were not necessarily self-centered…sf, i’m a little surprised you took one comment out of context to make your point…this is twice in the last 24 hours you took a shot at mussina…is there something behind that?
    …i’ll give you a page from your own book: i’ve never heard anyone on the yankee team or connected with the yankee organization who said mussina was not a good teammate…dispute that…
    anyway, mussina also admitted that he hasn’t been pitching well lately and that may be the reason for the quick hook…let’s face it, no pitcher wants to be pulled when they appear to still have command and a chance to win the game…don’t tell me this is the first time you’ve seen a pitcher disappointed by that…it’s a fairly common reaction really…point is that mussina had 2 on with nobody out in a 1-1 tie at a point in the game [regardless of pitch count] that he has shown a tendency to hit a brick wall…joe was just hedging his bets, much like tito did by warming up papelbon in the ninth inning of curt’s no-hitter attempt…was that lack of confidence in curt, or a manager recognizing the need to continue to manage even when things appear to be going well?…you know, high leverage…i’d have loved to see what would have happened if curt had got a couple guys on with nobody out like mussina did…hissy fit?
    good to see you’re going back to the times for your accurate and objective reporting…what’s next, references to the dirtdogs?…i had to check the byline of the article twice just to make sure it wasn’t old friend murray…

    dc June 8, 2007, 8:53 am
  • Also, I think Moose’s been subpar this season, and he was pitching a damn good game until then – should’ve gave him an opportunity to work things out and build up some confidence and stuff.
    But you know, it’s not like the bullpen’s overused or anything..

    Lar June 8, 2007, 8:54 am
  • and that’s another good point lar…perhaps mussina saw this as his opportunity to give the pen some rest, something none of the starters [except wang the other night] have been able to do all year…

    dc June 8, 2007, 9:07 am
  • Wow a SP is upset about being pulled, shocker. What next “Starbury” complains about his amount of shots? As DC would say…..Yaaawwwwwn.

    John - YF (Trisk) June 8, 2007, 9:17 am
  • Well, Moose does have a history of making some silly excuses, or even blaming his team when he loses, some times he’s right, but you just don’t do that. It just seems that win or lose, he always complains about something.
    That being said, he should have stayed in and had every right to be frustrated, but it’s usually best to express that to your manager in private, not through the media.

    LocklandSF June 8, 2007, 9:18 am
  • This is why player’s don’t trust “the media.” Reasonable discussions get cherrypicked to amp up the controversy meter. Over on the Banter, Cliff Corcoran has been calling Joe “Captain Hook.” He’s never been patient, but lately, and especially with the youngsters, he’s been yanking pitchers at the slightest provocation.
    Anyway, shouldn’t we be talking about Boston’s starter from last night? And, regarding that, where do I get my Shannon Stewart Rules t-shirt?
    Funny how Moose had the same thing happen to him–in Boston. Ah, but for the days of Carl Everett……

    YF June 8, 2007, 9:26 am
  • Moose lost a perfect game, no less. Moose seems like the type of guy who would have gone after Julio Lugo in the locker room after the game for his error.
    (I admit: I have an irrational dislike for Mike Mussina, hence this thread)

    SF June 8, 2007, 9:31 am
  • Moose is an excuse guy and always has been. The National Anthem is too long. The grounds crew doesn’t water enough. Torre left me in too long. Torre took me out too soon. It’s too cold. It’s too hot. I have problems on six days rest. I have problems on four. I can’t come in for relief. A-Rod boots all the balls hit at him.
    Whatever the guys says about his performance, it’s never, ever just his fault.

    Regular_Brad. June 8, 2007, 9:53 am
  • “Moose lost a perfect game, no less. Moose seems like the type of guy who would have gone after Julio Lugo in the locker room after the game for his error.”
    Sorry SF but i think you are totally off on that one. Moose has been all about the team since joining the Yankees, as far as i remember he has never said anything like this nor showed up anyone in the field or elsewhere. I think his comments simply reflect his frustration about his crappy year…

    sam YF June 8, 2007, 10:00 am
  • I’ve heard more YFs criticize Mussina than SFs for his excuse-making as to why he pitches poorly on certain days. Maybe that’s frustration on the part of the fans after those kinds of starts.

    Paul SF June 8, 2007, 10:08 am
  • Moose has been all about the team since joining the Yankees
    Really? I have lived in NYC for 13 years and for the entirety of Moose’s career here and have rarely ever heard this kind of defense of Moose, if once at all. Like Paul said, I have heard more people complain about Mussina, mostly YFs, (about his unwillingness to throw inside at guys, his constant harping on his personal habits and inability to adapt to an irregular schedule, etc.) than not, by a huge margin.

    SF June 8, 2007, 10:13 am
  • “Moose has been all about the team since joining the Yankees, as far as i remember he has never said anything like this”
    Sam, with all due respect, did you start following the Yankees on Tuesday?
    You are the first Yankee fan I have ever heard say anything even remotely like this about Moose.

    LocklandSF June 8, 2007, 10:19 am
  • Sam: Moose’s rap around the league and the press box is as a me-first guy. But is it justified? Who knows? He doesn’t like throwing inside. That offends some purists. He’s obviously a whole heck of a lot smarter than your average player, probably than the average writer and fan. He’s the team player rep (and that rubs folks the wrong way). He’s never been the kind of guy to just go in for the cliche type of relationship with the press like Jeter, and he’s not outgoing like Cone was. So it’s not surprising that he’s developed a reputation. How fair is it? Hard to say. But it seems like players have a good deal of respect for him.

    YF June 8, 2007, 10:20 am
  • Moose had been cruising until that inning, so I can see why he might’ve been upset at the quick hook…I was out of the room when it happened, so I don’t know if it looked like he was running out of gas or whatever. I did see the postgame interview and he was definitely happy for the team win. He was also definitely very cranky, although considering his propensity for spontaneous combustion in later innings he really shouldn’t have been surprised at being pulled in a close game. What irked *me* was bringing in Myers in that situation. Torre ended up hooking him for Proctor, so why not put EDSP in to begin with? The whole “lefty specialist” thing is ridiculous. And Farnsy…but that’s a rant for another day.

    yankeemonkey June 8, 2007, 10:21 am
  • I think more Yanks fans like Mussina than dislike him. So, I think SF and Paul or exaggerating when they say they’ve heard more complaints than good words said about him. At least that’s what I gleaned from one of SF’s posts here.
    I think YF is exactly right here. Mussina is not one for the cliche, and he’s pretty candid and honest in his statements. But if you read the whole of what he said in this case you’ll see that he hadn’t lost perspective of how well the team has been playing recently. He mentions this. But he’s also clearly annoyed at the seemingly irrational decisions of Torre. For what it’s worth, he does say that he has to earn Torre’s trust back after his piss poor performances this season. So maybe he’s expressing frustration over how his craptastic start of the season has affected his manager’s trust.

    Nick-YF June 8, 2007, 10:32 am
  • OK sorry I may have overstated my position he might not be all about team but I really cant remember seeing him do too much over the years that placed himself ahead of the team. I too have watched his entire career from here in NYC and do understand his reputation. But to me, the lack of desire to throw inside – true or not- isnt grounds for calling a player selfish etc. I also remember a few occasions during which Moose asked for the ball on short rest to replace a hurt starter. I have no Ill will towards moose in general but I am not a hard core fan of his either. I just think that his comments last night were no big deal, as mentioned before all pitchers bitch about getting an early hook.

    sam YF June 8, 2007, 10:38 am
  • I’m speaking more about this entire body of work, not really this particular quote and I find it odd that YF doesn’t know if his reputation is earned or not. I don’t have the time right now, but his quotes over the years cements that fact that he is a complainer, he does blame teammates, he does make silly excuses, it’s a reputation so much as it’s a fact.

    LocklandSF June 8, 2007, 10:39 am
  • Proofreading is probably a good idea, but I think you all get me drift.

    LocklandSF June 8, 2007, 10:41 am
  • But to me, the lack of desire to throw inside – true or not- isnt grounds for calling a player selfish etc.
    Agreed. This is only one element of what YF correctly describes as possible reasons for Moose’s reputation.
    But how smart, really, is Mussina? How do we know? Just because he went to Stanford doesn’t mean he’s a genius: he went to , not on scholarship to work on the Genome project. I haven’t really ever seen anything from Mussina (other than the cliched “he’s bookish and went to Stanford” stuff) to illustrate that his smarts have been the source of his reputation as selfish, like YF implies. And how is it “obvious” that he’s smarter, YF? What proof do you have of this elevated intelligence, other than the “he went to Stanford” stuff that too many writers bandy about? I think that explanation is misdirection: being smart and being selfish are neither mutually exclusive nor dependent upon each other.

    SF June 8, 2007, 10:49 am
  • So, I think SF and Paul or exaggerating when they say they’ve heard more complaints than good words said about him.
    I didn’t say that. I said I’ve heard more YFs complain about Mussina than SFs, that is, the dissatisfaction over his personality while on the Yankees has been generated by his own team’s fans, not SFs just looking to trash on Yankee players.

    Paul SF June 8, 2007, 10:55 am
  • Yeah, we can find plenty of our own reasons to trash on Yankee players, help not needed.

    LocklandSF June 8, 2007, 10:59 am
  • Mussina coming in in relief in Game 7 of ’03 ALCS, getting out of a major jam, throwing 3 shutout innings with the season on the line. ’nuff said.

    yankeemonkey June 8, 2007, 11:15 am
  • Please for every quote you could find to say he wasnt a team player there are easily 10 that point to him being a team player. Arguing about reputations is pointless.

    sam YF June 8, 2007, 11:18 am
  • yeah, Paul, I realized that I had conflated yours and SF’s comments there. Sorry about that.

    Nick-YF June 8, 2007, 11:22 am
  • Not a problem. Just correcting the record for the legions of people who scour our archives ;-)

    Paul SF June 8, 2007, 11:50 am
  • I thought Mussina graduated as valedictorian from Stanford.
    There has always been much said about his intelligence, not just in general but about pitching, and it’s pretty underrated for everyone IMO. Greg Maddux, for example, probably has one of, if not the best pitching minds in the history of the game. It’s just something scouts, and eventually everyone notices.
    Apparently Ian Kennedy, first round pick for the Yankees last year, has tons of pitching ‘smarts’. He’s like a mini-Moose in that he doesn’t throw hard, but he locates very well and furthermore he knows exactly what he’s doing on the mound. I think it just contrasts to meatheads like Josh Beckett and Kyle Farnsworth. Anyway, above-average pitching intelligence. Moose has it, Maddux has it, Schilling has it. Everyone talks about it.

    AndrewYF June 8, 2007, 12:26 pm
  • I don’t think YF was referring to “pitching intelligence”, just general “intelligence”. Those are two different things. I wasn’t questioning his pitching intelligence, but rather his reputation for being a smart guy, or, how YF says it, the “obviousness” of his smarts. Being a super-smart pitcher is no evidence of being a super-smart person off the field.

    SF June 8, 2007, 12:31 pm
  • I was doing some research and found this:
    http://www.geocities.com/colosseum/midfield/1356/bmarticle.html
    It’s pre-Yankee days, and it’s geocities, but still interesting.

    Lar June 8, 2007, 12:33 pm
  • I once heard Mussina explain Finnegan’s Wake to an audience of interested beat reporters.
    He got it wrong in the end. What a dummy.
    The answer was 42.

    Nick-YF June 8, 2007, 12:33 pm
  • But a more typical incident was the infamous 1993 All-Star Game at Camden Yards, when, after sitting out eight innings, Mike took it upon himself to start warming up in the bullpen, daring manager Cito Gaston to not put him in the game for the ninth in front of Mike’s home-team crowd. Cito didn’t. A T-shirt was born (Cito Sucks; you can probably find one at the Goodwill). And that Mike Mussina cockiness was on display for the world to see.
    Nice. A player unafraid to use an exhibition game to try to embarrass a manager.

    SF June 8, 2007, 12:42 pm
  • I think it just contrasts to meatheads like Josh Beckett and Kyle Farnsworth.
    Old habits die hard, I guess. But I would hesitate to call any pitcher who seems to have adjusted the way Beckett has a “meathead.”

    Paul SF June 8, 2007, 12:45 pm
  • > Being a super-smart pitcher is no evidence of being a super-smart person off the field.
    As a freshman, he was offered a $300,000 dollar contract, which he turned down.
    Mussina: “There’s no doubt I made the right choice – to come to school as opposed to signing a professional contract. At the time, I didn’t feel I was ready to jump right into pro ball. Coming out of high school, it just didn’t seem like the right thing at the right time.”
    “Education’s important,” he said. “If you go straight to professional ball, and for some reason you can’t continue due to injury or whatever, you’re kind of stuck with nothing to do. I didn’t want to be stuck in that situation.”
    There’s lots more in an article on Dodger Thoughts by Jon Weisman originally printed in the Stanford Daily.
    Throw in the fact that he completed his economics degree in three years, and I see plenty of evidence that he’s probably a fair sight smarter than the average bear, if not as cuddly.

    attackgerbil June 8, 2007, 12:56 pm
  • “I wasn’t questioning his pitching intelligence, but rather his reputation for being a smart guy, or, how YF says it, the “obviousness” of his smarts. Being a super-smart pitcher is no evidence of being a super-smart person off the field.”
    There’s loads of stories and evidence to back this up over the years. He graduated near the top of his class at Stanford majoring in economics. He likes to read and has a well-documented ‘dry wit’. Everyone always says how smart the guy is. It’s been repeated again and again. What, exactly, are you questioning about it? That once in a while he’s a dick?

    AndrewYF June 8, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • SF June 8, 2007, 1:04 pm
  • Throw in the fact that he completed his economics degree in three years, and I see plenty of evidence that he’s probably a fair sight smarter than the average bear, if not as cuddly.
    Fair enough.
    Perhaps there’s a separate, much better forum for this discussion about the reputation of “smart” players. I may have overstepped here, so I am ok with having been shown the light about Moose, I am not that stubborn.
    I think Nick may have posted a thread about this some time ago, about how the guy who happens to have a John Grisham book at his locker vs. having a copy of “Green Eggs and Ham” or Hustler is all of a sudden lauded as the clubhouse rocket scientist – I couldn’t find it in the archive but I do remember Nick writing something about it – maybe he can dig it up. It’s always bothered me, this kind of reflexive stereotyping or easy characterization, and that was part of what I was responding to, perhaps in an inappropriate way.

    SF June 8, 2007, 1:11 pm
  • > It’s always bothered me, this kind of reflexive stereotyping or easy characterization
    I agree with you about that part, and it’s not just baseball that gets those treatments.

    attackgerbil June 8, 2007, 1:20 pm
  • and no one’s brought up the racist stuff. good job guy’s. opps…i guess i brought it up.

    sf rod June 8, 2007, 2:44 pm
  • From Mark Feinsand’s blog:
    Mussina’s game was terrific, and his displeasure with being pulled out in the seventh after just 79 pitches is even more encouraging. It has been the case too often where Mussina has seemed satisfied with giving the Yankees five innings and turning a lead over to the bullpen.
    I couldnt agree more. I think this can be viewed as a positive if one wishes to do so.

    sam YF June 8, 2007, 3:41 pm
  • “and no one’s brought up the racist stuff. good job guy’s. opps…i guess i brought it up.”
    That’ll do, troll.

    AndrewYF June 8, 2007, 4:36 pm
  • SF, the comments you remember are indeed in this thread:
    http://yanksfansoxfan.typepad.com/ysfs/2006/04/the_mind_of_mus.html

    Nick-YF June 9, 2007, 12:02 am

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