Thursday, November 20, 2008

My Favorite Pitcher Retired

Mike Mussina is retiring from baseball. He came up with my favorite team, the Orioles, and was a star for them during my teen years. He is an incredibly smart athlete, as he graduated from Stanford in 3 years, and is not a braggart or psycho like Clemens or Schilling. He was a power pitcher who became a living on the black pitcher as he aged, and was consistent. Some will argue he is a Hall of Famer. I am a huge fan, but I disagree in this age of heightened Hall of Fame standards. One thing I hope happens is that his candidacy for the Hall of Fame causes voters to re-evaluate their standards of the Steroid Era. If they will discount hitters' numbers from the Roid Era, will the give a boost to pitchers from the same era?

I've got plenty of Moose memories. I remember him mowing down the Indians in the ALCS only to see the Orioles piss away great starts and lose. Reading interviews where he talked about the art and science of pitching at a high level in the MLB. I remember my sister having a crush on him and cutting out pictures of him to put up with her Troy Aikman photos. While in college, I remember watching him warm up one start versus the Red Sox and walking down to lean on the fence 5 feet from him as he warmed up. A high school friend of mine was at the game as well and we kept talking to him about what he would do next season. We kept saying "Anywhere but the Yankees". The movement on his pitches was amazing to watch from directly behind the mound. It was a joy to see him get to 20 wins this season, and I am glad he goes out on top. I wonder how long he could have goen and if he could have reached 300 wins, and I also wonder how many times he saw leads blown by bullpens slowing his march to 300. That is life... missed opportunities, moments of joy, and some what ifs.

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