Young men with lots of money tend to wear expensive clothing. That is not to say it’s always tasteful, however.
For just about all of the Yankees, especially the younger ones, the t-shirt of choice is made by the designer Christian Audigier. These run for around $175. You read that right, $175.
Mike Mussina found this endlessly hilarious.
As teammates would come into the clubhouse, Mussina would invariably roll his eyes when somebody walked by wearing one of the gaudy designer t-shirts. “I wouldn’t sleep in that,” he said one day, pointing at the shirt one rookie was wearing. “I’m serious.”
The Moose gets his t-shirts on line and they cost $20. One day he would come in wearing a Sanford and Son shirt, the next day would be The A-Team. He wasn’t out to impress anybody.
I think that’s why he retired. He wasn’t out to impress anybody. Perhaps you or I would be motivated by the idea of winning 300 games or making another $10 million or winning a championship. But Mussina was more interested in spending time with his wife and sons. Brycen is 9 and Peyton is 4 and he wants to watch them grow up. They’re at that age now where having their dad around all the time means something.
A lot of ballplayers say how much their families mean to them and to some extent it’s probably true. But living the life and making some bank usually wins out. By walking away while still healthy and still able to pitch at a high level, Mussina shows that he really means it.
The Yankees will say the right things about him, but Mussina will not be missed by many in the clubhouse. For years, his closest friend on the team was bullpen catcher Mike Borzello. The Moose liked to read, work on crossword puzzles and search on line for old cars to purchase and fix up. If the Yankees had a day off, he immediately went home to Pennsylvania. In the eight years he spent with the Yankees, he probably went into Manhattan 10 times. He had a house in Westchester and he knew how to get to Yankee Stadium. That’s all he really cared to know. He liked his privacy.
A few people have e-mailed asking if Mussina will become a coach or a broadcaster. Forget it; he will be a ghost as far as baseball is concerned. Mussina is not somebody who wants to sit around talking about the old days or trying to teach some kid (in a $175 t-shirt) how to throw a curveball.
He did not suffer fools well, especially reporters who asked silly questions. (“What do you want now?” he would say at first before smiling) But if you had a story to write and you needed some perspective, nobody was better to talk to. He also was one of the few Yankees you could engage in a conversation about something other than baseball. For those of us who write about the team, it’s a loss. Not having the Moose and The Big G around will cut down on the laughs.
Back in 2002 or 2003, I was assigned to cover a game Mussina pitched in. He took the loss and when reporters gathered around his locker afterward, nobody was sure what to ask for a few seconds. Mussina looked over the crowd and simply said, “Bueller? Bueller?”
If you get that, you get the Moose.
Here’s hoping that in five or six years, Mussina gets inducted in the Hall of Fame. Now that would be a good speech.