August 28, 2007

Too Bad He Didn't Take Better Care of His Body, Like That David Wells

So when I said I thought Mike Mussina would bounce back tonight somewhat... I, uh... well, I guess six runs in three innings is better than seven runs in 1.2 innings? Yikes.

That was an extremely painful game to watch, on a human level more than a sports fan level. Mussina's struggled before, but not like this; he's been one of the best pitchers of his generation, and this might be the end, and he's not ready for it. The post-game interview was just heartbreaking. "I don’t even know how to describe it because I’ve never had to deal with it before," he said. Watching him on the mound was awkward, almost embarrassing, like we should turn off the TV and give him some privacy. Give Mussina credit for sticking around to talk to reporters -- I would have been out of there like a shot, I'd imagine -- but he looked, and sounded, shattered. No confidence; none of his trademark snarkiness, even. Can an athlete really lose it that fast? From Tyler Kepner's NY Times story:

“Right now, I let go of it and I don’t feel like anything good is going to happen,” Mussina said. “It’s tough to pitch that way. You can’t play the game that way to feel like you have no control over anything, and that’s how I feel right now..."...

...The Yankees owe Mussina more than $11 million for next season, but he seems to be nearing the end. It is a scary and sudden reality, and it has knocked him as low as he has ever been.

“It feels like I’m never going to pitch well enough to get to the sixth or seventh inning again,” Mussina said. “That’s just how it feels right now.”

I have to believe that given time to make adjustments, Mussina can be, if not good again, at least mediocre --I don't care how old he is, I refuse to believe he's a less viable pitcher than Sir Sidney Ponson -- but unfortunately, time to make adjustments is exactly what the Yankees don't have.

In less agonizing news...

--Meant to mention this earlier, but Scott Proctor pitched against the Mets on Friday night, and not very well -- walk, hit, hit, balk... "It's possible he may have been somewhat overused," said Gary Cohen gingerly. It is indeed. However, I see Proctor has wasted no time in taking advantage of the Dodgers' more relaxed grooming rules and is already sporting a big off-putting tuft of chin-beard. So at least he's got that going for him.

Makes you wonder, how many Yankees would grow awful facial hair if only they could? You know Brian Bruney is just yearning for a goatee.

--In general, though I'd prefer them to stay right where they are in the NL East, I like the Phillies: Ryan Howard seems thoughtful and kind in interviews, Jimmy Rollins is funny*, Shane Victorino has a solid nickname in "The Flyin' Hawaiian," and Antonio Alfonseco has six fingers on each hand, which is awesome. Then there's that great clip of the whole team helping the Rockies' grounds crew with the tarp during a dangerously windy storm, which still makes me smile. But they do have one really glaring flaw in their likeability... and its name is Brett Myers. On the plus side, screaming violently at a reporter for no good reason is certainly a huge step up from smacking your wife around on a street in Boston. Baby steps!

Wait, THIS guy hit his wife? No way!

--Finally, Jim Dolan has donated to the Hilary Clinton campaign. Okay, that's it, I've finally made up my mind: I'm going with Obama.

*I still can't believe people got so worked up over his pre-season comment that the Phillies were going to be "the team to beat." What's the guy supposed to say? "I look forward to another year of frustrating near-misses"?

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