Do we REALLY still blame Mike Mussina for leaving Baltimore?

March 29, 2012 | Peter Dilutis

I haven’t been writing too much lately.

Part of that has to do with not totally being over the way the Ravens season ended in New England. After all, like most of you, I’m still just a normal Baltimore sports fan. Unfortunately with the Orioles being the Orioles and with the Terps being down, there just hasn’t been too much else to be excited about around here.

Yes, Brian Matusz has looked good this spring, and that’s such a big positive for an organization trying to find its way in the now absurd American League East. The quickest way to the top is by finding pitching, and more pitching, and more pitching, and more pitch….you get the picture. So, I guess I could spend more time talking about Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta and J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis and Adam Jones, but will the performance of any or all of those players really make a difference when the optimism of spring subsides and the dog days of July and August (aka swoon time) arrive in Charm City? Probably not.

Once upon a time, however, the Baltimore Orioles had many players that could be described as difference makers on a championship contending team. Mike Mussina was one of those players.

Mike Mussina was a home-grown product for the Birds. Drafted out of Stanford with the 20th pick in the 1990 draft, Mussina went on to spend 10 seasons in Baltimore. He was the unquestioned ace of the staff, compiling a record of 147-81 with a 3.53 ERA during his time with the O’s. He played 10 seasons in Birland, ultimately leaving for between three to five million more per season (depending on whether or not you count the last-ditch effort the O’s made to sign Moose after he had already decided he was leaving for the Bronx) to play for the most prominent, historic, and successful team in MLB history.

Mussina made this career move as the Orioles were three years into their now 14 straight (15 if you cheat and chalk 2012 up as a lost cause already) losing seasons. He jumped ship after he witnessed Peter Angelos run off Davey Johnson, whose two years in Baltimore happened to coincide with the only two years the Orioles made the playoffs during Mussina’s tenure.

In other words, Mike Mussina jumped off the Titanic and landed on a billion dollar yacht headed for nothing but sunshine. Did I blame him then? Honestly, I did a little bit. I was young and I felt betrayed by one of my favorite baseball players. And the Orioles were still a pretty legitimate franchise back then, even if signs of their eventual demise were starting to appear.

But do I blame him now, looking back? Absolutely not! Are you kidding me?

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