It must have been tough for the Orioles to send out that press release earlier today.
“Guy we low-balled who went on to the Yankees because he thought the Orioles were on the verge of stinking was right all along and we’re now going to try and profit one more time off of him by making him a member of the team’s Hall of Fame”.
You know, for sure, the last thing Peter Angelos wanted to do was stamp “APPROVED” on that document when it landed on his desk, asking for his agreement to welcome Mike Mussina back to OPACY as a team Hall of Famer.
I can just hear Angelos now.
“Really? We don’t have someone else? What about Jimmy Key…he was a good pitcher for us. So was that Wells guy.”
Alas, the Orioles have done the right thing and added Mussina to the team’s list of Hall of Famers.
Mussina, of course, was arguably the first player of quality to sniff out the beginning-of-the-end in Baltimore. He was the man who saw the erosion taking place in front of him and said, “If this is how it’s going to be, I’m hittin’ the road.”
And he did.
Right to the Bronx.
I didn’t blame Mussina back then, in 2001, and I still don’t blame him today.
The Orioles offered him $9 million per-season. The Yankees said, “How does $14 million per season sound?” When the Orioles found that out, they supposedly came in with a late $11 million-per offer, but by then, the pitcher’s mind was made up. He took the New York money and headed north.
It was, of course, the right move.
As Mussina could see, the Orioles were in the beginning stages of a dramatic fall from grace.
The Yankees were in the midst of a great run that would see them qualify for the playoffs in 7 of the 8 seasons he spent in New York.
Anyone with a brain would have made the same move.
It’s only a shame that defections like that didn’t create enough of a firestorm to make the Orioles wake up and change the way they did business.
11 seasons after Mussina left, the Orioles are still eroding.