The Peter Principles (Ch. 11) – Letting The Moose Loose in pinstripes

August 11, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

of chaos in Baltimore.

For Mussina, who had tried unsuccessfully to beat the pinstripers each year, the many obvious successes and parades of the New York Yankees left clues. They were a first-class organization, with first-class people.

Mussina called around and heard it from players within his reach who had played in New York and elsewhere in the league. The Yankees got things done. Despite his reputation, if Steinbrenner came into the clubhouse and a whirlpool was broken, the next day there was new whirlpool. In Baltimore, if something was broken, the owner wanted to litigate. He’d want to sue the Maryland Stadium Authority for a comparable situation with the Ravens.

George Steinbrenner wanted to win and he did. Peter Angelos wanted to fight and negotiate and litigate and win every battle while losing every war.

While the Yankees were winning the World Series and the Red Sox along with new owner (and former “partner” in 1993) Larry Lucchino were grooming a twenty-something general manager in Theo Epstein, the Orioles had a pair of 71-year old fossils in Syd Thrift and Peter Angelos running the team.

Not only did they not have a clue; they didn’t have a plan. Thrift couldn’t work a computer and didn’t even have a cell phone.

The Yankees wanted Mussina. Joe Torre calling was just the appetizer. They were looking to replace David Cone and Denny Neagle with one of the top arms in baseball. And, more than that, instead of jerking him around and offering $65 million to the likes of Albert Belle and then lowballing him – essentially taking advantage of his willingness and initial desire to stay with the Orioles – it was Angelos who declared a price ceiling and that if Mussina’s value in the marketplace was greater, well…then, he could be invited to go pitch elsewhere.

The Yankees had Andy Pettite, Roger Clemens, Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, Mariano Rivera. Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Paul O’Neill, David Justice, Alfonso Soriano, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada and four rings in five years.

The Orioles had Brook Fordyce, Jerry Hairston, Jeff Conine, Delino DeShields, Tony Batista and a pair of broken-down veterans in Brady Anderson and Cal Ripken. Mussina had now made 100 starts since his last meaningful game in October 1997 vs. Cleveland in the ALCS.

Mussina wanted to pitch in big games, with big stakes and he wanted to win a World Series.

Angelos told WBAL that the Orioles were going with their youth in 2001. And in the AL East, that meant they weren’t serious about winning.

Mussina was no one’s fool. He pressed Thrift and Angelos for a “road map” for the future of the Orioles and was rebuffed. Mussina, as a player rep, knew all about the old-world of MLB ownership and the arrogance. But he figured if they were willing to offer