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

August 11, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

him $72 million to stay with the company he was entitled to know how they intended to win a World Series.

Did Peter Angelos even have a plan?

On Nov. 6, Angelos publicly said he would not match another team’s bid of $15 million a year for Mussina. By the next week, the market was being set as the Yankees, Mets and Red Sox all emerged as leading contenders to sign Mussina, all for more than the $72 million that Angelos called his limit.

On Nov. 27, the Yankees prepared to offer a six-year, $87 million offer to Mussina. Angelos allegedly raised his offer to six years, $78 million – with $2 million per year deferred.

Mussina drove to New York on that Monday to take a physical and still hadn’t signed a deal. Tellem had told him everything was on track but with a deal of this magnitude the Yankees just wanted to be sure everything came back fine from the doctors. Other than an injury from the infamous Bill Hasselman brawl in 1993 and the liner off his orbital bone during 1998 (and he miraculously only missed four starts), Mussina was perfectly fine physically over a decade-long career.

When the word leaked in the New York media that Mussina had driven back to Pennsylvania without signing a deal with the Yankees, a Baltimore radio host who curried favor with Angelos found himself in the owner’s company. The host asked Angelos if he would be pursuing one final run at his ace pitcher to keep him away from the dreaded New York Yankees.

Angelos looked at him incredulously and said, “You don’t understand how this works, do you?”

The overmatched baseball fan-boy in the media pleaded some understanding from Angelos. “No, I don’t Mr. Angelos,” he said quizzically. “Please explain it to me and help me understand.”

“If I pick up that phone and call him, I lose all of my leverage,” Angelos said.

“Well, if you don’t pick up the phone, you’re going to lose Mike Mussina,” the Orioles diehard said.

Angelos just figured he’d go to the market and find another Mike Mussina. At this point, he was growing tired of dealing with paying millions of dollars to baseball players whom, in his mind, didn’t appreciate the lifestyle they were afforded. And Angelos was having a hard time appreciating players who only contributed one day out of every five days on the field. It was a fundamental fact about starting pitchers but Angelos came to question it publicly several times because he didn’t truly see the value because he wasn’t really a baseball fan.

The Yankees saw the value in Mike Mussina. On Nov. 30, the long-time Orioles ace signed a six-year, $88.5 million deal with no deferred money to join the Bronx Bombers, breaking the hearts of fans through the Chesapeake area.

In defeat, Angelos complimented Steinbrenner while railing against the evils of free agency, baseball’s inherent imbalance in revenue and Mussina’s greed, despite still announcing that more than 3 million fans were still invading Oriole Park at Camden Yards, waiting for the team to win again.

“I take my hat off to George,” Angelos told The New York Times. “When he gets the money, he spends it to give his fans the best team he can. Mussina wanted to find out what the maximum was for him in the market; I can understand that desire. Ever since the Kevin Brown contract, pitchers have been tempted to go out into the market and find out how much money they can command. That’s what he did. I guess it was substantial enough that he felt that despite his attachment to Baltimore and