Thursday, February 5, 2009

Moose Clears the Air

While the brunt of focus on Joe Torre's book has been on Torre himself, and the use of the phrase "A-Fraud", Mike Mussina's comments on Mariano Rivera have not gone unnoticed.

The full excerpt on page 312 of Torre's book quotes Mussina, who won zero World Series rings in his eight years with the Yanks, as saying: "As great as (Rivera) is, and it's amazing what he does, if you start the evaluation since I've been here (in 2001), he has accomplished nothing in comparison to what he accomplished the four years before.

"He blew the World Series in '01. He lost the Boston series. He didn't lose it himself, but we had a chance to win in the ninth and sweep them and he doesn't do it there. I know you look at everything he's done and it's been awesome, I'll admit that. But it hadn't been the same in those couple of years. That's what I remember about the '04 series."

There's no question that at face value it's a definite slap in the face to Rivera, but Mussina doesn't see it that way. That being said, he was on WFAN yesterday doing some damage control.

"I'm aware of (the reaction). As far as I know that's pretty much the way I said it. But the idea of it was not to take any stabs at Mo," Mussina said Wednesday on WFAN. "I can't put into words how important Mo has been to me as an individual player and to us as a team since I went to New York. My accomplishments would not be anywhere near what they are, and our team accomplishments certainly would not be what they are without him pitching the ninth inning.

"I didn't mean to take any stabs at him. I was just making a factual comment, and it came out sounding like I was trying to cut him down. I'm certainly not trying to cut him down, because he certainly is legendary, and he's earned that."

Moose was also asked about "A-Fraud", and A-Rod's relationship with Derek Jeter.

"I never saw any friction between those two players whatsoever," Mussina said. "For two superstars at the level that they're supposed to perform at, the kind of people they're supposed to be, the way they're supposed to carry themselves as professional athletes and human beings, I never saw any problem at all.

"I sat in the same clubhouse, rode the same bus, the same planes...and I never, ever saw an issue with those two guys. I don't know if people were hoping it was there or people were looking for something to talk about, no idea, but I never experienced any of that."

Moose's candor will definitely be missed.

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