200 Miles From the Citi

November 8, 2009 12:01 AM

SUNDAY PAPER (Year 1, Volume XI)

Mike_Mussina.JPGAmongst the many different feelings I am feeling about the Yankees winning the World Series is compassion...mostly directed towards Mike Mussina.
Remember when Mussina was brought in by the Yankees?  They had won three straight World Series, four of five, and many more were expected.  He pitched for them in the 2001 and 2003 World Series, but did not earn a ring in any of his years in New York.
He waffled for a long time before deciding to retire at the end of last year...only to watch the Yankees win it all this year.

So to recap:
1996-2000 (5 years):  No Mike Mussina.  Yankees win 4 World Series championships.
2001-2008 (8 years):  Mike Mussina.  Yankees win 0 World Series championships.
2009 (1 year):  No Mike Mussina.  Yankees win 1 World Series championship.
I hope I don't sound like I'm making fun.  Because I always liked Mike Mussina.  I always found it hard to join in that argument about whether or not he had a Hall of Fame career because I was always biased in favor of him (besides the fact that I find it impossible to make Hall of Fame arguments).
So I do genuinely feel sorry for him.
Jason Giambi falls in a similar boat, playing for the Yankees from 2002-2008, but I feel no compassion towards him.  Bobby Abreu could be a compassionate figure, but he doesn't quite meet Mike Mussina's hard-luck status.  (Although he suffers the double whammy of being traded from the Phillies to the Yankees in 2006, watching the Phillies win in 2008, then watching the Yankees win after leaving as a free agent after last season.)
It's something I often think about - players who have won championships.  It's a lesser-scale version of my no-repeat championship matchups obsession - at least trying to get players who haven't won championships a ring.  I hated to see A-Rod get his this year, but I liked that Mark Teixeira got one.  Same with CC Sabathia.  I also think about players that just missed.
And Mike Mussina just missed on both ends of his time with the Yankees.
*I really enjoyed Phil Taylor's 'Point After' in Sports Illustrated this week, about coaching youth sports.  When I started it I thought it was going to be a self-serving piece...but I thought it was well-written and captured what it's like to coach little league sports.
*Despite my success in my picks pool (against the spread) this year, I just can't figure out how to pick games against the spread. But I must be close. Last week I recognized that there was something up with Jacksonville getting points from the winless Titans, and the undefeated Broncos were also getting points against an underperforming Baltimore team. So the alarms went off on the right surprise games...but I picked them both wrong. (I picked a lot wrong last week.) I guess the ability to recognize the sucker games is a step in the right I just have to stop being a sucker.
*Speaking of which...I don't like many underdogs this week.  I think Atlanta beats Washington by 10, so I'm taking the 'Skins getting 10-and-a-half.  I also am taking Cincinnati to beat Baltimore, even though they're getting 2.5 at home.  The rest of my picks are all favorites.

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