Both storylines evolved: Mussina lost his starting role for the first time in his career, and had to make modifications to get better, and watched as the Yankees made one of the greatest comebacks in history to make the post-season in 2007; while Tom Glavine, after winning 300, watched as the Mets crumbled in the worst collapse in history, with him on the mound for the last game.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the book is the history of both players, which spans over 100 pages at the beginning, in which managers, friends, coaches, and umpires are interviewed. In fact, there are interesting anecdotes sprinkled throughout the book. Both players give their honest interpretations about their past (please note: there is no gossip in this book.)
Since I’ve followed both players for their entire careers, there’s not a whole bunch I don’t know about them, but I did learn some of their off-camera habits (Moose doesn’t like to listen to music or radio after a game- he wants total silence to clear his mind; Glavine is obsessed with golf.)
Before I get into the personalities of Mussina and Glavine, I do want to list the three flaws in Feinstein’s book:
1) He reports instead of analyzing; he listens and writes instead of giving his opinions.
2) He gives in-game descriptions of all the games Glavine and Mussina picthed in 2007, which can be tedious for many readers, who may have the urge to skim or skip. With the power of the Internet, where box scores and game logs can be found, it just seemed kind of unnecessary to devote pages to a Mets-Brewers game in the middle of the season.
3) Some factual errors/typos.
That being said, let’s take a look at Moose and Glavine:
Mussina is everything how I imagined him: he is family orientated, intelligent (yet snobby and witty since we’re all dumb), private, values comfort and routine, a fierce competitor, prideful, a union man, and memorized every stat in his career. His life is actually very simple, and if you think about it- enviable. He still lives in his small town, has millions in the bank, a degree in economics, and has no drama or problems in his life besides the ups-and-downs of being a pitcher. He loves his kids. The biggest stressor in his life occurs when his pitches don’t work. Moose has come to terms with accepting his age, and made the adjustments to reinvent himself.
Glavine is also everything how I imagined him: a stoic New Englander with a competive drive, someone with good intentions but sometimes says the wrong thing to the MEDIA, he knows he doesn’t have a fastball so relies on his raw intelligence to out think batters, family-orientated (although he divorced his first wife when he was younger), a team-player, and a union man.
One thing about Glavine that can be frustrating: his poker face doesn’t match the sensitive and doubting man underneath his skin. For example, after he blew the last game- and the 2007 season- against the Marlins at Shea Stadium by giving up around 7 runs in a few innings, a reporter asked him if this loss was devastating. Glavine told the reporter that there are more important things in life, and that baseball is just a game. Glavine tells John Feinstein in the book that the word “devastating” should only be used for real tragedies, like Hurricane Katrina or a child getting cancer. So Glavine was angry and offended that the reporter would choose “devastating“. Glavine says “disappointing” should have been the world used. Suffice to say, for any Mets fan, the loss was devastating, and it’s no wonder that Glavine moved back to the Braves in 2008.
Whereas Moose sometimes looks like you can stick a needle in him and not get a reaction, we all know it’s not true because Moose does express disappointment, anger, frustration, and- on rare occasions- happiness. I think Moose is more emotionally balanced- sure he loses confidence, but so does every pitcher. Moose also will tell you how he feels to your face (he does that to Carl Pavano and Joe Torre in the book, although he never got a chance to tell Ron Guidry how much Guidry hurt him by not speaking to Moose after he got banished to the bullpen).
Glavine, meanwhile, tries to keep a low-key, under-the-radar, cold and calculating, “nothing can get to me” approach, but he does get rattled on the inside, and loses confidence. For example, in the aforementioned last game of the season in which the Glavine blew it, Glavine noticed that the Marlins players were standing on the first step and watched every pitch even though they were eliminated. Stuff like that makes Glavine appear to over analyze things and get shaken up, like he let his opponents get inside his head.
Overall, a good modern baseball book about how cerebral the game of pitching is, and how pitchers work out in-between starts. Also, an inside look into the Mets 2007 collapse (so you can read about Willie Randolph, Jose Reyes, Lastings Milledge, Billy Wagner, David Wright, Paul Lo Duca and more). On the Yankees side, you get to see how Joe Torre managed one of the great comeback seasons, and read about such players as Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, and Roger Clemens.
It’s a great tribute to two future Hall of Famers.
- Mike Mussina finally wins 20th victory
- Tom Glavine Retires; Takes Braves Job
- 2008 Gold Glove Award Winner: Mike Mussina
- Game 12: BoSox beat Yanks: Girardi and Mussina mistake
- Braves fire Tom Glavine
- Game 17: Manny hits 2HR off Mussina
- Joe Torre’s book
- John Smoltz and Braves split; signs with RED SOX
- Game 110: Mussina beats Angels, 8-2
- Mike Mussina: Is Moose Cooked?
- Game 74: Edinson Volquez outduels Mussina
- Game 88: Moose and Mo beat Red Sox 2-1
- Yankees rumored free agent signings and trade rumors
- Did Joe Torre violate confidentiality in his book?
- Game 124: Yankees clobber Royals 15-6
- Diamond Mind Baseball: 2008 Yankees Results
- Game 32: Vintage Mussina beat Mariners
- Game 101: Mussina, Yanks SWEEP Twins
- Bill James on Doc Gooden 1991
- Why did the 2009 Yankees improve from the 2008 Yankees?