Date: August 29, 2007
HUMOR: Mike Mussina Disappointed Crossword Answer For “Washed Up Pitcher” Is MUSSINA
New York Yankees starting pitcher and crossword puzzle enthusiast Mike Mussian was disappointed to open the New York Times crossword puzzle this morning and find that the seven-letter answer for No. 8 Across: "washed up pitcher," is: M-U-S-S-I-N-A.
"Wow. This one kind of hits home a bit, I must admit," said Mussina. "I love crossword puzzles because they allow me to escape my on-field life and the tabloid headlines and all the enraged sports radio show callers. So when in the middle of my escape I find the New York Times crossword puzzle writer telling me I suck, it hurts extra bad."
Mussina is mired in the worst stretch of pitching in his 17-year career — 0-3 with a 17.69 ERA in his last three starts.
Yankees manager Joe Torre says he played a role in the Mussina clue appearing in today's Times.
"The only way to get through to Mike is through the crossword," said Torre. "So I called up the writer and asked him to use it as a clue, thinking it would compel Mike to willingly pull himself out of the rotation. Turns out the writer already had the clue planned. He's apparently a big Yankees fan and can't stomach watching Mussina kill the team any longer. I told him: 'Swayze Ghost line.' He knew I meant 'ditto.'"
Mussina says he understands the desire to see him moved out of the rotation, but feels his track record deserved at least one motivational crossword.
"Would it have been so hard for him to have made the clue: 'Pitcher who we still believe in?'" said Mussina. "Would that have killed the guy? I think I was owed that much. I've won 247 games in the major leagues. I'm the coolest, most athletic person to ever enjoy crossword puzzles. I'll shove this guy in a locker just like his childhood again. I mean, at least next time make it so C-L-E-M-E-N-S works in the space."