He handled it deftly. Rather than trying to mollify the locals who were disappointed to see him leave Baltimore for the Orioles’ chief divisional rival, he made it clear that he wouldn’t trade his time in either Baltimore or New York.
“I don’t really think about that too much,” said Mussina, a five-time All-Star with the Orioles before signing with the Yankees ahead of the 2001 season. “I made the decision I made and that’s kind of the way it had to be for me at the time. I had a really good career in New York, too.
“It was tough coming back, going to the other clubhouse, coming out of the other dugout and warming up in the other bullpen and knowing that there are people out there sitting who aren’t too happy with me, but that’s part of the job sometimes.”
Mussina ended up going 147-81 with a 3.53 ERA in 288 starts with the Orioles and 123-72 with a 3.88 ERA in 249 games with the Yankees.
Mussina was never one to second-guess himself and he didn’t start Friday.
“I played 18 years, so fortunate to be able to do that, and to play 10 of them here and eight of them in New York,” he said. “I can’t say one of them over the other. I’ve got two teams. That’s the way I look at it. I’m not going to choose one over the other.
“They were both great for similar reasons and different reasons.”