I'd like to tell you that words cannot express how happy I am for Mike Mussina on securing his 20th win of the 2008 season. I'd like to, but it's not true. Here, let me show you how easy it is:
I'm really freakin' happy about this.
I'm mostly happy because people have unjustly branded Mike an inferior pitcher because that magical confluence of events that goes into reaching this particular arbitrary milestone never materialized for him until now. Those people are now forced to recognize The Moose as one of the best pitchers of his generation. This likely sows up a well deserved Hall of Fame spot. That makes me happy.
On the other hand, it should also give us all pause to reflect on how silly it is that for many, the key cog in Mike Mussina's Hall of Fame case was a meaningless game in September of his 18th Major League Baseball season. To many, Mike Mussina's career is now somehow significantly better because he won a game today; that his previous 535 starts are now somehow more meaningful because of his 536th.
That's a load of crap, and I hope everyone reading this realizes that. Before today Mike Mussina was a great pitcher. He didn't need this to be great. He needed it for other people to recognize his greatness. This win is a drop in the bucket; the garnish on an already excellent season; the signature on a masterpiece of a career.
But a Picasso would still be transcendent even if Picasso never signed it. The signature on a work of art has nothing to do with its inherent quality. It merely signals to otherwise uninformed that it is worthy of their respect and admiration.
People now respect Mike Mussina's career more than they ever have, even if they're only doing it because they saw his signature on what was already a masterpiece before he signed it. Sometimes you have to accept that people will do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Today, I can live with that.
Congratulations, Moose, from a fan who didn't need to see you sign your opus to know how special your career already was.