Happy to be retired, Mussina doesn’t miss playing
The 270-game winner sat down in the press conference room at Yankee Stadium for about 20 minutes on Thursday with reporters, brought in to make the ceremonial first toss of the season for his former team, and – even as he enters his third season of retirement – Mussina doesn’t hesitate to call it like he sees it.
Mussina was asked if, on any level, he misses the day-to-day life of playing Major League Baseball. It would have been easy for Mussina to simply answer, sure, and I think everyone would have accepted that.
But Mussina offered an answer that provides a better window into what it’s like behind the scenes as a big league player, and it was interesting to hear from that perspective, spoken so truthfully. Asked if he wishes, in any way, that he would have kept going after his 20-win season in 2008, Mussina replied:
“I’ve got to be honest – no, I don’t miss it. I know what these guys have been doing for the last couple of months in Florida, I know what they were doing for the couple of months before they went to Florida in preparation for all this. Today is the first day of a six-month-plus haul that takes you all over the country at all kinds of hours – flights, buses, hotels, rain delays, bad food, whatever you can think of.
“I know what it’s about. To not have to get up and do laundry the first day of a homestand so I can be ready for the last day when I have to pack, to not have to live out of my suitcase half of the six months, you can just slow the pace down. It’s really a welcome change after, shoot, counting going to college, 20 years of doing it the other way. Eventually you just tell yourself it’s time to do something different. I’m really enjoying doing something different.
“Everybody says this and you don’t know how it’s possible – how can you be busier when you’re retired? I’m busier than when I played. There’s so many things that have to get done in a day. I still have kids that are 12 and under, and there’s a lot to do, a lot to take care of. A lot of responsibility and a lot of coaching. It’s great. I don’t have one day where I don’t lay down when the day is over and take the deepest sigh, ‘OK, I made it through another day, let’s go get some rest and do it again tomorrow.’ It’s great.”