Although their tenures with the Yankees do not overlap, is it possible that George Costanza was the driving force behind Mike Mussina’s timely retirement?
George Costanza is a perennial loser. Last seen, the self proclaimed “Lord of All Idiots” was sentenced to one year in prison for violating the Latham, MA Good Samaritan Law.
His shining moment in life was securing a job with the New York Yankees, serving as the Assistant to the Traveling Secretary. In spite of his complete incompetence, George was able to secure two promotions during his tenure with the Yankees before his shocking trade to the Tyler Chicken Company for chicken snacks and fermented chicken drinks for the concession stands.
As with most, it was not his successes that people remember about George Costanza but his failures. While with the Yankees George’s impact was, well, less than stellar.
Most notably, George:
• Discovered a way to sleep under his desk undetected to refresh himself during the work day. (His plan unraveled when the Steinbrenner grandchildren found him while hiding during a bomb threat.)
• Convinced the Yankees to change their uniforms from polyester to cotton after noticing a glitch in Danny Tartabull’s swing. (A decision yielding disastrous results.)
• During a period of abstinence designed to increase his intelligence, explained to Derek Jeter and Bernie Williams that, “hitting is not about muscle. It’s simple physics. Calculate the velocity, v, in relation to the trajectory, t, in which g, gravity, of course remains a constant.” (Advice that was less than well received.)
It was while working for the lesser known Kruger Industrial Smoothing that George realized that he was good for “one good comment during a meeting but by the end it's buried under a pile of gaffs and bad puns.”
When discussing his dilemma with Jerry, Jerry imparted his wisdom stating, “It’s about showmanship, George. When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off.” Advice that George took and ran with.
Perhaps it was George’s realization away from the Yankees that will define him in the eyes of both Yankee fans and more importantly, Mike Mussina. Is it possible that the Yankee ghost of George Costanza passed along some wisdom to Mike Mussina, helping him make a decision that many professional athletes before him have failed to make, to exit while you are on top.
Mike Mussina walks away from the game after achieving his first 20-win season. Especially impressive is that early in the 2008 season, Mussina was openly criticized by Hank Steinbrenner and had most baseball writers and bloggers screaming for him to hang up his cleats, myself included. Mike pressed on to carry the Yankees pitching staff, posting his best season and capping it with another Gold Glove.
When walking off the mound for the last time in Fenway Park on Sept. 28, maybe Mike Mussina was reflecting on the advice passed along to him that originated with the former Assistant to the Traveling Secretary that he had never met in person. Just maybe Mike Mussina was thinking, “Alright! That's it for me. Goodnight everybody.”