There’s a great piece about Carl Pavano by Michael Weinreb on ESPN.com today. It’s at least well-written if not totally complete; Pavano and his parents weren’t interviewed for the article. Though he did pull an interview with Pavano’s ex-girlfriend Gia Allemand. Nice.
Anyway, the subject of “karma” comes up. Allemand says that Pavano may have gotten hurt so much because of karma coming back and getting him for cheating on her and treating her badly. Yankee fan probably thinks karma is coming back on Pavano because, in their eyes, he isn’t actually committed to the team and is a crybaby. Red Sox fans might even say that it serves the Southingon, Connecticut native right for becoming a Yankee when he’s from deep inside Red Sox territory.
There are plenty of theories about why Pavano’s contract with the Yankees is such a disaster. Everyone can at least agree that it is, in fact, a disaster. There are not, however, any real, clear reasons as to what exactly happened here. Therefore, we humbly provide our own theory.
If karma played such a central role, whether it be Pavano’s or, well, Pavano’s, we suggest that all the bad karma the Yankees have built up over the years is simply balancing the universe out by killing their pitching staff and team in general. We understand this isn’t the way karma actually works. It’s just a word everyone uses to describe the forces that cause good and bad fortune. Some people say God, some people say it’s the universe, and some people say it’s karma.
We should be clear. Yankees fans and the New York press are responsible. The Yankee organization itself has only built up some of this bad karma. Bad trades, shady personnel decisions and general organizational arrogance have surely lead to some kind of retribution from the universe. However, there is no more arrogant fan base than Yankees fans and there is no more arrogant press corps than the New York press. Time and again they attack the Yankees’ best players, try to run people out of town and fully take for granted that their favorite team is one of the most valuable in sports and one of the most successful in Major League Baseball. They win the American League East and make the playoffs almost every year, yet nothing short of a title is acceptable. It has happened in every era of Yankee success, and it is happening today.
It might be possible to trace this phenomenon all the way back to Babe Ruth, but the first concrete example is the Mantle-Maris era. Most people know the story. The press went after Maris because he was a clumsy interview, wasn’t a “real Yankee” and they loved Mickey Mantle. There were also so many people covering the Yankees for New York papers that some of them were simply hunting for a different angle. In any case, Yankees fans were silly enough to believe the hype and totally turned on Roger Maris. Sure they cheered for him occasionally, but they also booed the best right-fielder in baseball and eventually ran him out of town. Meanwhile, Mantle repeatedly broke down physically, robbing Yankee fan of what could have been another five years of dominance. Karma? Sure seems like it.
The Yankees won ten titles between 1950 and 1980. That’s a World Series victory every three years, for you math majors. There were Mantle’s Yankees and Reggie’s Yankees who won titles and expanded the Yankee mystique. Then there was the 1980’s and early 1990’s. The Yankees went 18 years between titles between 1978 and 1996. The career of Don Mattingly, ironically one of the most beloved Yankee players, went entirely without a World Series win. One of the other highlights of this era is the fact that the Yankees won the most games of any team but failed to ever win a title. Some more highlights? Andy Hawkins had a no-hitter but lost the game. They had the best record in the American League when the 1994 strike happened. It’s also the period when the team began a pattern of bad pitching signings. 1985-1986 is the Ed Whitson Era. Yankee fans know what I’m talking about.
Then came 1996 and the Yankees won four titles in the next five years. They had built through the farm system and won the right way. However, this last run of success caused the New York press and Yankee fan to fall back into the old habit of taking their titles for granted and booing their best players.
The best example of the press and fans needlessly attacking one of their own is Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod is clearly the best player in baseball, yet there is constant controversy surrounding him in New York. Would the New York Post ever have published “Stray-Rod” about Mickey Mantle? Or Derek Jeter?
In a larger sense, Rodriguez is the poster boy of the bloated, overspending Yankees who are desperate to win another title. But they’re no longer doing it the right way. Everyone around New York is so desperate to win a World Series because they took the four they won between 1996 and 2000 completely for granted. Now they’re in another karmic cycle of frustrating losses, and they aren’t equipped to deal with it. But you know what we think about that over here at Rumors and Rants. Screw the Yankees.