Monday, October 9, 2006

The Curse of the Yankees

I don't talk about baseball all that much these days, as I have nothing much new to offer. I'm partial to hockey. But a momentous event occurred in New York over the weekend. The Yankees were knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. The Mets swept their first round series and moved to the league championships. What does it all mean?

The Yankees spend a fifth of a billion dollars on payroll. $200 million. They gathered all the top stars. Created a Hall of Fame lineup. And for six consecutive seasons, they have not won the Series. Most everyone you hear talking about this says that the reason is clear: while they're a collection of great pieces, the Yankees aren't a true team. They are a bunch of individuals. You can't win if you don't play as a team.

That's true in basketball. That's true in hockey. That's true in football. However, this is most decidedly not true in baseball. Baseball is a series of individual acts. The only people who have to work together are the pitcher and the catcher. A shortstop doesn't have to intuitively know that the left fielder is in a particular spot. A runner on second doesn't need to have a particular play worked out with the batter. Baseball is a collection of individual events performed by individual players. A lack of teamwork is never to blame for striking out, popping the ball up with the bases loaded, or on the other hand, wild throws and dropped fly balls.

So why haven't the Yankees won since the WTC was intact? It's very simple. In 2000, they beat the Mets in the World Series. At the time, I cursed them. Sure, they won the dream series, but I would make sure that they never again won it all as punishment. Well, it's been six seasons now where they have the best team but choked. I put that lump in their throats. I said "in six years, you'll sweep the Red Sox in a five game series during the season, but it will not make up for the fact that you lost a 3-0 lead to them two years earlier. Jerks."

When will I lift this curse? The Mets haven't won the Series yet, but they have at least a one in four chance. If they do take it all this year, I'll consider lifting the hex. But I probably won't. See, the Yankees just don't play well enough as a team yet.

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