Sports fandom is filled with hatred. If you love a team enough, you hate that team’s rival. Really, truly hate. Irrationally hate. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins fans hate each other and have for a long while. Ohio State and Michigan fans hate each other because of how intertwined their storied histories are. India and Pakistan cricket fans hated each other… due mainly to decades of horrific war. Such is the way of sport, really. We give ourselves so willingly and so fully to our club that anything that attemps to defame or diminish it becomes the target of our burning rage.
I consider this a price. Fandom isn’t free. You need to invest a lot in it – money, time, love, and hate. Only when you are fully invested in this way can you truly experience the impossible highs and devastating lows that sport was created to evoke. I do my best to keep this in mind when I discuss my intense hatred of Carl Pavano.
Carl Pavano, the Yankees’ 4 year, $40 million dollar mistake, just pitched in (and won) his first Major League game in over a year. And I couldn’t be more disgusted. I hate Pavano. I hate him as much as I hate Manny Ramirez. I hate his attitude (poor), his health (awful), and what he represents (the blind spending of the early 2000s Yankees). He is a great weight hanging around the neck of the organization – a reminder to the owners and the fans that mistakes like him have given us nearly a decade without a championship. I wish I could direct some of this hatred outward, away from my Yankees, but I can’t. Everything that is wrong with how that team did business is encapsulated in one man, fairly or unfairly.
In my mind, Carl Pavano has been worse for the Yankees playoff chances than any other player on any other team. Accordingly, I have a Pavano Grudge. And I know I’m not the only one.
If there can be a lesson taken out of this, I suppose it would be that it is alright to hate something in sports. We’re all imperfect humans, and our body gives off a lot of hate. So we might as well direct it at something harmless, like a wretched, consistently injured jerk. Like Carl Pavano.