October 30, 2006
If you're like me, you're a die hard baseball fan, and a "fair weather" football fan. Once the "Fall Classic" is over, no matter if your team was in the post season or not, you feel a bit depressed, flipping through the channels hoping to see a movie about baseball, or a classic game being broadcast on one of the sports networks. You have a calendar counting down the days until spring training, and you jump to the sports pages of the newspaper every day poring through the columns for the latest "hot stove" report. Still, the sports fan within you seeks some satisfaction. There is a need for excitement in your life. You have to cheer for someone, some team, and feel passionate again. For most, that leaves football.
Yes, the NFL "preseason" games begin in August, too early for most baseball fans to pull their attention away from hotly contested division races to watch football. But after postseason play is over and there is a new World Series championship team, there is a "baseball void" which football can only partially fill.
In New York, it is difficult to be a football fan as the Jets and the Giants both play in New Jersey. The only other actual team from New York is the Buffalo Bills, and there isn't much of a chance you want to root for them, much less travel to Buffalo to see a game. There's little incentive to travel to New Jersey to begin with, and being a part-time football fan you don't have much inspiration to buy tickets, pay tolls, and sit in freezing weather to watch a football team you're only casually interested in.
Of course there are many who are both avid baseball and football fans. They go to both baseball and football games, wear jerseys from both sports, call radio stations and complain about the Mets/Jets, Yankees/Giants; but football doesn't give the avid baseball fan who watches all one hundred and sixty games per season the same joy and fulfillment that a seventeen week football schedule offers.
As the hot stove heats up, and Thanksgiving nears, baseball fans will slump in front their television sets watching football, allowing themselves to get excited about a touchdown, or their team's chances of getting to the playoffs. But, immediately after the Superbowl, they will break out their calendars which they marked off in October, and count the days, hours, and minutes until pitchers and catchers show up to spring training.
"I can't worry about guys who are not here, it's not a letdown if you're not counting on it. It's not hard to believe. That's what's been happening all the time." (Derek Jeter quoted in an August 29, 2006 ESPN.com article)
In spite of Carl Pavano's nagging injuries, and his late reporting of an August 15, 2006 car accident in which he broke two ribs, the Yankees should give Carl Pavano another chance in 2007 and not trade him. No one has stated so far that this is a possibility, but due to the apparent distaste for Pavano in the clubhouse (Jeter's statement above may be indicative of the general attitude toward him), this very well may be a possibility. If there are concerns about his character, considering the late reporting of his accident, let them fall by the wayside because the Yankees sorely need him even if his arm might be sore. So, if in 2007, Carl decides he can't pitch for some reason or another, the Yankees can send him to counseling along with A-Rod.