A Sickening Night

It’s amazing how quickly things can change.  At about 12:15am on Thursday, I was absolutely elated.  The Rangers had outlasted the Caps in triple OT. Less than 24 hours later I was grieving the loss of Mariano Rivera and another sickening performance by the Knicks.

As I reflect on it, there is an interesting comparison between the Knicks, specifically Carmelo Anthony and the Yankees and Mariano Rivera.  If you are younger than 30, you probably don’t remember that New York was a Knick town in the early 1990’s and not a Yankees town.  The passion for the Blue and Orange was just as strong then as the passion is for the Yankees now.  If you watched last night’s game you saw some of that on display.

In fact, the Yankees of the early 1990’s stunk.  They were the product of George Steinbrenner’s free agent binges with a barren farm system and very little talent.  George got banned from baseball, Gene Michael took over and the Yankees rebuilt from within.  By 1994 they had the best record in the AL when the strike happened.  In 1995, they made the playoffs and apart from 2008, they have made them every year since.

Contrast that with the Knicks.  Just like the Yankees, they fell into the dumps.  And just like the Yankees, they had a Gene Michael, or in this case, Donnie Walsh.  Walsh rebuilt them, getting rid of terrible contracts and giving time for some young guys to develop.  They added Amar’e Stoudemire in 2011 and they started winning again.

But the Knicks didn’t have the patience the Yankees had.  They wanted to reach for the prize right away and Jim Dolan pulled a Steinbrenner and gave away their depth for Carmelo Anthony.  Anthony demanded the trade to the Knicks because he didn’t want to wait to sign an extension under the new CBA rules because he would earn less money.  You can’t fault a guy for wanting to maximize his earnings, but by doing so he showed that he cared more about the green than the bling.

Yet all of that would be excusable if the Knicks had found their Mariano Rivera in Carmelo.  Let’s face it, that’s what they thought they were getting, but instead they got a guy who is averaging less than 38% from the field in his seven playoff games with the Knicks.  Do I need to add that the Knicks have lost all seven of those games?  The Knicks needed a guy like Dwayne Wade, someone who could carry his team to a championship.  Instead they rolled the dice on a guy who clearly can’t.

Mariano’s leg will heal and hopefully he will decide to pitch again.  Even if he doesn’t, his place in history is secure.  Carmelo, on the other hand, is looking like a guy that history and New York will not remember fondly.

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