The single most catastrophic collapse in major league sports playoff history (it’s happened twice in the NHL, but they they have more rounds of playoffs than teams) now sits squarely at the feet of the New York Yankees of song and lore, forever changing the physical molecules and numenous spirits in, around, and under Yankee Stadium.
No team in the history of MLB has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff. No team had ever even forced a game 7 after being down 3-0.
With last night’s 10-3 humiliation, the Yankees, whose financial resources, due to broadcast revenues and the (admirably, as far as I’m concerned) maniacal will to win of owner King George Steinbrenner, far outstrip any other team; the Yankees, with 10 straight playoff appearances under Joe Torre; the Yankees, with 39 AL pennants and 26 World Series titles; the Yankees, who found a way to win when it counted most in ’96, ’98, ’99, ’00, have now found a way to LOSE in the playoffs every year since 2000.
With this year’s unprecedented, historic, stunning, incredible, outrageous, mind-boggling freefall from a 3-games-to-none lead following a 19-8 evisceration of the Red Sox in Boston, the most mythic destruction of a mystique in sports history is complete.
Buster Olney, in his recent book The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness, was right: on November 4, 2001, when, within 4 strikes of yet another World Series title, Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer in baseball history, gave up the winning runs on a couple of bad pitches and his own throwing error to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the plug was pulled on the drain and the Dynasty began leaking away – the last drops disappeared last night.
The wheel of samsara has turned – karma is one nasty bitch.