In the 2007 – 2008 NBA season, Eddy Curry epitomized my biggest fan dilemma, as he was my least favorite NBA big man and he was playing for my least favorite coach alongside my least favorite point guard on my most favorite NBA team. On any given play, I found myself rooting for Eddy Curry to miss a shot and then rooting for David Lee to hit Marbury with a stray elbow as he put back the resulting offensive board for a score. This added complication ruined the experience of watching the Knicks play, so much so that I briefly considered pretending I liked the Charlotte Bobcats. Things got so bad that I even tried to postulate that Walter “Dub R Dub N” Herrmann was the most exciting player in the NBA.
As many of you probably know, a few years ago the “Eddy Curry Line” was established by Matt Buser, a former Y! fantasy sports writer who currently runs busersports.com, as a measure of futility. The standard: a player must average more turnovers than assists, steals, and blocks combined. In order to qualify, a player must have appeared in at least half of his team's games and averaged at least 20 minutes of playing time.
As a direct result of being forced to watch the ’07 – ’08 Knicks play, I transmuted Buser's idea of the Eddy Curry Line so that it became a way for me to determine my amount of dislike for a given player. Among friends, I called it The Eddy Curry Lineage—I don't know why, it just felt natural, maybe because The Lineage was a descendant of The Line. Anyway, when a player is under The Eddy Curry Lineage, I root against them even if they are on my favorite team. If Barry Bonds ever becomes a Yankee, for example, I would root against him. Barry Bonds is below The Eddy Curry Lineage.
I understand that the timing of this post isn’t perfect, given the recent events that Curry has gone through in his personal life, but my intent is not to slander Curry. I’m not sure that rooting against Curry was ever productive, but it certainly isn’t productive now, as so much has changed with the Knicks in the last year: Thomas is gone, Marbury is gone-ish, and Curry is injured, out of shape, and probably heartbroken.
But I was reminded of The Eddy Curry Lineage when the A-Rod / steroids story broke. Given my status as a Yankee fan, I've tried to keep A-Rod above The Eddy Curry Lineage. And I have, barely. I cheer for him, defend him, and generally tolerate him. To my mind, there is no denying that he is an incredible baseball player and saying otherwise is folly. At the same time, my feelings for him have alternated between ambivalence and mild dislike. Perhaps what has saved him for me is that I find his complete inability to control how he is perceived to be uniquely interesting.
To help me deal with A-Rod being on my favorite team, I developed a theory about it. Essentially, I decided that A-Rod had “chancha,” which I defined as a strange sort of melancholy in which an incredibly successful person who has everything feels sad because he is terrified that at some point his amazing luck will run out and things will start to suck. I suggested that A-Rod had an inability to enjoy the good times of his life because he was constantly obsessing about where or when the guillotine of ills would drop. This affliction is a subtle emptiness and brings with it a self-centeredness mixed with insecurity that makes the afflicted pretty annoying to be around.
(I have no idea if any of this is true. These are just some of the mental hoops I jump through and rationalizations I make in order make rooting for the Yankees possible.)
So while the recent steroids news about A-Rod has certainly injected an element of uncertainty into my already fragile A-Rod fandom, the silver lining of it all is that perhaps A-Rod will finally be able to shake his self-absorbed chancha affliction—he no longer has to fear the worst because baseball-wise, steroids are pretty much as bad as it gets—and become someone to root for unreservedly.