And maybe we are.
The Carl Pavano who will start for the Twins on Sunday in Game 3 of their American League Division Series against the Yankees doesn't sound like the one who spent four years on the Yankees. Or, more precisely, their disabled list.
He's married now, with one child and another on the way. He's 33 years old and pitching on a one-year contract that forces him to earn his next deal.
And he's healthy, which is the biggest change of all.
"I've always thought Carl is in a good place," Yankees' right-hander A.J. Burnett, a teammate of Pavano's in Florida, told FanHouse. "He wasn't healthy, man. I went through the same deal in Florida and my first couple years in Toronto.
"You're a completely different person upstairs when you're right. ... I'm really happy for him."
Pavano will be making his first postseason appearance since going 2-0 with a 1.40 ERA in eight games (two starts) for the 2003 Marlins.
He has already faced the Yankees twice this season, getting no decisions but compiling a 2.70 ERA (13 1/3 innings, 11 hits, one walk, eight strikeouts).
And he refuses to make Sunday's game about revenge, or proving anything.
"It's definitely a black period in my career," he said, "four years where I was kind of just treading water for a while there. But obviously, with the way this year has gone, I have been able to go out there and sustain health, go out there and be successful and get through the year and how everything has come full circle.
"I am getting a start in the playoffs, I can't ask for much more than that. When I look back on it, obviously things could have been a lot different, but it didn't work out that way, but I feel like I am getting back to where I was before all those problems."
The New York Post didn't just nickname Pavano "America Idle" for his extensive DL time, it used the moniker nearly daily.
Despite not joining the Twins until Aug. 7, he has made more starts for them (12) than he did over the final three years of his Yankees contract (nine). In fact, he made 26 Yankees starts in four years -- and 19 minor-league rehabilitation starts.
The Yankees signed him for four years and $39.95 million after the 2004 season, and all they got was 145 2/3 innings and nine wins.
General manager Brian Cashman defended Pavano through the contract and again Saturday.
"When he's healthy, he can pitch," Cashman said. "The true storyline is he just wasn't healthy.
"He wasn't a bad guy at all, as far as I was I was concerned. I didn't feel like he stole our money. ... I went down with him. He took a lot of crap, and so did I. I never lost my perspective on what really happened. It was a move that didn't work because he didn't stay healthy. Do I blame him for it? No I don't I don't think he laid down on us."
There was a sore shoulder in 2005, then a bad back and bone chips in his elbow in 2006. Then, while recovering from the elbow surgery, a broken rib suffered in a car accident that he hid from the team ("Crash Test Dummy," howled the tabloids).
In 2007, a series of injuries somehow left Pavano as the only starter available for Opening Day. But after just two starts, he had another elbow problem. And after a protracted back-and-forth with management over whether he needed surgery -- the Yankees wanted him to try to come back without it -- Pavano had Tommy John surgery in June, keeping him out until late August 2008.
Through it all Pavano was often immature, petulant, disingenuous and untruthful.
And now ...
"We are just a Minnesota nice group," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said, "and we like the hell out of the guy, and we can't wait to see him on the mound tomorrow night, and hopefully it works out for us."
Pavano started this year with Cleveland, which sent him to Minnesota once the Twins lost lefty Glen Perkins to a sore shoulder.
While Pavano was only 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA for Minnesota, the Twins won five of his final six starts as they overtook the Tigers in the AL Central.
"Everybody knew he was this pitcher for the Marlins," said his agent, Tom O'Connell. "If it wasn't for injuries, he would have been this kind of guy for the Yankees."
Said Andy Pettitte, who will oppose Pavano on Sunday: "I'm happy for him that he's here now and things have been a little different."
With the Twins, Pavano is the fourth-oldest player on the roster -- after catcher Mike Redmond, closer Joe Nathan and shortstop Orlando Cabrera -- and had to take on a leadership role.
"All the stuff that's gone on in the past with Carl," Gardenhire said, "I just know one thing, what he has meant to us and what he has helped us achieve here has been fantastic. He has come on and been a steady force for our baseball team, when he is pitching and when he is not pitching. And that's all we really give a flip about."
On Sept. 9, with Joe Mauer needing a day off from catching, Gardenhire had rookie Jose Morales catch Pavano.
"And those are the types of things you just can't replace. I mean, that's needed. Our coaching staff, we can do that, but when a veteran that's been out there on the mound is taking the time with a young catcher, that's pretty impressive."
It also is a far cry from someone who had a hard time fitting in inside the Yankees clubhouse -- mainly because a $200 million team expected to win the World Series every year has little use for someone who can't play.
"The fact guys are looking up to him, that's good," Burnett said. "I always thought Carl had a lot to offer. I always thought he had that in him, guys could benefit from him, because he knows how to pitch."
If Pavano wins today, people will say he proved a point, and Yankees fans will get apoplectic over losing to one of their favorite punching bags. If he loses, then they can say he finally helped the Yankees.
"There were a lot of good times," he said of his Yankees tenure, "but there were a lot of frustrating times that always stand out a lot more. But I am thankful I got another opportunity after that to get back to where I was before all the frustrating times."