"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


So, okay, the Yanks’ didn’t hit much last night. Felix Hernandez was tough again, though not as dominant as he’d been against the Yanks in New York (without Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada in the line-up, he wasn’t facing the team’s best). It eventually caught up to the Yanks when Joba Chamberlain coughed-up a slim, 1-0 lead in the eighth. Gave up a grand slam of all things as the Yanks fell, 4-1 to the Mariners. Shame because Javy Vazquez was terrific–he had a no-hitter through six.

According to Ben Shpigel in the Times:

“He’s a human being that’s giving everything he’s got out there, so I don’t get frustrated,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “I still believe in him. He hasn’t been the eighth-inning guy for a year and a half. Most of the times we’ve had the lead, he’s done a good job. Tonight, he struggled.”

Girardi is correct, in a sense: of the 31 times Chamberlain has entered with a lead, only four times has he departed with the score tied or the Yankees trailing. One other time, he left with the lead, but Mariano Rivera allowed three inherited runners to score. The larger problem plaguing Chamberlain and, by extension, the Yankees is his unreliability. After every implosion, he calls it a learning experience, but does not seem to be learning from it or to have an explanation.

“You’ve got to go out and pitch,” Chamberlain said. “That’s the art of pitching. You’re not always going to have your best stuff, you’re not always going to have your best command. That’s the journey we have as pitchers.”

Tough night. It might not be fair (since when does fairness have anything with being a fan?) but every time I think of Joba these days, this is what I hear:

[Photo Credit: AP Photo/John Froschauer]

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1 RIYank   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:01 am

He treated the rats as equals, which was right.

2 monkeypants   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:18 am

Manager Joe Girardi said. “I still believe in him. He hasn’t been the eighth-inning guy for a year and a half...

I can't express must how happy I am that this has now become, it seems, a technical term.

3 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:32 am

The problem is that his fastball is straighter than Tipper Gore.

4 Diane Firstman   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:42 am

Something about seeing "JOBA!" made me think of this ...

"JOBA .... that loses ballgames"
"I did not know that."

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:44 am

R.I.P. Bob Sheppard

we knew it was coming, but still sad

6 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:46 am

After every implosion, he calls it a learning experience, but does not seem to be learning from it or to have an explanation.

That was my frustration with him last year. I still think he should be starting, but I'm beginning to think he should go back to Triple-A to get established in the role.

7 Raf   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:56 am

[3] I don't think the straight fastball isn't a problem; Curt Schilling had a straight fastball. I would rather Joba be sent down to learn to pitch, to start so he can get a feel for his curve and change as well as refine the slider.

8 Raf   ~  Jul 11, 2010 11:41 am

*is a problem*

9 monkeypants   ~  Jul 11, 2010 11:47 am

5) ouch, I didn't see that. : (

10 monkeypants   ~  Jul 11, 2010 11:50 am

6) yes yes yes and more yes

11 randym77   ~  Jul 11, 2010 12:09 pm

[5] I hadn't seen that, either. RIP, Mr. Sheppard.

12 seamus   ~  Jul 11, 2010 12:52 pm

I've been frustrated with Joba but it's very true that he is successful most times out. I guess what makes him seem to be doing worse than he is overall is that when he's bad, he's just plain awful.

13 NYYfan22   ~  Jul 11, 2010 1:00 pm

[12] ...Like playin a game of Nebraskan Roulette. sheesh

14 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jul 11, 2010 1:14 pm

"That's the journey we have as pitchers!"


Why does that remind me of the bizarre wistful resignation about sitting under a mango tree in the Caribbean with pockets full of nothing but dreams.

15 jjmerlock   ~  Jul 11, 2010 1:26 pm

[14] Good googly moogly, that remains one of the strangest public statements in sports history.

Ortiz' shifty-eyed mumbling un-taking responsibility conference was a distant cousin, as well.

[4] Diane, you are one twisted, twisted sister. In a good way.

Can someone answer this, because I rarely pay attention to these particulars - I read on RAB last night that if the Yanks are going to send Joba down with no loss of control, it has to be done in the next few weeks, as some three years on the 40 man will kick in very soon.

Is this correct, or a mess of un-truths?

16 Raf   ~  Jul 11, 2010 1:43 pm

[15] It may have been strange, but it put a lot into perspective. From being a poor kid in the DR to game 7 of the ALCS, is mindblowing.

17 jjmerlock   ~  Jul 11, 2010 7:58 pm

[16] It was the "when" of how that statement was delivered that was baffling.

I'm pretty confident that no Red Sox fan - and that meant a lot of people whose hopes were resting on the guy - wanted to hear that at that particular moment (it was accompanied by "the Yankees are my daddy" thing).

And for a guy who was throwing Zimmer down by the head not that long before the statement, and for the statement to be that "me-oriented" about how thrilled he was to "feel important" - on a day anyone else associated with the team probably wasn't feeling so hot - it was erratic, bizarre, and flat out weird.

We can pretend it was some great profound lesson from on high, but the context says that's just not the case. It was yet another bizzarity from a guy who was one hell of a pitcher, but also one very, very strange dude.

18 Raf   ~  Jul 11, 2010 9:50 pm

[17] "It actually made me feel really, really good," Martinez said. "I actually realized that I felt like somebody important, because I caught the attention of 60,000, plus you guys, plus the whole world, watching a guy that is, you reverse the time back 15 years ago, I was sitting under a mango tree without 50 cents to pay for a bus. And today, I was the center of attention of the whole city of New York. I thank God for that, and you know what? I don't regret one bit what they do out there.

"I respect them, and actually I kind of like it because I don't like to brag about myself, I don't like to talk about myself, but they did make me feel important.

"I've seen a lot of teams pass by and play against this team, the Yankees, and maybe because I'm with the Red Sox I feel so thankful I got their attention, and they got my attention."

"You know what, even if tomorrow they are going to say, Pedro lost, Pedro won, I had an opportunity to show everybody that I believe in God," he said. "The chanting about whether `Who's your daddy?' My biggest daddy is the one that put me out there and the one that brought me over from the mango tree to the biggest stage in the world."

Nothing strange about that.

19 jjmerlock   ~  Jul 11, 2010 10:53 pm

You see nothing strange, I see strange.

I see a man who brought a midget into that clubhouse as some sort of fixture. You see nothing strange.

I see how Red Sox fans reacted to the whole thing: http://bostondirtdogs.boston.com/Headline_Archives/Daily_Headlines_September_2004.html

You see nothing strange.

I see his comments as being about how much he likes being the center of attention on a night when the franchise suffered one of its more devastating defeats. That seems strange, to me. You see nothing strange.

You seem to take what Pedro says at face value. I don't.

I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I don't take paeans to God coming from attention-craving, midget-exploiting, circus-creating egomaniacs as seriously as I take them when they are spoken by men of dignity. I guess we got something different out of the press conference. For me, it was yet another very, very strange moment in two years that had Pedro involved in some of the nuttiest stuff I've seen in the big leagues.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver