Chip D. continues offering up tips, reasons and pointers on Yankee-hating, based on three decades of oft-bitter experience! Tune in all week for more! - sj
Reason #4: Joba Chamberlain
Only in the Bronx does a bean-balling sack of excuses get the "First Name Only" treatment. Chamberlain may learn to harness that 100 mph fastball. He may go on to be the next Mariano or the next Roger. But right now, he's a kid with half a year as a promising setup guy who has failed to transition to the rotation. This does not stop the Yankees's relentless PR machine -- known as the national baseball media -- from promulgating nonsense that leads to barbarities like the phrase "Joba Rules." For the love of Allah! Every Little Leaguer is on a pitch count -- how does Chamberlain's rate its own special, precious little name?
Speaking of Allah, it should also be clear that the heavens no longer smile upon -- or, more like it, chose to overlook -- the Yankees's shenanigans. The celestial signs have been bad for New York baseball since the yawn-fest World Series of 2000. But two particular omens suggest that, these days, finally, Whom The Gods Would Destroy, They First Put In Pinstripes. First, on the night of the Red Sox championship-clinching game of 2004 (exactly five years ago today), there was a lunar eclipse that turned the full moon Red Sox-red. This omen provided not just the almighty imprimatur on the Sox victory, but signaled that the higher powers were again giving adult supervision to MLB post-season results. The White Sox victory in 2005 -- also extinguishing a unreasonably long drought -- and the Phillies' triumph of 2008 continued the string of mercifully Yankee-free World Series. However, no clearer sign of divine displeasure has ever shown itself than in Game Two of the 2007 divisional series, Yanks vs. Indians, Yanks up 1-0 in the eighth, Chamberlain on the mound. Suddenly, a swarm of bugs -- midges -- descended on Chamberlain's neck. He lost his concentration, walked Grady Sizemore, threw a couple of wild pitches -- the second scoring Sizemore -- and the Indians went on to win the game and the series.
As with A-Rod, the failures and disappointments of Chamberlain do not give me joy on any personal level. On another team, in another city, this hard-throwing young man with the confused, hard-scrabble personal life might be an object of sympathy, even admiration. He might be Zack Greinke if he pitched in Kansas City. But most people don't even know who Zack Greinke is, much less his story -- and the national press sure as hell doesn't call him "Zack." Rather, Chamberlain is -- and by a justice larger than all of us ought to remain -- just another guy on the team on whom the midges descend.