The Joba Rules

Lately, now that the Yankees have decided to toss Joba Chamberlain in the bullpen (where he belongs) I keep hearing people being critical of Chamberlain for all the wrong reasons. I have heard this phrase over and over again. Over-hyped punk.

Overhyped… That might be true with the “Joba Rules” etc. but can we really blame the kid for that. He’s not the one who decided that he needed to be brought through this disaster babying system. He didn’t push the Yankees organization into creating a situation where every single thing he did, didn’t do, or stopped doing because of a pitch count was broadcast on ESPN. All Joba did was come on the scene a few years ago, dominate a three month stretch of season, and then do what he was told (or try to). So to call him overhyped as a jab to him is uncalled for.

If he is over-hyped then what the hell is Clay Bucholz? Other than the kids no-hitter what has he done to deserve the non-stop ass-kissing tossed his way? If you listen to everyone he is part of the reason why the Red Sox have a deeper, more stable rotation than the Yankees.

Joba’s career stats (some bullpen time but 90% plus as a starter)

IP = 281.1/ H = 266/ BB = 121/ K = 285/ ER = 113/ W = 15/ L = 9 / ERA = 3.61

Bucholz career stats (same amount of career starts and a few stints in the bullpen early on)

IP = 190.2 /H = 198/ BB = 87/ K = 162/ ER = 104/ W = 12/ L = 14/ ERA = 4.91

We won’t mention the fact that the “kid” Bucholz is one and half years older than Chamberlain and had a full extra season in the minors to develop at a leisurely pace before coming up. People need to think about the fact that Joba has been up in the bigs for how long? At this point in his career Papelbon was JUST ARRIVING in the show.

In addition, I fail to see how this whole situation makes Chamberlain a punk. The guy has listened to everything he’s been told to do without creating a stink. The Yankees told him to pitch 3 innings and get out whether he gave up 5 runs or had a no-hitter going… he did it. They told him they were pulling him out of the rotation and into the bullpen for the playoffs… he did it. They told him that Hughes was to be the 5th starter and he’d be in the bullpen… he did it. So far I’ve heard nothing but positive, team-first quotes from Chamberlain about this (and judging by his publicity so far, we would have known if he said boo).

I also challenge any pitcher or athlete to succeed in a situation like the one Chamberlain went through last year. His role was constantly changing. He could pitch a whole game, then he couldn’t. He could pitch on regular rest, then he had to wait 9 days between starts (good luck staying in midseason form that way). In addition, everything he did along the way was scrutinized under the finest microscope, destroying his confidence. When Joba was off the leash as a reliever, he was electric. In the few times that we saw him off the leash as a starter, he experienced at least a little success, including a 3 game stretch in late July where he had three wins, giving up a total of 2 runs in a span of 21.2 innings with 19 strikeouts and only 8 hits against the Rays, A’s, and Tigers. (It should be noted that his first 9 day rest was immediately after the 3rd game, totally breaking his rhythm). Consistency is what makes athletes what they are.

Give the kid a break and realize that it’s the Yankees organization that chose this way to handle things, not him. All he has done is quietly gone about his business every step of the way, not complaining once about it.

If you think that makes him a punk then I have news for you. You’re the punk moron.


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