The name Joba Chamberlain is a sacred one to Yankees fans and members of the New York media, who occasionally see the him as some sort of pitching Messiah (when he’s pitching well). Back when he made his major league debut in 2007, his abilities were so prized that the team created the “Joba Rules” to limit his innings and prevent his golden arm from falling off too quickly. The rules mostly just contributed to the Joba mystique, elevating him to mythical status amongst a fanbase that can’t get enough fawning hero worship.
It’s been a rocky road ever since for Chamberlain and his followers, featuring a bizarre philosophy of weaning him “mentally” into the role of a starter. He saw the DL, got a DUI. Yankees fans and the New York media grew restless. But then last night happened, as Joba managed the Herculean feat of going eight innings in the Yankees’ 5-2 victory over the hapless Indians. More importantly in the minds of hero-worshipping fans, though, a pretty nifty diving double-play move in the fifth gave Chamberlain’s mystique a much-needed bump. Check it out after the jump.
The Indians were threatening in the fifth when Kelly Shoppach popped up this little beaut of a bunt. Joba, not exactly the world’s most athletic athlete, sprung into action:
Eight innings, one double play move. It’s the sort of thing that’s pretty cool, but hardly unique. Don’t try telling the insane New York media that, though. From the breathless mouths of the NY POST:
Featuring a fastball that pushed the speed gun to almost triple digits late in the game and athletic ability few knew he had, Chamberlain hurled the sizzling Yankees past the Indians, 5-2, in front of 23,651 at Progressive Field.
Oh, the love! O, such courage! The DAILY NEWS fawned over his ability to pitch with bugs in the air, harkening back to Joba’s 2007 ALDS unraveling:
Not even midges, the bugs that famously derailed him in game two of the 2007 ALDS - could faze Chamberlain as he swatted them away in the eighth.
Of course, when Joba gives up 5 runs in 5 innings in his next start, the media will call him a bust. Life as usual in the world of NYC newspapers; how anyone actually gets any actual news from the Big Apple fishwraps remains a mystery.