PhilSox Blog: Joba's Fists

 


Joba's Fists

Fire that Twinkie right here, bother!Obviously, anyone who's a fan of the Red Sox and Jonathan Papelbon would be a hypocrite if they said that fist pumping and mound theatrics bothered them. So it's the opposite position that I take in this whole swirl of commentary about Joba Chamberlain, the Yankee reliever who has been on the hot seat because of his mini celebrations during games. I really have no problem with it.

Goose Gossage, the ex-Yankee reliever and soon-to-be Hall of Famer, has an issue with it. Do you want to know why? Because he didn't do it. He believes that Chamberlain is below him. It's a "Back in my day..." sort of looking down on current guys position, if you ask me. If you're not as good as Goose, you should be doing everything like he did it in hopes of improving yourself. Forget that!

I will admit that, for an eighth inning reliever, his choices of instances to get wound up seem suspect at times. He's not getting a save or a win in most appearances. Perhaps the third strike in the 8th of a game that the Yankees are up by 3 seems less than wanting of a celebration. This is his job, though, and when he does it well, he's happy. What a freak, right? Let's not forget, too, that the Yankees need whatever good vibes they can muster these days, or the fact that Chamberlain was out recently to go home to be with his ill father, a man who by all accounts is a huge reason why Joba is where he is. When he's doing well, he's excited, both for himself and for his dad. How can you knock that?

If nothing else, these little seizures that he goes through should inspire opponents to play harder, which is never a bad thing. Instead, some opposing players get all trite and use words like "bush." David Dellucci used that very term to comment on Chamberlain's enthusiasm after striking him out recently. This strike out came the night after Dellucci went yard off of Chamberlain. If you can't get excited about that, there's something wrong with you. And if you can't understand why someone would get excited about that, you need to be in a different job. Yes, Mr. Dellucci, I'm talking to you! This is a kid's game that you play. The key term being "game". You're supposed to get excited because it is supposed to be fun. You make seven figures to do a job that people everywhere would be willing to do for minimum wage. You're supposed to be in a good mood!

I wish there were more guys showing emotion on the diamond. I don't have a problem with Manny raising his arms when he smacks a home run. What I do have an issue with is when he strikes out with men on and the Red Sox trailing and he shrugs his shoulders as if to say, "Oh, well." It bothers me, too, when a guy like J.D. Drew goes 0 for 4 and still carries that thousand-yard-stare that he wears all the time. Or when Eric Gagne blows yet another save with the same expression he always wears, none. What endears fans to players even more than raw talent is the appearance that they care about the games somewhere near the same amount that we do. David Ortiz went through a huge slump to start off this year. While he wasn't breaking bats or going on profanity laden tirades, you could tell by he mannerisms and reactions that he was as disappointed in the turn of events as we were. Ryan Howard has the same thing going on. He's doing lousy and you can tell he's mad about it. I assume that guys like Drew and Gagne are upset when they perform poorly, but I can't really be sure because they appear to not care.

I have made fun of Chamberlain on many occasions and will continue to do so as long as he is a Yankee and as long as he has that funny jowl vibration when shaking off a sign from his catcher. But to chastise him for exuberance would be both hypocritical and contrary to what I really want to see in a baseball game.

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