I thought I was totally torn by this situation. The day Joba made his first appearance in the pinstripes my gut has continually leads me in the same direction, with the same ideals of all fans to win, in the best place where I believe Joba will rule!!
At first, like many the eagerness was just building…. waiting for the arrival of a ‘special’ kid called Joba. He was the ‘who’ that was going to be the face of Yankees pitching and likely the damn majors. He was said to have the type of talent that is not seen often from pitchers, even the good ones who everyone came to know, to love and to count on. The kid’s destiny was mapped out, already planned but is it fair to maybe prevent just a great starter the opportunity of attempting the soaring possibility of becoming a legendary closer?
In essence Joba was our homegrown prodigy. Our ‘hey look what we got’… as if to erase the past few seasons of losing (mainly due to the new kings from Boston). Still we continued with the idea that buying big name pitchers, by offering them money only the Yankees could, along with the history and dreams that come with the uniform. Transforming all into thinking it was enough to create a championship worthy team.
So Joba was more than just a unique talent he was our ‘in your face’ to everyone to prove that we have home-grown talent too. Like suddenly the Yankees started to look beyond the current season. I, as a fan, saw it more as a cover up because what we were attempting to do the easy way was not working. And it started repeating itself and then Boston won a second World Series. I thought I could live with the numbers of 1918 to 2004 fine. Hey we have 26 but then to win it again in 2007 along with being the ALCS four times in the last decade. Smashing down on the Yankees which must have felt so damn good considering how long it took, but did not feel like this for my Yankees!!
The last two seasons I want to erase, forget about the three earlier…. all in all I want the reminders since our loss in the 2003 World Series gone, a thing of the past, a ‘who cares’ with a shoulder shrug!!
Since my amnesia that started in the fall of 2003 I have started to make memories again. For the first time, in a long time my New York Yankees finally look good again. This is not the kind of good that stems from all the talented, big names of each player because that is a false sense of comfort, I can swear to that. We look like a team again. I can see it in their eyes, in their newfound relationships with each other. This is something that just happens and it is something to be cherished which is easy to forget sometimes. So if anyone dare question why Joba is such a big issue that need be debated and taken so seriously? Here is the reason…this Yankees team deserves it!!! We are not last year’s team or the team the season’s before that who felt the pressure of a dynasty coming to close and to make matters worse it did not close gently or with respect it slammed, hard!
‘Home- grown’ and ‘farm system’ became commonly used terms that were gaining popularity. Well deserved is the only description for this new trend. Words associated with ‘win’, which have now earned the ranks of common household baseball terms. It was working and Theo Epstein, other than being so young in age, was becoming the GM to aspire too. He took chances, chances where payoffs are still growing. Epstein made the game of baseball go back to the idea of family and growing up as part of a franchise’s family; something that was starting to fade.
Back to my original question…. where to put Joba. I remember his first games as a Yankees and he looked like the brightest thing since a young Mariano Rivera. The tandem of the two was awesome and exciting, not if you are a batter on the other team. I know that Joba has four or five pitches but so did Mo at first and Papsmear did too. Both of these two winning closers were drafted as starters and played as such initially. And I believe that neither Mo, nor Pap would be as famous or as shoe-in hall of fame inductees if they were not moved to the positions meant just for them to end the games and close the doors, slam it!
We all know how crucial and I mean CRUCIAL having a good closer is. A team cannot win without a great closer!!! And to win the World Series that takes making it through the grudgingly long season, to win your division or wild card spot onto the challenges faced in the post season. It is imperative any which what way.
For 2009 we need to be able to hang in the middle innings!!!
The weakest link by far on this current Yankees team is our middle relief pitchers. And I know the Yanks cannot hang with the Red Sox if we do not fix this. Boston will cream us in the middle innings and if Tampa gets it together, which will happen I promise, the Rays will take advantage BIG TIME of this issue. Not to mention the 2008 WS champs have the heavy hitters, along with the Tigers too.
Once again I am back to Joba… he was the Yankees treasure and we baby the hell out of him! ‘The Joba Rules’ of not over a 60, 70 pitches no matter what took away what other starting pitchers had to learn the hard way. The experience needed of having to fight their way out of situations. Hughes and Kennedy didn’t have rules and the pressure was on them to do as expected, just as much.
Joba has what I glimpse as the best of Papelbon and Rivera all in one!! He has the determination of wearing his emotions on his sleeve like Pap and the concentration of lights out with a confident edge resembling our Mo. Joba is destined to be the Mariano replacement and be it he will honor it hands down!!!
I am not saying that Joba cannot be a good starter but he never pitches past six innings (being kind) and that six is his longest. He also allows a ton of runners to get on base and it is not improving with time, it is becoming his style and batters are not scared of it anymore. And that is not Joba’s pitching necessarily but just knowing what stand in between him and Rivera. It is a style that is good but I want it to be great!
If Joba can set-up, be our middle, with the attitude of’ just for now before’, the lights out leading to Mo is worth the try!! Putting Joba in the middle of our bullpen is not a last spot but just a temporary setup man so we are in the best place to win this year!! I am almost sure that it will be the reason, definitely the biggest but almost the deciding if this year’s Yankees can win and what team would ever chance that??
Any team who doesn’t want to be feared. And I can tell you Joba to Mariano is the poster child of shut out!!
It jolts me just thinking about it!!!
- Joba can relate to all this Lin-sanity (nydailynews.com)
- Yankees’ Joba Chamberlain understands ‘Linsanity’ (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Yankees sign David Aardsma (yankees.lhblogs.com)
- Joba throws 35 pitches at Yankees camp (nypost.com)
- New York Yankees Are to Blame for Joba Chamberlain’s Performance (ladylovespinstripes.com)