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A Sorrowful Story


Joba Chamberlain

Before there was Jeremy Lin, there was Joba Chamberlain.  Joba took New York City by storm unlike many athletes had ever prior.  He came up from the farm system, had a heater in the mid to upper 90’s, a devastating slider that opposing batters couldn’t touch and an amazing following.  It was Linsanity 5 years prior to Jeremy’s rise to fame.  Joba was supposed to take over for Mariano.  He was our closer of the future and it looked like he had nothing but a bright future in pinstripes.  Man, how quickly things change.Since that opening season, Joba has had one unfortunate situation occur to him after another.  it started with a playoff game in Cleveland, in which Joba was on the mound prepared to give the Yankees a 2-1 series lead over the Indians.  Then, all of a sudden, there is a gnat infestation and Joba is covered with insects.  These pests are in his eyes, he is unable to hit his target and get through a key inning, the Yanks lose the game and the series.  We all shrugged, said it was weird and unlucky but I think we were all still hopeful for Joba’s future.

Then the Yankees tried to convert him into a starter.  The Joba rules were in full effect.  They stretched him out, took him down to the minors, brought him back up and put him into the rotation on various pitch and inning counts.  The Yankees scientifically tried to preserve his health.  They thought he would be a valuable lead pitcher in the front of the rotation, and they took extra care of him.  They tampered with his arm and role in every way imaginable. He wasn’t nearly as dominant as a starter, but they kept trying new things to help him.  Eventually, when they had doubts about his durability, Joba headed back to the bullpen.  Only now, it was over a season later and the Yankees never clearly stated what his role would be in the future.

All this tweaking and altering lead to Joba having a plethora of injuries.  He has had back injuries, shoulder injuries, arm injuries and oblique issues.  People questioned his weight and his work ethic.  Last year, when it finally looked like he was putting together his best season since his rookie campaign, he went down in June with more shoulder issues, this time needing Tommy John surgery to repair the damage.  This spring, as he was trying to get back to the big leagues in his rehab, he was playing with his son on a trampoline and fell off.  He dislocated his ankle, had the bone go through the skin which caused a significant loss of blood.  The ankle injury has become infected, which needs to be cleared before they can reset the bone and let any healing of the ankle begin.  It is expected to be a season long injury, which could possibly end his career.

Going into this season, the Yankees were not depending on all that much from Joba, so in the team sense, this injury will not be devastating.  However, it is quite devastating for the player himself.  To have so much promise, to fight back from so many injuries, to enjoy the success he has seen – to now be laying in a hospital with his entire career in doubt must be extremely frightening.  I pray that he recovers quickly, regains his strength and is able to recapture the glory he once realized.  All the Yankee fans who rejoiced when Joba came running onto the scene need to maintain that support for a man who is in great need of it.


2 responses

  1. I was glad to see Joba’s prognosis today also…thought it would initially be a lot worse than it seems though they said there is no time table on his return quite yet…

    good addition about his childhood and the irony involved in his injury occurring while playing with his son. Hopefully he can some back to contribute this year and help the Yanks down the stretch.

    March 26, 2012 at 6:37 PM

  2. mr. know-it-all

    nice piece NY Bobby. there’s a lot of sorrow to the Joba story, for sure. seems it’s been part of his life all his life, having had an upbringing filled with hardship. so there is some irony that in his attempt at being an attentive, involved parent, he finds further misfortune. however, the latest prognosis on his ankle is far less pessimistic than initial reports. it sounds like he’ll be back on the mound by mid-season. but surely this set-back has the potential to further derail what was already a difficult comeback. will he be able to overcome arm and ankle injuries all at once? let’s just hope his season debut is not in bug-invested Cleveland.

    March 26, 2012 at 3:21 PM

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