Monday, September 21, 2009

Joba And The Media

Much has been said about Joba Chamberlain's reaction to his start yesterday. It's a rare occasion when the tabloids pass up a good opportunity for fear mongering about the Yanks 5.0 game (gasp!) lead to point out just how delusional Joba has been in regards to poor performance. This is nothing new. Back in early July we compared his comments to Ian Kennedy's shortly before he was demoted in August of 2008.

However, the difference now is that Kennedy's was a one-off incident and Joba has made these types of comments over and over again, every time he's grilled about his poor starts.

If you listen to the audio that PeteAbe provided, Joba first starts off by acknowledging that other people are going to be disappointed with him start, "I let my teammates down, you know, pretty much embarrassed them with what I did. You know, not being able to pick my teammates up and get out of here with the series win. That's the frustrating part." But then immediately says, about his stuff "You know, it was all working, surprisingly" and claims that if you take away one or two pitches, it's one or two runs.

With each question, you can hear the incredulous tone in the reporter's voices starting to sharpen. "When you say it was all working, but you give up 7 runs, how does that work in your mind?" Kim Jones said. PeteAbe then asked, "Joba, you said you want to take a positive out of everything. What positive can you take out of today?"

Like we've acknowledged before, there isn't a perfect correlation between throwing the ball well and having good outcomes on the mound. The batter, luck, the defense and the home plate ump all have a lot to do with it. That said, Joba's inability to take responsibility for his poor performances makes him seem even younger than 23. Like 12.

Joba treats the media like prying parents, demanding contrition for the mistakes he's made. He admits that he let his teammates, who are his peer group, down but sees the media as the authority figure in this case, the one who wants him to be accountable for what happens.

Is this a media story or a baseball story, though? Are we saying that Joba's refusal to face his failures head on makes him a poorer pitcher? Is it necessary that he admits his mistakes in order to pitcher better? Perhaps the fact that he doesn't let his bad starts bring him down is actually an asset. Maybe the fact that he's getting smeared in the papers is more of a personal vendetta against him by the writers whose questions he won't answer directly.

Along with the media, the fans also want their pound of flesh. They've been embarrassed too, and when they see or hear or read comments from the pitcher who just ruined their chance to watch their team win, it's not very endearing to hear him compliment the other team's batters and say how great his stuff was. The media is the conduit to the fans and some of the blame has to go to the organization for not conveying this dynamic to him better.

Let's just hope Joba pitches better against the Red Sox at home the next time out. He's much less delusional when he doesn't suck.


  1. Yanks 5.5 game

    It's 5 games, 4 in the loss column. I'd say who's counting, but it's me. I am counting.

  2. It has been corrected, sir. Thanks for the catch.

    The "in the loss column" thing has always been blown a little out of proportion, IMO. If a team has a .600 winning percentage like the Sox, that means it's a 60/40 relationship between W's & L's but people treat it as 4 is the only number that matters. Can we say 4.6 game lead?

  3. "The media is the conduit to the fans and some of the blame has to go to the organization for not conveying this dynamic to him better." Right on, I didn't think of that. I emailed Girardi a question. Do you know if they answer emails a week later on "The Joe Girardi Show" or are questions taken the same day? I would have more respect for Joba if he simply said "Bottom line - I pitched like ca-ca. Me and Dave Eiland reeeally need work stuff out. You guys don't wanna have this conversation with me over and over and trust me, neither do I."

  4. Here was my question: "Hey Joe, managers often have a Plan B (emergency plan) re: their #4 and #5 starters. What's your Plan B?"

  5. Good luck getting that answered anon. The Girardi show is the baseball equivalent of state run television. The questions are never controversial and the answers are never anything more than lip service. Even if they did ask, Joe wouldn't say anything remotely controversial about Joba's performance of late.

  6. LOL. well, I'm still glad I sent it in. I'd rather they ponder the question off-the-air and not reveal anything to our enemies, but s**t, for the sake of my mental sanity i felt obligated to ask