Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Now it's Professor Joba, without the inner tube? Why couldn't Joba Chamberlain get into shape last year?
Posted by el duque at 7:32 AM
Last season, Joba looked and pitched like a Keystone Cop. He not only gave up grand slams, but he ate his share of them at Dennys. Either, nobody on the Yankees noticed that he had become a human tub of lard. Or he just kept eating and refused to listen.
How does a player with so much potential turn into such a slob?
Well... that's a question the Yankees need to figure out - and soon.
During their 14-year barf, which ran from the 1980s into the Selig Strike, the Yankees were a franchise so dominated by their nut-bag owner and his syncophantic courtiers that we fans commonly saw players flourish after they left New York. As we head into 2014, it's hard to say which Yankees we are - the team that gets the most from its players, or the place everyone needs to escape.
But does anyone doubt that Joba and Phil Hughes will turn around their careers, now that they're outside the Steinbrenner/Murdoch/YES radioactive zone?
Of all the disappointments last year, their collapses hurt most. If the Yankees had gotten anything from either, the team might have made the playoffs. We fans literally watched once-great prospects turn into meatballs.
And now Joba has discovered "physical conditioning?" Wow. How did this happen? Was there, say, a pamphlet in the Tigers dugout that suggested players try workouts? Did he see an exercise tape lying around?
Last year, the Yankees were a fine team for a scrap-heapers seeking to extend their careers. But for old-line Yankees, it was hell. Everyone was either hurt, or they just stank. This year, we'll have new chemistry. I suspect Beltran and McCann were signed as much for their leadership as their bats. And though I recognize that some people think Robbie Cano was smart to jog out grounders - I'd prefer to see players actually run. (And Alfonso Soriano better stop watching his long flies from home plate. I hate to think of that image - a throwback to the times of Mel Hall - becoming the Yankee way.)
But Hughes and Joba are gone - and lucky to be out the door. So what's going on here?
Listen: I don't think it's the ban on beards that creates problems for Yankees.
But I believe it has to do with the hubris that results in a ban on beards.
When players leave, the first thing they do is stop shaving. Are they not sending us a message? Something about the Yankee mystique needs to change. And until it does, all the free agent spending in the world is not going to help.