Now that the Yankee season has ended, Jeter is scheduling his tee time for the next 6 months, and Slappy is preparing to bolt New York faster than a speeding bullet, I've got a confession to make.
I like a Yankee player.
Man, that was harder to write than I thought it would be. But if you have just the tiniest bit of heart, it's really hard not to root for Joba Chamberlain.
Let me get this out of the way first: I think he's a bit of a head hunter (throwing 2 pitches in a row over Youk's head), has a lot to learn about being a PROFESSIONAL big league pitcher, and ENOUGH about the bugs already.
However, the influence of the Rocket on the head hunting thing can't be discounted, and he's just a kid. A kid who made the leap from A ball to the show in ONE FREAKING YEAR.
Not only did he make it to the show, he was DOMINANT at the highest level a player can reach, pitching for one of the best teams in the thick of a pennant race: if you believed in fairy tales, you'd think the guy was a robot.
However, it's not his athletic talent that has me rooting for him: it's his relationship with his Dad. Afflicted with polio in 1952 which left him deaf in one ear, paralyzed in an arm and a leg, and in a scooter for the rest of his life, Harlan Chamberlain is a man all of us can admire.
No Mom (she left when he was young), no money, and a father who would play catch with his son by sitting on the steps and tucking his glove under his chin to throw the ball back. If you don't subscribe to Sports Illustrated, you need to go to the local library and read the October 8th, 2007 edition.
"Watch the son turn his back to the plate, look to the sky and hold his Yankee cap over his heart. Watch the father remove his Yankees cap and do the same as the tears stream down his cheeks...."
I like to think of myself as a good Dad: after reading that article, I've got a LONG way to go.
And I get as sick as anyone when FOX or ESPN shows Jeter's Mom and Dad or Joba's Pop every other inning: in his case, I asked myself this.
What if he played for the Red Sox?
I'd think it was the best story I'd ever heard.
Besides, it's not his fault he had the misfortune to get drafted by the MFY's.