Want to know a quick and easy way to lose popularity with Yankees fans, other than changing your name to Alex Rodriguez? Getting into a heated verbal confrontation with one of the team’s legends is a great way to start, much like reliever Joba Chamberlain did this past Saturday in Kansas City when he didn’t take too kindly to being shushed by legendary closer Mariano Rivera, and let him know about it in front of a group of reporters and fans.
According to the NY Daily News, Rivera was chatting with fans in Kansas City as part of his farewell tour, including one family who had recently lost their 10-year-old son in an airport accident this past March, and another who has a 14-year-old battling cancer. Chamberlain, meanwhile, was at the top of the steps of the dugout, signing autographs and yelling into the stands at his family who had made the trip down from Nebraska. It was about this time that things got tense between the two, after Rivera politely asked his teammate, ” Joba! Yo! Bro! Shhh. Stop it.”
From the NY Daily News…
Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera exchanged tense words in the dugout before Saturday night’s game, as Chamberlain took exception to Rivera instructing him to quiet down while the closer chatted with reporters about an emotional event he had held earlier in the day with several local families.
“Don’t ever shush me again,” Chamberlain told Rivera in full view of reporters and fans.
Chamberlain, it seems, was upset with Rivera because he had the gall to “shush” him while he was meeting with his family, something the Yanks pitcher doesn’t get to do very often. Maybe Joba has a point, seeing that he doesn’t get to visit with his family very often, or maybe he blew the whole thing out of proportion, overreacting to Rivera asking him to tone it down a bit. Either way it made for a somewhat tense moment between New York relievers.
When pressed about the incident after the game, both took the high road and downplayed the confrontation (via NY Daily News)…
Asked after the game about the exchange, Chamberlain said, “I’m not talking about it.” Chamberlain said he hadn’t spoken with Rivera since the spat. Asked whether he felt the two needed to talk, Chamberlain sniped, “That’s between me and Mo.”
Rivera was far less snippy about the situation, although he seemed surprised that Chamberlain had barked at him in such a public setting.
“It’s amazing,” Rivera said before confirming that he and Chamberlain had not spoken since. “We’ll take care of it. We’re grownups and I know better than that. We’ll take care of that.”
This whole thing will undoubtedly blow over quickly, but in the court of public opinion, when it comes to a guy who never quite lived up to the hype and expectation, vs a living Yankees legend and future Hall of Famer, there’s no way Joba Chamberlain doesn’t come out looking like the bad guy in all this. Sure it’s probably unfair to Joba, but that’s the way it goes sometimes in both life and baseball.