After calming down about it over the weekend, Jobu discusses Joba Chamberlain’s horrific injury.
When I first heard about the latest Joba Chamberlain injury (he seems to be working his way down his body), I was pretty angry. He was where? On a “trampoline of sorts?” Does he not know that the millions of dollars he could potentially make in his career are predicated entirely on his ability to keep his body healthy? What kind of a fool does that?? Unintelligible grunts and yells soon followed, and I was sent home from work… or something like that. A few days later, however, things look a little different.
For those of you who live under a trampoline (see what I did there?) and don’t know what happened to Joba, here’s a quick breakdown. Already on the mend from Tommy John surgery last June, Joba decided to take his son to some kind of local trampoline park (I’m still not sure what it is) for a day of fun. One open dislocation of the ankle (the kind that breaks through the skin) and one alleged near bleeding to death later (although apparently Joba will clear the air about that sometime this week), he’s now likely out for the 2012 season.
Almost Immediately, blogs across the country filled with criticisms of the big guy, from Yankees fans and haters alike. Red Sox fans snickered because the great Yankees bullpen would now be almost as screwed as the Sox starting rotation (sorry, Jerry Ballgame), and Yankees fans mostly just lamented the fact that they would have one less piece in their stacked pen (also I think there’s a lot of residual anger about Joba’s career arc in general… he was supposed to win 30 Cy Youngs!).
As I said, I too shared these sentiments when i heard the news. I didn’t write about it right away because I wanted more information. I wanted to see how Joba came out of his surgery, and what kind of long-term damage he had actually done with his outing. As I waited to hear more news, something happened. I forgave Joba.
As Joe Girardi said shortly after the incident, “Fathers are fathers (Lohud Yankees Blog).” Joba decided to use some of his free time to take his son for a special day of fun. Yes, it’s a little irresponsible to get on a “trampoline of sorts” when you’re rehabbing an injury (yes, even an elbow injury). Yes, you should know that something could go horribly wrong when you get on a “trampoline of sorts.” You could break your neck, an arm, or dislocate your ankle so bad that the bone penetrates the skin and you almost bleed to death (allegedly). But is it the worst thing an athlete has ever done off the field?
No. Hell no. In fact, it wasn’t the worst thing that an athlete did off the field last week. Bobby Jenks, the Red Sox version of the chunky reliever, hit a car in a strip club parking lot and drove off despite being drunk and under the influence of muscle relaxers. Matt Bush, a former number one pick by the Padres who is now a reliever in the Tampa Bay Rays system, hit a 72-year-old motorcycle driver with his SUV and fled the scene. Oh, and Bush was drunk driving too. He almost killed the guy, as the SUV’s tire reportedly ran over the motorcyclist’s head (thank god for helmets). His bail has been set at over $1MM, so he’s got that going for him.
Both of those things helped me put the Joba injury in perspective. Yes it was irresponsible, but at least he didn’t almost kill himself or someone else while drunk driving (on a side note, can baseball players hire drivers for Spring Training already? how many DUIs do we need to have?). Joba was playing with his son, which is something any good father in the world would have done. It’s what Joba’s own father probably did with him as a child (Yankees fans remember how close Joba and his pops are). It was a day of fun that was marred by a horrible, and unlucky, accident. An accident. That’s all it was. He could have done it falling down the stairs at home just as easily, like David Robertson almost did.
Joba’s recovery time will depend on a lot of things. The surgery to repair the ankle went well, and no micro-fractures were found. This is all good news. He will wear a cast for the next six weeks while everything heals, and then he’ll begin rehabbing. As Joe Girard, and every one else on the Yankees, has pointed out, Joba is a “quick healer.” I’m not sure what that means, or if it’s possible to heal faster than other people (hey, Wolverine does it), but Joba does seem to bounce back quickly from his injuries. He was already way ahead of schedule for his Tommy John recovery. Joe Girardi seems to think the Yankees will see Joba before the season ends, and Joba says he wants to get back by July (which is the best case scenario).
I’m just hoping that Joba comes back at all. An injury like this can be devastating, especially for a pitcher (most pitching power comes from driving with the legs). If we see him again this season, that would be amazing. If not, we’ll see him again in 2013. Luckily for the Yankees, they’re not hurting in bullpen depth. The team will be alright. The important part is to get Joba back alright… and away from “trampolines of sorts.”
Featured image courtesy of: (Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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