Open Thread: Joba’s fist pump

Luis Sojo sends Yankee fans into unecessary panic
Game Four: Another rookie takes the hill

Let’s have some fun. It’s a slow Friday afternoon, and with rain forecast throughout the New York area, there’s no guarantee of baseball tonight. Meanwhile, the New York sports media is all abuzz about Joba for a change.

On Tuesday night, when the superstitious Joba struck out Frank Thomas to escape the 8th inning, the Yankee youngster was very animated in his fist pump. Over the last few days, our city’s lovely sports media has decided to make a mountain of this mole hill. Is Joba’s fist pump over the top or appropriate, the guys on YES discussed last night.

Paul O’Neill, at one point, compared Joba’s fist pump to Chad Johnson’s endzone celebrations. They aren’t the same thing, Paul decided. Joba’s fist pump is a sign of the adrenaline flowing through him; it’s not meant as some taunting celebration. And Frank Thomas himself said that Joba’s fist pump doesn’t bother him. Why would it? After all, Joba’s not the only pitcher with a fist pump.

Meanwhile, O’Neill made another valid point last night. The Yankees aren’t used to such animated celebrations at the end of games. For 12 seasons, we’ve watched Mariano Rivera calmly close out games with nary a fist pump in sight. So now that we have our own version of a Francisco Rodriguez or — dare I say it — a Jonathan Papelbon-style celebration after a big inning, everyone jumps on it.

As Peter Abraham notes, the goons on Mike & the Mad Dog were talking about it today, and of course, they were critical of it. We know they’re not to be listened to, but people tune in anyway. They claim — and Michael Kay and O’Neill made a similar argument — that hitters will go up there trying to get to Joba. But I don’t see someone trying too hard and pressing against Chamberlain as necessarily a bad thing.

So here’s my question: Is the Joba fist pump a bad thing? Does Joba need to tone down his celebration for fear of showing up his opponents or is it all part of the game?

Luis Sojo sends Yankee fans into unecessary panic
Game Four: Another rookie takes the hill
  • LiveFromNewYork

    He’s young. He’s enthusiastic and he electrifies the fans. Screw anyone who doesn’t like it.

    Sometimes I would like him to calm it down but I don’t him worrying about stupid shit. I want him to worry about his pitching and getting pitchers out. THATS IT.

    Let him pump his fist. Who the freak cares.

  • JT Bk

    I love Joba’s enthusiasm and excitement, and I love his fist pumps. Joba himself acknowledges his actions and explains, plain and clear, that there is no intention to agitate or taunt any players but just an expression of excitement for getting the job done. Truthfully it did annoy me when FR or JP does it to us, but now that we are on the opposite side of the arguement, i am alllll for it =)

    P.S. I hate those 2 fools M&MD with a passion. Michael Kay isn’t far behind either. Paulie is great though

  • Bruno


    • Pablo Zevallos

      sorry but that’s what she said

  • Jobu

    Joba’s exuberance is inappropriate and it shows up the opponent. Using the argument that it’s OK because someone else does it (K-rod, Papelbon) does nothing to convince me. He’s young and enthusiastic so I can understand it sneaking out occasionally but I’d prefer a Yankee to act with class, respect his opponent and generally act like he’s been there before.

    • J.R.

      Thats a pooner argument. Who cares if he pumps his fist? The bigger show-up is strinking him out in the first place.

  • J.R.

    thomas made the best point, when he said that if he had hit the ball Joba couldnt pump his fist. No one gives a shit when Valverde, Paplebon, K-rod does it. Everyone needs to get over it.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I also predict that if they make him calm it down, the fans will do it for him. 55,000 fans at Yankee Stadium will do the fist pump. That oughta make the hitter feel special as he slinks back to the dugout.

  • doty

    what is wrong with showing some emotion?! how is pumping a fist to end an inning showing up a hitter? i just don’t get it! what is wrong with baseball? does everything have to be a business can’t the players show some emotion, ans excitement. This is sports, its a game meant for entertainment, and the media wants to treat it like some business deal! Are you guys (the media) for real! every fan of their team would love to see the passion, desire and emotion that joba displayed! I JUST HOPE JOBA STAYS JOBA, AND WILL NOT LISTEN TO ALL THIS NON SENSE FROM TALK SHOW HOSTS TRYING TO FILL UP TIME ON THEIR PROGRAM, BEC. THEY HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DISCUSS!!

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Agree. Don’t want the fist pump? Hit the freaking ball.

    Anyone who thinks that it’s “class less” is a jerk. I’d rather have a classless strike out pitcher than a classy meatball thrower. Thank you very much.

  • Manimal

    He worked his ass off to get in the majors and if he is being successful he has a right to use a fist pump and scream. After all, he is the alpha male.

    If he was being cocky then he would walk up to the batter and dance around him.

    Its not being cocky, its being excited for leading your team to a 3-2 victory with a strike out on an excellent hitter.

  • steve (different one)

    if you aren’t sure, just remember this rule:

    whatever M&MD think, the opposite is true.

    so i guess in this case, the pump is OK.

  • doty

    also susan waldman mentioned that joba grew up idolizing thomas, and that he had a picture of him on his wall! so obviously he will be so ecstatic that he just struck out the person he grew up idolizing, in an crucial part of the game!

  • Lisa

    I completely agree, his enthusiasm is much needed on this team… it’s exactly what has been lacking for years in this club. He’ll grow up and calm down over time. The whole “issue” is laughable. We should never have criticized JP or anyone else for the same thing. It’s not hurtful at all, it’s not like he’s posing “Manny-style” after each victorious move, as if to say “eat me, losers!”… this is a kid who is THRILLED to have the opportunities he’s been given and is understandably excited when he delivers. It’s pretty clear to anyone who watches his interviews and off field demeanor that he’s confident, but humble… and not looking to show anyone up.

    People need to let the kid have his fist pump and stop being so overly sensitive. This is still sports, right?

  • js

    Susan commented last night that Joba’s father told Thomas after the game that it was a huge moment for his son because Joba grew up idolizing Thomas. Had a poster of Thomas on his wall etc. He was especially pumped not because he wanted to show up Thomas, but specifically because he had so much respect for him. That’s probably why no matter how hard the media tried, they couldn’t get Thomas to say a negative word about it.

  • Link

    so was Kirk Gibson showing up the A’s when he cranked his arm as he hobbled around the bases in the ’88 series?….M&MD are idiots..and oh by the way Mo has done very gentle fist clenches after a few playoff saves…

  • Realist

    First off anything the blob and the slob say should be taken with a grain of salt. They are worse than two wash women with their constant complaining about anything and everything. It is their “thing” and without it , they wouldn’t have a show ;-)

    Pump the fist Joba! It’s not as if he points at the strike out victim prior or after the pump? That would be crossing the line , he is only reacting to his accomplishment. I hope to see MANY more Joba fist pumps!

  • Sciorsci

    So the argument is that hitters will try harder to get to Joba because of his fist pump? If we are supposed to believe that, does that also mean that hitters don’t try their hardest all the time, or, more to the point, that they don’t try their hardest against “polite” pitchers?

  • Tom

    I’m sooooooooooo sick of this; I would rather talk about steroids again.

    • Ben K.

      Sick of something we’ve never talked about before? That’s a first!

      • steve (different one)

        not for nothing, but this is being discussed EVERYWHERE in yankeeland and has been for 2 days now.

        even though RAB hasn’t addressed it yet, i understand what he meant.

        • Ben K.

          Ah, that makes sense. I missed Wednesday’s game so I didn’t hear them discussing really until Joba came into pitch last night.

  • http://deleted Seamus O’Toole

    mike and the mad dog could not possibly imagine the adrenaline that courses through a 22 year old in front of 55,000 fans screaming you’re name immediately after you do the greatest thing you could do in your life in a specific time and moment (getting a K).

  • Jobu

    Baseball is a very traditional game and I like that about it. Respect tradition, respect your opponent and be humble. If MLB turns into the NFL (which nowadays looks more like the WWE) with all the dances, and self-congratulations then I’ll lose interest.

    I’d prefer that Joba tone it down but apparently I’m in the minority.

    • doty

      ifs its such a traditional game than why has the whole game turned into a money making machine, where they only care about filling up their own pockets! do you how much a beer cost at a baseball game or a botttle of water! lets be real!

      • Jobu

        I don’t understand this point. Who is “they”?

    • Count Zero

      I hear what you’re saying, and there’s a part of me that agrees with you. Although (as Paulie pointed out last night), I think there’s a big difference between a Joba fist pump and a preplanned T.O. / Johnson end zone celebration video.

      On the other hand though, I think the results in ’96-’00 put is in the position where we always had to be the “class act” no matter the outcome.

      People will ride me for this sentiment, but I honestly feel that was part of the reason why Torre needed to go. For the last three years, this team could have used a little bit of “attitude” on the field. That’s why I didn’t mind the A-Rod “HA!” and it’s why I don’t mind the Melky / Cano routine, the Duncan forearm bashes, or Joba’s spinning fist pumps one bit. Some of the veterans may frown on the kids for doing it, but I think emotion is a part of the game.

      I’ve screamed my fair share of over-the-top “YEAH”s in the midst of meaningless 3 on 3 basketball games in the driveway, wiffle ball in the back yard, etc. And I’m sure most of you have as well. It’s part of the competitive beast. And I like to see people having fun at their jobs. I’ve even been known to enthusiastically high-five a BusDev guy on stealing an account from a competitor. ;-) If your heart isn’t in it — you’ll have to be that much better than the guy whose heart is in it.

    • TomG

      I completely agree. I have a hard time watching the NFL these days because of the dancing. I like the kid’s enthusiasm, but he could save the celebration until after the team wins the game.

  • Adam

    anything that reminds me of papelbon makes me want to throw up.

  • Geno

    If Joba gives up a 3-run dinger and fist-pumps after striking out the next hitter, I’ll have a problem with it. It’s all about context. He’s a great pitcher, making great hitters look silly – why not be excited?

    • pete

      I agree completely. If he had farnsworthed it (got the K after the big HR) and then pumped his fist, I’d be pissed, but i doubt he would do that.

  • Yankee Psycho-fan-t

    Let the kid celebrate…would you be excited if you got the opportunity to strike out Frank Thomas on opening day in front of 55,000+ people screaming for everything you do at the age of 22. I’d personally have a hard time controlling myself! Remember the last couple of years how our apathetic veterans have gone quietly into the night in the post-season and everyone complained of a lack of excitement/enthusiasm on the part of the Yankees. Well Joba IS excitement and enthusiasm, the human embodiment of exuberance! Let him get excited to be where he is, let us get excited to see him be excited and lets hope he continues to inject that electricity into everyone on this team. Go Yankees! He is NOT Manny Ramirez OR Chad Johnson, just a kid living out his boyhood dreams. Let it go people, and enjoy the sight!

  • Adrian-Retire21

    The biggest reason why he shouldn’t do that (even though Hughes is younger then him and doesn’t do that) is because he hasn’t proven anything yet.

    He’s not Mariano or Pettitte.Unswell that big head and prove you can pitch all year.

    • rbizzler

      Maybe he should go hide in the corner until all of the fanboys deem him a ‘true’ Yankee. Let the kid do his job.

  • ctkaiser

    We have not had this level of excitement form a young player since maybe Mickey Mantle? Let’s enjoy it. Mike and the Mad Dog. Aren’t these the same two guys who had Curt “the mouth” Schilling on a couple of years ago judging who was and wasn’t a “true Yankee?” These were words from true Red Sox, Dback, Phillie, etc. Maybe they can get him back on and the mouth can help them decide if Joba can pump his fist!

  • rbizzler

    It is best for people to let Joba use the emotion to his advantage. Other newcomers (Giambi for one) tried to change their behavior in order to conform to the supposed “Yankee Way,’ and it hurt their game.

    The kid is out there to seize the moment, not worry about whether or not two losers on sports talk radio are going to criticize him for showing emotion.

    BTW, I live outside of the NY metro area and this is a non-story. Leave it to the embarrassment that sports talk radio is to try and bring down a kid who is having fun and doing his job extremely well.

  • Steve S

    I think they do have a point that it might annoy some hitters and therefore raise their awareness against him (as intangible as that sounds). I kind of like my athletes like Barry Sanders, act like you have been there before. Joba should get a break for opening night, but I do think he has to cool it.

    I also am concerned because it seems like he is getting so comfortable in the relief role. That whole persona fits someone who is the bullpen much more than a starter. I mean when is the last time we saw a starter act like this? Normally this stuff is for bullpen guys- Eckersley, Rodriguez, Wendell, Papelbon, Urbina. We can talk about his third and fourth pitch but a lot this is mental and it seemed like the Spring showed that he doesnt air it out as much when he starting as opposed to when he is relieving. I still think he belongs in the rotation I just hope he maintains that thought process.

  • Bryan

    Baseball players are human and not robots. Showing some emotion is fine. What is the difference between the fist pump and the mob of people awaiting someone at home plate after a walk-off ? Nothing ! It’s all emotion and it’s about time we stopped telling people how they should act, where the should act, and why the should act ! Enough with the darn political correctness in every darn facet of life.

  • Bruno

    No one complains about Jeter’s fist pump after throwing someone out on a close play at first…..PUMP IT JOBA!

  • Jamal G.

    I think everyone has it wrong, Joba Chamberlain was not celebrating the strike out of Frank Thomas, no way, he was celebrating the ousting of saber-hating idiot, 500 year old NYT baseball writer Murray Chass. And honestly, who of us wouldn’t jump through the roof at the sound of that news?

  • Whitey14

    I’m okay with the fist pump regardless of whether it’s chamberlain or Papelbon or Rodriguez, but they’d all better be aware that they have no room to complain if some bozo whacks a dinger and pulls a Manny “I’ll hang out in the box and watch it go (or not go) like an asshole” Ramirez on them. I’d prefer they all act like gentlemen and practice good sportsmanship, but in this day and age, that’s just not reality. Sports are all about a bunch of guys with huge egos saying “look at me”. That’s why when somebody performs with class on the field, aka Barry Sanders, as somebody mentioned earlier, it really stands out. It used to be the other way around.

  • Mike A.

    Typical media bullshit. If it was David Eckstein, people would be saying how great of a competitor he is. The Yankee hate never stops.

    • NYFan50

      Maybe he needs to pump his fist with more grit.

    • Jamal G.

      OMFG, Thank You Mike. I called in to M&MD the day after Dustin Pedroia did that bitchslap move to knock the ball out of Victor Martinez’s glove when he was lunging into 1B in the ALCS and Fruit Loops said it’s OK for Pedroia because he’s “A gritty player, tries to do everything to win. A-Rod is an all-word player so he doesn’t need to do that.”

      I was dumbfounded (dunno why seeing as who I was talking to), I mean what the hell, wouldn’t you want your all-world player to still try and do everything possible to win, isn’t that what people hate about superstars in the big leagues, that they don’t run out grounders, they don’t hustle, don’t do everything. Yet here his idiot is saying that it’s wrong for A-Rod to do something but it’s damn good for Pedroia to do the same shit.

      What an asshole.

      BTW PeteAbe has posted the lineups and Cabrera begins his 2-game suspension (it was reduced along with Duncan, I think Duncan starts his tomorrow if not tonight). Interesting note is that Betemit is in the starting lineup as the DH eith Giambi at 1B. It’s interesting because I was having a discussion with a couple RAB posters in last night’s game thread and my feeling was that there was no one that much better (if at all) than Giambi at 1B on the 25-man roster to warrant a late-inning defensive replacement. The fact that Betemit is the DH when he’s in the lineup seems to give some credence to my argument.

  • TheAnalyticalYankeeFan

    I posted this on Peter Abrahams LoHud blog before, so I’ll post it here too,

    You know what, I have no problem with this. I think it’s just pure emotion from Joba. Emotions–both good and bad–run high in baseball. I equate this to Paul O’neill busting up water coolers in the dugout after a strikeout. It’s just raw emotion. Joba projects his energy away from the hitter anyway, he’s not trying to show anyone up.

    It’s a shame FranDog had to spin this into some ridiculous story.

  • zack

    Is there really that much of a difference between twirling around, yelling, and pumping your fist after a strikeout and admiring a home run? No. You can make as many cases around “emotion” “adrenaline,” “not disrespecting” “youth and enthusiasm” and “premeditation” as you want, but in the end both are emotional reactions based around pride in your accomplishment immediately after the fact that, in the end, kind of show up the other guy in the equation.

    Lots of these same Yankee fans have been bitching and moaning about Manny, Soriano and others who watch their HRs, about Papelbon’s similar response, and even about Halladay barking at Melky (which, when you think about it, is the same thing: emotional reaction based on what just happened). The difference is that Joba is a Yankee. Period. Yankee fans think its great, most other fans are probably annoyed at it.

    But please, stop with the excuses. It is what it is and its not really all that appropriate or acceptable, in the long run. Its great, on occasion, but those occasions should be few and far between. If Joba does it every strike out to end an inning, well, thats just overkill…

    And finally, there is a really easy way to put this argument to rest: get Joba into the starting rotation sooner rather than later…

  • Jamal G.

    Can you explain to me how standing at HP admiring a HR is the same as an instantaneous reaction by a guy striking someone out.

    • zack

      can you explain to me how its not? You can try and argue premeditation, but there is no proof whatsoever that either reaction is one or the other. Do you really think that Joba/Papelbon haven’t thought about their reactions at this point?

      • Jamal G.

        No I don’t think they do that because did you plan your reaction when you saw A-Rod strike out in 2006, did you plan your reaction when you saw Aaron Boone hit that HR in 2003, did you plan your reaction when you saw A-Rod hit those two game-winning HRs in April of last year?

        I play baseball, I’m 19 and I when I pop up I curse like hell in Spanish. When Paul O’Neil did something he himself dislked he cursed a storm and trashed the dugout. So why when it’s after a negative play it’s cool, it shows that you really care but after a positive play it’s “showing somebody up”?

        I don’t partake in double standards sir.

        • zack

          Well you proved my point. When you do something good, you also react, thus admiring a HR or pumping your fist. It can be taken too far, as Manny often has, but I’m sure he does it mostly out of his weird emotional response. But in the end its reacting to something you did positively. And so can the fist pump business be taken too far. At a certain point, once you have done something enough, its not “spontaneous” anymore.

          I’m not saying kill the kid for it or even that he should stop, but just that Yankees fans need to stop pretending its something other than what it is. People KILLED Papelbon here and elsewhere for the same thing before Joba came up, and people around the league KILLED O’Neill for his “antics,” which were loved by Yankee fans because it “showed he cared.” But in the end it was still an unnecessary and childish response that O’Neill himself said he started making a conscious effort to curtail when he really thought about it…

          • Jamal G.

            OK my mistake, I thought you meant he should stop. I wholeheartedly disagree with that because personally I don’t feel he’s even attempting to show anybody up.

        • http://deleted Seamus O’Toole

          it’s all adrenaline and testosterone. we’re looking at these situations like they happen in a vacuum.

          best example: when tiger woods won they bay hill, he spiked his hat and pumped his fist. seconds later when his caddy handed him his hat, he asked “how the hell did you get this?” tiger does not plan out how he’s going to act in the event he makes a tournament winning putt. tiger is one guy that has “been there” and he still plays with youthful enthusiasm–i guarantee he doesn’t stand in front of a mirror and practice different victory celebrations. chad johnson on the other hand, had a sportscenter commercial polling the sc guys on a good celebration. big difference.

          joba isn’t thinking, ‘gee, i should spin around three times and pump my fist 5 times in the event that i strike out this last batter, that’ll get the fans going.’ he’s reacting.

  • Jamal G.

    Chris Russo is a prick. He said on the radio that he did not like a quote from Joba Chamberlain. He said the quote was “it’s going to get a lot of attention because I’m Joba Chamberlain”. So on goes Fatso saying, “OK relax, all you do is pass the ball on to MO in the 8th, you’re just pitching in the 8th inning, relax kid.”

    So me never trusting these pricks went on to check the actual quote and here it is…

    “It’s unfair to my team to not bring 110 percent every time I go out,” Chamberlain said. “It’s going to be a topic of conversation, that’s fine because I am Joba Chamberlain. I am going to be who I am and if I didn’t show that, I’m not being fair to my teammates. I’m letting them down because I’m not being the person that I am.

    “That’s who I am. That’s how I got here. I’m not going to change for anybody. I don’t care what they say or what goes along with it.”

    So Russo is making it sound like Joba is being some cocky prick and saying this is a big story because I am JOBA CHAMBERLAIN when in reality the whole quote is saying that he is who he is, and if that rubs people the wrong way I’m not going to be a little bitch and change who I am just for people to like me.

    What an asshole Russo is, God Dammit.

    The whole story can be found at under the headline “Joba Goes Bland Over Fist, For One Night”.

  • Steve D.

    personally i think its a tiny bit over the top, and i would like him to reserve it for special occasions. (opening night in a semi-big spot included, btw) as long as he isnt doing it every time he strikes someone out to end the 8th i dont really have a huge problem with it. i cant believe it is getting so much attention though!

  • jsbrendog

    mike and mike in the morning made a point today that makes it more understandable, wrong or right. After the game, Harlan went over to Frank Thomas and told him how Joba idolized him as a kid and had a big hurt poster on hsi wal etc. He explained to frank how amazing it must’ve felt for joba to strike out his idol. This is awesome. carry on

  • bostonsucks@life

    Why the hell does Joba get shit for a f’n fist pump on the last opening day in the stadium after striking out his idol ? When we have these terd sandwhichs around the league meatgazing their warning track shots showing a pitcher on a given night(coughcough manny). I don’t know why the harping but it needs to stop its a fucking fist pump

  • LiveFromNewYork

    A couple of people went over to Phil Hughes’ blog and told him to tell Joba to keep the fist pump. I’m sure the message will get to him.

    Or we can be 55,000 doing it like those idiots in Atlanta with their tomahawks.

  • Kent

    Seems a sad attempt by some to knock down a successful and inspiring young man getting excited and actually enjoying a game he loves.

  • Kent

    Oh and I wish more players got excited about the game again like Joba. There are far too many that think of it as a job, and forget that they are getting paid lots of money to do something that should be fun to them.

  • Dr. Mom

    I hope the fans and the NY media cut Joba a break…..he’s been doing the fist pumping since he started pitching for NE.!!!!!!!! Never was his entheusiasm ever interpreted as a sign of disrespect. Leave it to some dunderhead to make a mountain out of something that was never EVEN a molehill.

  • MNFL

    Does anyone have high quality video of the celebration?