There’s nothing like a good DUI mugshot and video to spur on some high-n-mighty moralizing from the New York League of Self-Important Spots Writers.
First, the details: The Smoking Gun finally released the mug shot and video of Joba’s October arrest. I’ve been waiting to see this for months, and well, it’s what you would expect. Joba is dressed, as Deadspin noted, like a mime, and in the video, embedded below, he tries to buddy up with the cop.
As anyone with an open container in their car and a BAC well over the minimum would do, Joba first tries to play the Yankee card. “Obviously, I play for the Yankees,” he says to the unimpressed trooper. He claims New Yorkers aren’t polite and notes that Yogi Berra is short. I had no idea.
It is, in other words, your typical arrest video, but that shouldn’t let anyone from making more out of it than that! Of course not!
In his second-dumbest column this week, Wallace Matthews relates Joba’s arrest to his role in the rotation. While not quite saying that Joba should be pitching the 8th because he was arrested for drunk driving, Matthews really wants to make that argument.
The best moral rant though comes to us from Joel Sherman. He is concerned, so very concerned about Joba’s future:
It isn’t pretty. But ultimately it will go to the recesses of the mind, unless this video is about something more than a bad night in the life of Joba Chamberlain. There were organizations who bypassed Chamberlain’s 98 mph fastball in the 2006 draft for reasons beyond physical concerns. He comes from a broken home, and his mother was a self-professed drug abuser. Chamberlain also did a pretty quick turn from unknown right-hander to Broadway star. That could create trouble for even the most level-headed kid.
Members of the Yankee organization will admit that all of this gives them some concern. But they also say they think well of Chamberlain, that they sense an athlete with passion to honor his gifts. And it is not as if the Yanks have diminished the responsibility they’ve placed on that talented, fragile shoulder of Chamberlain…
When it comes to Chamberlain, we have always wondered if his body will withstand his violent delivery, all the skeletal cruelties that come with hurling a baseball that fast. But that video released yesterday will make you wonder if that is all that can curtail Joba on the way to being an ace.
Joba, all of 23, made a really bad inexcusable mistake when he drove drunk last year. What he did could cause more harm to other people than anything Alex Rodriguez ever injected into his body, and he doesn’t deserve a pass for it. The Yankees should make sure that Joba understands his responsibilities not just as a baseball player and role model but as a regular member of society who shouldn’t be driving under any influence.
That sad, Matthews, Sherman and their ilk are way out of line. Joba’s arrest isn’t a metaphor for anything. It’s not a sign that he can’t handle success. It’s not a sign that he should be pitching the 8th (and neither, for that matter, was Monday’s bullpen meltdown). It’s a mistake that shouldn’t have been made by someone who is, after all, fallible like the rest of us. Why can’t we just leave it at that?