Yesterday afternoon, the never-sanguine Mike Francesa got a little hot under the collar when a caller to the FAN dared to use facts and reality to dispute Francesa’s views on Joba Chamberlain. The video — which you can view here — is quite the tour de force. Francesa proves nothing more than the reality that he can scream louder and belittle people all while not proving his controversial and short-sighted view that Joba Chamberlain belongs in the sacred, more-important-than-any-other-inning, 8th.
Meanwhile, another B-Jobber — the RAB-originated term for fans and analysts who want to put the Yanks’ second best starter in the bullpen — offers up more of the same on the YES Network’s homepage. Jerome Preisler wrote a fact-free piece on why Chamberlain should be relieving. His argument is full of the same old same old. He overvalues a reliever and falls into the confirmation bias trap. Joba looked great as a reliever when he came up, and his success as a very young starter in the AL East notwithstanding, he should be moved back to the pen.
“It is now time to end the debate about Joba Chamberlain, to stop equivocating about his Yankee future to the detriment of the team. Joba should be returned to the bullpen’s eighth-inning setup role and groomed to replace Mariano Rivera as its closer. He is Rivera’s best, and perhaps only, realistic successor,” Preisler writes in one paragraph. You quickly get the point.
Now, everyday, Joe, Mike, and I field e-mails from Yankee fans shocked at this bullpen blasphemy. Take, for instance, yesterday’s missive from Doug, a hardcore Yankee fan from New Jersey:
Anyways, all these Francesa [listeners] call in all day long and agree with him and feed his ego. The only non “B-jobbers” that get on the air are usually ignorant to the game and rightfully get hung up on in a matter of 30 seconds or so. Rarely do they ever have any intelligent contributions. Myself, I am pretty knowledgable but lack the fiery personality it takes to argue with that slob. I am more the passive type to just let someone like that go off on a tangent and let him sound like the prick he is. When I do call, though, I usually cannot get through or get tired of waiting. I think once you disclose that you disagree with the B-jobber mentality, you are put on hold without ever actually having a chance of airtime.
What I ask of you is to make some sort movement towards totally getting the phone lines on WFAN jammed up with those who can make a viable argument for Joba the starter. You just have to have the intellect to get on and be able to argue your points with backup. You guys have the power and the right communication channel to put this jerk in his place for once. He is more pompous and arrogant than ever now that he has his own show and I can’t take it any more. The people of NY, NYC, the tri-state area, YES viewers, and Yankees fans far and wide deserve better than this clown and his stupid self-centered ideas.
I couldn’t agree more with Doug, and I know he’s not alone. Long-time RAB reader Jamal G. is frequently facepalming over Francesa’s rants, and our Twitter followers often sputter at Francesa’s lunacy.
But better than clogging the phones, I have a better idea: Just stop listening. I know sports fans love to get riled up over disagreements; that’s what makes the comments to many of our posts so entertaining and enjoyable. But when someone shows a complete unwillingness to open up to the other side, when someone starts ranting about how callers and listeners are just flat-out wrong if they disagree with him…well, we should all just stop listening.
In the end, Francesa, Preisler and their ilk won’t go away. On the day Joba wins his 100th game as a starter, these guys will still be saying he should be in the bullpen. But the Yankees are immune to the lunacy. They have not wavered in their belief that Joba, always a starter before the Bronx, will remain in the rotation, and those are the voices to which we should be listening.