Joba Fist Pump

David Delucci doesn’t like it. Frank Thomas could care less. Yankee fans say its pure emotion, Yankee haters claim its bush league. One thing seems clear, the Joba Fist Up is here to stay.

After a key strikeout of Dellucci in Thursday’s game to end the eighth inning, Chamberlain gave an emphatic fist up, yell, and half pirouette. Two nights earlier Dellucci deposited a Chamberlain fastball into the right field seats to beat the Yanks. He felt the mound histrionics on Thursday were retaliatory, and blatant showmanship.

Many agree, arguing, a mid-May Thursday afternoon game, with a 3-run lead does not warrant that type of emotion. Those same people that lit up talk radio and print media after the game, were talking about how important this game was for the Yankees, following two straight losses, with the up and down Mussina on the mound, before heading to a weekend series where the legendary Kei Igawa would take the mound. Somehow the game went from important to a ho-hum when someone showed emotion, and played like it was important.

The fact I’m even writing about this is almost comical. How many pitchers, especially often eccentric relief pitchers, put on a mound display after clutch strikeouts. Papelbon and Franky Rodriguez to name a few of the more prominent. Tom Gordon points to the sky after he completes an inning, does that get under anyone’s skin? Ugueth Urbina used to put on a complete show, worthy of judges and a Dancing With The Stars appearance. Is Manny Ramirez still watching the last home run he hit, or is it finally time to break into his walk around the bases – calling it a trot is a slap in the face to leisurely runners across the world.

Why pick on Chamberlain? Because he’s a Yankee – markedly, easy targets – or because he’s not Mariano Rivera, the stoic, emotionless robot on the field that he’s most compared to. Joba’s not calling out people in the media, he’s not pointing directly at other players, or staring them down, his antics are not directed at other players. Fact is, the media and fans have built up the phenomenon that is Joba Chamberlain and the 21-year-old is feeding the hysteria.

Maybe ten or twenty years ago dancing off the mound is unacceptable, not anymore. I prefer old-fashioned baseball, but if you want to start cleaning up showmanship, Joba is at the end of a long line of culprits still awaiting criticism.  By the way, did Manny start running yet?

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