"It's a combination of innings, success and where we feel he fits best now. It's just something we decided as an organization, that this is the best place to start him this year." — Joe Girardi
Pearls of wisdom from the new Joe that set the local press aflame yesterday afternoon and into this morning. I've said in this space for months that Joba should be the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. Whether that happens is something we'll see a couple of years down the line, obviously, but the speculation will continue as long as he maintains anything close to the success level he demonstrated in his lightning-in-a-bottle debut from August through October.
In general, the reviews were mixed, as noted below:
Newsday's backpage: BREAK THE RULES
Breaking the rules, at least, in Ken Davidoff's opinion, means moving him to the starting rotation at some point, perhaps even going to a six-man rotation at the end of the season.
The Post's George King (who this year has decided to use the pseudonym George A. King III), summed it up thusly:
"The Yankees look at Chamberlain's four-pitch arsenal and believe he could be their ace for a long time. Nevertheless, they made the right move yesterday in leaving Chamberlain where he was last year, because until Chamberlain surfaced, the bridge between starter and Mariano Rivera had too many rotten boards."
Interestingly, no Joba-centric stories appeared in the Times, who instead focused on The Virginia Tech exhibition, C.C. Sabathia's rejection of the Indians' offer and speculation of his interest in the Yankees, and a meaninglessly hyped spring training game with the Red Sox (Confession: I hated having to hype these in my previous gig).
Today's spate of Joba columns and articles — which you know will be picked up over the weekend when the Lupicas of the world return to Baseball from their vacation in Bracketville — on top of the numerous features written about him during the offseason, have made it clear to me that the media has anointed him the face of the New Yankees. Going back to the various dynastic years, you can look at Ruth and Gehrig, DiMaggio in 1936, then Mantle, Ford, Munson, Mattingly and most recently, Jeter as the names most closely identified with the team.
It's happened quickly, and it can be dangerous. From the looks of things, Chamberlain has the perfect temperament to withstand the scrutiny.
And judging from the coverage, Joba Rules.
AS A FORMER EDITOR MARRIED TO AN ENGLISH TEACHER, THIS BOTHERS ME…
From GAKIII, referencing the Joba Rules: "This year, they aren't in affect."
Folks, this is why spellcheck is a waste of time, and why we need to be teaching grammar and usage all the way through high school. I don't blame George for the usage error noted above, because I know the perils of writing on deadline, and when you're bleary-eyed, you miss things. I blame the copy editor. That's a basic one that should have been corrected.
T-minus 11 days until Opening Day. Next week, a review of the Previews and Pullout Sections.