The New York tabloids are in high dudgeon today following release of a Nebraska highway patrol video shot last October in which Yankee pitcher 6' 2" Joba Chamberlain had the audacity to imply that Hall of Famer, 5' 8" Yogi Berra is short. Egads! Talk about a slow news day.
The 23-year-old Cornhusker, who was arrested on a driving under the influence charge, didn’t exactly call Berra a pinstriped pipsqueak. He certainly didn’t diss one of baseball’s greatest clutch hitters and winner of 10 World Series (most-ever) as a runt, squirt, half-pint, dwarf, twerp or shrimp.
The New York Post reported that Joba “laughed at the diminutive Yogi’s expense,” when he told his arresting officer the 83-year-old Berra “might not be as tall as the front of your car.” Newsday also referred to Berra as diminutive, while the Daily News reported Joba took a “boozy shot at the pinstriped icon.”
Berra, a true baseball great and gentleman, laughed off the whole incident saying it was all in good fun. The former catcher knows the Yanks have more pressing worries in the name of the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays and A-Rod.
Chamberlain’s No. 2 concern — after making sure he doesn’t drink and drive — is whether he will get a shot at being the No. 5 starting pitcher for the Yanks this year. The kid was a lights out set-up man for closer Mariano Rivera. The win-less Yanks threw a bunch of nobodies (Jonathan Albaladejo, Phil Coke, Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte) at the Orioles on Opening Day. They were hammered by the lowly Birds.
The Steinbrenner brain trust isn’t going to sit around very long, watching relievers blow leads. Those relieving woes are compounded by the excellent additions of K-Rod and J.J. Putz to the bullpen of the magnificent New York Mets, a shoo-in for the National League pennant.
If the Yankees get off to a poor start, you can bet the Steinbrenners will push the panic button and throw Joba back into the pen and then trot out A-Rod. Because as Yogi says, “It gets dark real early out there.”