When Joba Chamberlain held the Red Sox in check for six innings last Friday night, it seemed we had finally reached the endgame on the season-long examination of his every movement. He would be fine to start a game in the ALCS, if the Yankees made it that far, and would do whatever was necessary in the first series since the Yankees will only need three starting pitchers. Finally, we could start concentrating on other matters.
And then Chamberlain pitched poorly against the Royals on Wednesday night. That's naturally catnip for the tabloids who have chronicled his each and every move, and they're all running with a "Will Joba get a spot on the postseason roster?" angle on Thursday. It's a pretty weak argument. Whatever Chamberlain's struggles, the Yankees don't have seven better pitchers to put on the ALDS roster ahead of him which makes the point fairly moot unless Joe Girardi is simply looking to answer questions about Chamberlain all next week instead of playing baseball.
We'll have plenty to talk about with Chamberlain soon enough anyway. USA Today reported Wednesday that Chamberlain is one of the athletes who will be stripping down to take part in ESPN the Magazine's inaugural "Body Issue." We've discussed the Worldwide Leader's answer to Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue before, but that was before we knew that the Yankees' lightning rod would be showing off his own lightning rod.
We kid, since there won't be any nudity in the magazine. They'll probably just put the list of the Joba Rules in front of him, unfurled like Santa's list of who's been naughty and who's been nice.
Naturally, Chamberlain's participation leads to some questions. How long was he allowed to remain in each pose before the Yankees stepped in to make sure that he wasn't overposing after posing so little last year? Was the photographer on a strict snap count? Did they take the photos in the bullpen? If he shows off 60 percent of his body in this year's issue, will he be strong enough to show off 75 percent next year?
And, most importantly, who has been clamoring for pictures of Joba Chamberlain in the buff?