It might not be a huge deal one week from now, but it’s certainly a noteworthy event when one teammate blatantly disrespects another teammate in plain sight of the fans and media. It then becomes even more noteworthy when the disrespected teammate just so happens to be a future Hall of Famer, and perhaps the most well respected man currently in the game.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, that was the uncomfortable scenario that played out just a couple hours before the Yankees-Royals game at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday night.
Here are the details, according to what he witnessed:
Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera exchanged tense words in the dugout before Saturday night’s game, as Chamberlain took exception to Rivera instructing him to quiet down while the closer chatted with reporters about an emotional event he had held earlier in the day with several local families.
“Don’t ever shush me again,” Chamberlain told Rivera in full view of reporters and fans.
Now you're probably wondering what Rivera said to elicit such a response. According to Feinsand:
“Joba! Yo! Bro!” Rivera shouted. “Shhh. Stop it.”
See, I can almost understand how being publicly "shushed" can rub a person the wrong way, but I can also picture Chamberlain being extra loud just for the purpose of getting some kind of response out of anybody who's paying attention. Not that that's at all what he was doing. I wasn't there. But Feinsand certainly hinted at it by writing that Chamberlain was shouting into stands while standing by the dugout railing, and only seemed to get louder as Rivera indicated he was causing a distraction.
I also have a tough time believing Rivera would initiate such an exchange just to be a jerk. Either Chamberlain was being disruptive, or he has a history of being disruptive, and Rivera decided to nip it so he could fulfill his commitments to the media.
Here's another thing. Chamberlain told Rivera that he was actually yelling to family members in the stands, and that he doesn't get to see his family as often as Rivera talks to the media. That's obviously true, but does that give him a right to be a pain in the backside? Also, why must his interaction with family come in shouting form at the ballpark, and why did it get louder when Rivera first asked him to tone it down?
I'm trying to see things from Chamberlain's point of view. I really am. But I just don't understand what would be going through his mind.
He didn't offer many clues, either, when asked about the incident after the game.
Asked after the game about the exchange, Chamberlain said, “I’m not talking about it.” Chamberlain said he hadn’t spoken with Rivera since the spat. Asked whether he felt the two needed to talk, Chamberlain sniped, “That’s between me and Mo.”
Rivera was far less snippy about the situation, although he seemed surprised that Chamberlain had barked at him in such a public setting.
“It’s amazing,” Rivera said before confirming that he and Chamberlain had not spoken since. “We’ll take care of it. We’re grownups and I know better than that. We’ll take care of that.”
This situation will blow over quickly because Mariano Rivera will personally make sure that happens. With that in mind, I can already feel the venom from fans who are angry this incident is getting any play at all.
Sorry, folks, that's kinda how it works when you present a story to the media on a silver platter. Had Joba Chamberlain exercised a little better judgment, then it wouldn't be a story. For now, though, it's a story. Right up until the point when it isn't.
Update: That was especially quick. Here are Mariano and Joba hanging out before Sunday's game in Kansas City.
Brothers don't shake hands, brothers gotta hug twitter.com/YankeesPR/stat…
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) May 12, 2013
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