Joba Chamberlain grew up in northeast Lincoln, Neb., loving Steven Seagal movies, Atlanta Braves games on WTBS and anything Cornhusker. However, no matter what might have happened in the Braves myriad World Series appearances or at Husker bowl games, today is Chamberlain's biggest day so far. As foreseen by Acting Emperor Steinbrenner, the hard-throwing right-hander makes his first start for the Yankees, so no more questions from reporters about, “When ya’ gonna start, Joba? Did ya’ hear what Hank said about ya' today, Joba?”
When Answer Man cornered Chamberlain at his locker a few weeks ago, we cut him a break and inundated him with questions of a different sort — all along waiting for this day to come to release his answers. So, in a Y! Sports Big League Stew exclusive, fans can learn the results of what Chamberlain might do with his “Wizard of Oz” costume and what he would like you to smell like if he were to have his own cologne.
Q: When you sign autographs, how do you do your name?
Joba Chamberlain: I just try to shorten it up — I've got a long last name — so you shorten it up and make it as neat as possible.
Q: But you were born Justin Louis Chamberlain — and you sign as "Joba"?
JC: Yeah, yeah. I go with Joba. I legally changed my name, so...
Q: For the 4,000th and final time, where did "Joba" come from?
JC: My uncle had just adopted a little girl and she couldn't say my cousin's name — which was Joshua — and said something like "Jahba" which I liked.
Q: You've been photographed as the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz. Let's say you do something worthy to get into the Hall of Fame, should the costume be part of the exhibit?
JC: Ha! As long as my friends are with me. Ian (Kennedy) was Dorothy — my girlfriend — Phil (Hughes) was the tin man and Shelley (Duncan) was the Scarecrow. Those costumes were serious business. They were hot.
Q: If you sold your own cologne like Jeter does, what would you call it?
Q: How would it smell?
JC: Oh, yeah. Herbie definitely wins, though.
Q: Have you been offered a chance to dress as Herbie for a game — maybe against Kansas?
JC: Not yet, but I did dress up as our mascot in high school one time — I was the Rocketman. It's fun because you get to mess with your friends and they have no idea it's you.
Q: Looking back, what are your fondest memories of the "bugs game" at Cleveland?
JC: They were everywhere. It was pretty crazy. They'd fly in your mouth, hit you upside the head.
Q: Chief Wahoo is beloved by Indians fans, but he's not exactly a flattering portrayal of a Native American. As one with Winnebago heritage, do you have a critique of the Chief?
JC: I plead the Fifth.
Q: Does the vastness of New York City get to you sometimes?
JC: No. If you let it get to you, that's one thing. If you don't allow it to, it can be your best friend.
Q: Considering that police in Illinois can take your license for a speeding offense, do you have to be careful to not throw 100 mph against the White Sox?
JC: I didn't know that, that they take your license (laughs). I better be careful next time I'm in Chicago.
Q: Did you like to stay up for the Steven Segal movie, or whatever, was on after Braves games on TBS?
JC: Guaranteed, guaranteed. "Hard to Kill." That's probably my favorite Seagal movie.
Q: Can you do a Skip Caray impression?
JC: Don't have it.
Q: Did you get to face Chipper in spring training?
JC: I didn't.
Q: Wouldn't you have just died?
JC: I probably wouldn't have been able to throw a strike. I walked by Smoltz and Glavine at Disney World, and I didn't know what to say to them, either. I was with one of my agents — and I'm never at a loss for words — and I couldn't even spit anything out.
Previous Answer Men:
• Hunter Pence — April 10 • Justin Morneau — April 17 • David Wright — April 24 • Erin Andrews — April 25 • Andy Van Slyke — May 1 • Derek Jeter — May 8 • Bob Uecker — May 15 • Bert Blyleven — May 22 • Torii Hunter — May 29