Friday, August 31, 2007

I'm Talkin' Willie, Joba and the Youk

For the record, I was incredibly close on the Post headline. They went with "Yankees Hit Sweep Spot." Right pun, wrong usage. Oh well, get 'em next time, champ.

Again for the record, I can't profess to know whether or not Joba Chamberlain was throwing at Kevin Youkilis. Given the control he's exhibited thus far, it seems extremely unlikely that two consecutive pitches would "slip" and end up a foot over Redbeard's head. But Joba did act shocked that he was being thrown out, and I doubt he's that good an actor.

Someone seems to have given Joba a checklist of ways to ingratiate himself with Yankees fans. Fix a decaying bullpen? Check. Dominate the American League with ridiculous sliders? Check. Reignite the Yanks/Sox rivalry by throwing at the head of one of Boston's most despicable players? Double check.

Whatever Joba's intent, the Yankees/Red Sox series in Fenway in a couple weeks now promises to be a circus of Clemens/Piazza proportions, especially if the Yankees can manage to gain a couple more games on them by then.

For their part, the Red Sox reacted like a bunch of juvenile hypocrites, conveniently forgetting how many Yankees have drilled by Boston's thugs over the past few years. They are shocked and outraged that someone would dare throw up and in in a game of baseball! Kevin Youkilis continued to play the part of a bad guy wrestler perfectly, giving his big, angry, post-match speech in the ring. He and Francona gave quotes that can only be described as vaguely threatening:

"If that young man is trying to get our attention, he did a very good job," Francona said.

"It will be interesting to see how that series plays out," Youkilis said.

It's better than even money that Josh Beckett will drill someone in Fenway in September. And if Roger Clemens pitches in that series, things will almost certainly escalate.

Honestly, I think this is a distraction the Yankees don't need right now. The Red Sox were on their heels; there was no reason to poke them with a stick. If Joba threw at Youkilis, I wish he would have thought twice before taking on that responsibility in his 12th big-league inning.