(Photo: AJ Burnett after getting hit in the face with a baseball)
Freak accidents happen a lot in one's life. For example... walking up stairs and twisting an ankle moving empty boxes... that's a freak accident. Sorry DRob, I had to go there. Taking one in the face during batting practice, like AJ Burnett did while doing his job this Spring for the Pirates and learning to hit again in the National League...that's a freak accident. But there are a ton of things that people do that are NOT freak accidents; Playing a pickup basketball game for instance, i.e. Aaron Boone. How about Fight Club, but you end up with a broken arm? Or skydiving and not sticking the landing? Or, how about jumping on a trampoline after you’re on the mend from Tommy John surgery and busting an ankle severely?
Bottom line, what Joba Chamberlain did was stupid. A trampoline? Really? REALLY? Do you have any idea how many people get hurt jumping on a trampoline? I was curious so I pulled up a few sites. Livestrong.com, HERE, had this statistic: "About 104,729 of those individuals of all ages who were injured were treated in emergency rooms and released. The rest, an approximately 4,793, were either hospitalized or dead on arrival." Those stats were collected from 2006. Then I checked out The Foundation for Spinal Cord Injury Prevention’s website, HERE. It’s funny because when I searched trampoline injuries, the first sentence reads like this: “Using a trampoline is promoted as fun. But the growing popularity of trampolines among 8 year olds to adults is resulting in a dramatic increase in serious injuries – including broken necks, spinal cord injuries and disabling head traumas." Sure, it’s a spinal cord prevention site so it’s supposed to scare you a bit, but the reality is if you didn’t know that a metal frame with springs pulling a bouncy tarp tight so you can jump high is “risky”, then you need to have your head examined.
Sure, we can sit here and argue that riding a bike is dangerous and people die in car accidents every year. I hear you, but recreation for pro athletes needs to have some type of restriction. A trampoline should definitely be restricted. Joba's injury could have and should have been prevented and now what happens? Joba Chamberlain will most likely be out this season for all we know, all because he wanted to jump on a trampoline with his kid. He shouldn’t have been on it, bottom line.
Cashman was quoted as saying: “I feel bad because I know how much he loves this game and I know how much he was looking forward to coming back.” OK, fine, but there’s a problem with that statement. Cashman shouldn’t feel bad, Joba should. If I’m the Yankees, I’m not pleased. If I’m Joba, I need to know my head’s on the chopping block.
Am I being too harsh? I don’t think so. I remember very distinctly Yankeeland was outraged when Aaron Boone hurt himself in that off-season pickup basketball game and that was right after the magic happened in the playoffs in 2003. Everybody wanted Boone’s head that winter and Boone was released, read HERE. But all I’m reading today on Twitter is that Joba “made a mistake” and it was a “freak accident.” It wasn’t a freak accident, it was a stupid accident that could have been avoided.
I get it, kids want their dad’s to do stuff with them and you never say "NO" to your kid because, they think you're Superman and you always want to do things for your children... I have 4... I get it. Who knows if that’s how it went down, but in my mind, I see Joba not wanting to let his son down, getting on the trampoline and suddenly, there's tragedy. But know this, if it comes out the way I described and he wanted to be there for his son, I understand and I’m sympathetic to it. But there's more to it. As an athlete coming off Tommy John surgery who “was really looking forward to coming back” as Cashman says, this injury doesn’t fly. So what's the solution? It's tough love time.
When I first read about Joba this morning, I said to my buddy Scott "I would tell Joba he's not getting paid this year." Sounds harsh, but what I mean is, Joba Chamberlain's about to know what it means to be worried about his job in Yankeeland. I don't care if the Yankees need to fine him or cut him loose, Joba Chamberlain did something foolish and it's time to make this kid understand what the real world's like. Did Joba make a mistake? Yes, but Aaron Boone did too and he was run out of the Bronx. What's the difference? I ask you?
Also, let me state one very important part of this post. I'm a Joba fan. This story is disappointing and while I immediately wanted to write a piece this morning, I waited until I read everything I could about this story before doing a knew jerk reaction post where I was pissed off. Unfortunately, my anger hasn't changed since this morning. Joba Chamberlain needs to be taught a lesson, not right now while he's in the hospital, but soon. Yankeeland was waiting and Joba was close to returning, but stupidity got the best of him and now we all suffer. Look, Yankeeland will go on without Joba, but this is serious and while he's recovering, we need to seriously think about what happens next for Joba Chamberlain and his relationship with the New York Yankees. Will we wait for Joba or cut him loose? I know it sounds harsh, but I'm afraid this dumb decision may have sealed his fate and destroyed his career in pinstripes... and it's a crying shame.
Look, I have my opinion, and you have yours, no one's wrong here, but I think we can all agree, we're all alittle disappointed.
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