THERE IS NO YOUKILIS VS. JOBA BEEF, but this is my take...
This week, Joba Chamberlain left a voicemail for Kevin Youkilis and he has not gotten a return call. Yeah, seriously! Now, Joba should probably have known better than to tell a newspaper that he has done everything he can do to reach out to Youkilis (Read HERE.)
But look, the Yankees are not strangers to clubhouse rivalries. Sometimes it has worked out well, sometimes not so well. In 1999, the Yankees acquired Roger Clemens from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Derek Jeter and Chuck Knoblauch came out for spring training to greet Clemens each wearing a set of catcher's gear. It was a funny moment, to poke Clemens for all the times he threw way inside to these guys, and to clear the air (Read HERE.) It so happened that this greeting made its way to the press, and any thought of internal conflict evaporated in a matter of minutes. The key here was that both the returning players and Clemens had a mature attitude about it, and all had the same vision - to win, without the ego drama.
Now, it is not as if such moves have never gone sour. Back in November 1976 when the Yankees signed Reggie Jackson, his entrance brought a whirlwind of interpersonal drama. His ongoing conflicts with Thurman Munson and Billy Martin were legendary.
Joe Girardi will manage this, both of whom stress the importance of parking your ego at the door and doing your part to help the cause of winning. Remember when Alex Rodriguez said that he understood Joe Girardi benching him in the playoffs last year? That's the standard of behavior enforced in the clubhouse. Kevin Youkilis has been around the league for the better part of nine years, having gone to the postseason 4 times, and been a part of a World Series winning team twice. His spent his entire career so far with big-market teams. I am sure he gets it. Joba may be a little more inexperienced, but he grew up in this environment. He gets it too. Okay, so someone has not returned a phone call yet. Big deal. Personally, I hope that they decide to go to a bar on an off night during Spring Training and have a beer, and that someone tips off the press. That should send the vultures back to their roost.
--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Writer