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Saturday, January 26, 2013

JOBA VS. YOUKILIS: IS THIS REALLY NEWSWORTHY?

You know it is a slow news month when the vultures are out looking to make stories out of nothing. Casey wrote it in 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.)

It did not take much effort for the tabloids to turn this into World War 3. I guess that is what sells. I just wish it were not so presumptuous.

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.
He was known for going after batters with his "inside fastball", including many of the Yankees. In what I thought was a brilliant move by the Yankees, 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.

They fought over everything under the sun, and ultimately for the spotlight. While they won two World Series out of three during his stay there, Reggie was not exactly the best personality for a happy clubhouse. Part of it was the leadership at the time. As much as I loved Billy Martin as a kid, with all his screaming and kicking dirt at the umps, he could barely control himself, let alone Reggie and the rest of the enormous egos on that time. Thankfully, Thurman Munson was the captain and the leader that kept everyone on track to winning. They won both World Series between Reggie's signing and Thurman's passing.

I expect that the captain Derek Jeter and the manager 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
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row


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