Joba Chamberlain's diva-ness comes and goes, so bear with me for his turbulent history.
He acted admirably during that October 2007 midge mess. Though visibly uncomfortable as a swarm of tiny, pestering insects descended on Progressive Field during his first career playoff appearance, he didn't complain.
But Chamberlain sparked a fist-pumping debate early the following season (via ESPN.com). Hall of Famer Goose Gossage and veteran outfielder David Dellucci (among others) took exception to his post-strikeout celebrations. "It is what it is," Chamberlain, still technically an MLB rookie, said following their reactions." I am not going to change."
Mere weeks after the 2008 campaign ended, a Nebraska state trooper arrested the 23-year-old for DUI, reports Larry McShane of the Daily News. A police video reveals that Chamberlain sought preferential treatment and rambled about how unfriendly New Yorkers can be.
He began 2009 in New York's starting rotation. During a visit to the MLB Network studios, he whined about the added stress of not having a set role the previous year.
Skipping ahead to the postseason, however, Chamberlain was resigned to the fact that the Yankees would use him out of the bullpen after an inconsistent September. "If they tell me to fold towels, I'll fold towels—I don't really care," he told Mike Puma of the New York Post. "I'll do anything to win on this team."
And he did. The Yankees won their 27th championship, thanks in large part to Chamberlain's 2.84 ERA and 7.00 SO/BB during the World Series run.
Between then and now, the right-hander has reverted back to his cocky/overdramatic nature. He bragged to Anthony McCarron of the Daily News that he could be pitching in the majors again less than 10 months removed from Tommy John surgery. Nearly all pitchers to undergo the procedure take at least a year and ultimately, Chamberlain was no different.
All this brings us to 2013, his final year under team control. Chamberlain brought unnecessary attention to himself when speaking to reporters in spring training—according of Erik Boland of Newsday—by discussing a potential yet unrealistic return to starting duty:
This is probably going to spark a bunch of stuff but it's one of those things where it's like, do you think you have the capability of starting? Yes. Do I have four pitches that I can throw for a strike? Yes. Do I have two plus-pitches in the bullpen that I can throw at any time? Yes. So I guess I'm trying to have my cake and eat it, too, because I feel I'm good enough to do both.
"Good enough to do both?" Is that what he calls a 1.71 WHIP in 10 relief appearances?
An oblique strain has limited Chamberlain as we arrive at the one-quarter mark of the season. While on the disabled list, he's still hanging with the team.
Hence this month's heated exchange with Mariano Rivera. With Chamberlain "shouting as he interacted with people in the stands," the legendary closer asked him to quiet down, to which our No. 3 diva responded, "Don't you ever shush me again" (via Mark Feinsand, Daily News). As usual, he has zero regrets about disrespecting Rivera:
Upon returning to the active roster, Chamberlain will surely give us more material.