Joba Chamberlain: A Letter of Apology

Jerry BurnesAnalyst IJune 26, 2008

Dear Mr. Chamberlain,

I would like to extend my apologies for thinking it once that it was too early to move you to the rotation.

I was wrong.

From start to start you have progressed and after picking up your first win as a starter on Wednesday night, I put my foot in my mouth.

I guess the Steinbrenner's do know what they're doing.

However, you must understand where I come from here. I'm a lifelong Cubs and Yankees fan, who grew up an hour south of Chicago. The Cubs have always been my team.

When the decision was made for you to hit the rotation, all I could think was a few familiar names to us all: Kerry Wood  and Mark Prior.

Guess I'm still a little gun-shy with young pitchers.

See, if you remember, they were once you; the next big things in baseball, the next dominant starters, and the next multi-Cy Young Award winners.

I watched them progress from their rookie seasons into legit Cy Young candidates. Then I watched them get overworked, and regress to the point where we Cubs fans would get excited that they threw long toss.

When my original gut reaction led to me say the Steinbrenner's were rushing you to the rotation. They were on my mind. I didn't want to see another electric arm such as yours to suffer the same fate.

Although things have worked out for Wood (so far), things haven't gone well at all for Prior. He rehabs with San Diego, yet to see the field in the past two seasons.

Like those two, you are a great asset to the Yankees. An asset that they would be insane to lose, whether to free agency or injury.

Another thing that led me to that article was the generally conservative style of baseball I'm used to watching.

Growing up a Cubs fan, it was rare to see their management do anything brash (or at all). The ownership, we never saw them, or heard from them. The Yankees I grew up with were the laid back, take things as they come, Joe Torre Yankees.

I'm still not used to the new Steinbrenner's, although similar to the old, are ready to make their impact on the team this year.

It took Jim Hendry years to make a good free agent signing, or assist in a good call-up, or make a good trade (*cough* Nomar Garciaparra).

So after seeing my baseball linage to this point, I hope you can understand why I was adamantly against you going to the rotation so soon.

Like all baseball fans, I'm still learning, and now, I'm learning a different, more aggressive style of baseball and ownership.

It's nice to see it actually does work.

So again I apologize, and I hope you accept. I stand by my original article, and refuse to admit I jumped the gun.  After all, I do read Jay Mariotti everyday. But you did prove me wrong.

I wish you luck in your next start, your career, and hope you can help beat those Red Sox.

I'll still be crossing my fingers that your career doesn't follow that of Prior or take you to the door step of Dr. James Andrews.


Jerry Burnes