Joba Chamberlain burst onto the scene likehot, flat-brimmed lava. But after a failed tour as a starter and a sub-parreturn to the bullpen, it appears Chamberlain’s status as liquid-hot phenomhas cooled and hardened into an igneous career as a middle reliever.
In an attempt to restore what once was Yankees’ Senior Vice President andGeneral Manager, Brian Cashman, made the decision to bring back the “JobaRules,” protective guidelines set to prevent the hard-throwing righty fromgetting injured early in his career. The Yankee front office drew a lot ofcriticism when they enacted the “rules” in 2007, but according to Cashman,all the jokes and disparagement is far less painful than watching a onceprized prospect slip deeper and deeper into mediocrity. “The biggest regretof my career is revoking the ‘Joba Rules.’ Well, besides making him astarting pitcher… and signing Kei Igawa” said Cashman.
To celebrate the reinstatement of the “Joba Rules,” a team trip to Hawaiiwas booked for a renewal ceremony during an off day of their West Coast roadtrip. The private ceremony, whose guest list boasted such Yankee legends asYogi Berra and Randy Velarde, was hosted on a beautiful white-sand beachjust south of Honolulu. Under the guidance of newly ordained minister, DerekJeter, Chamberlain and Cashman exchanged the newly penned rules in front ofthe exclusive audience. Cashman, who read his rules on behalf of the entire
Yankees organization, couldn’t help but get emotional during the hour-longceremony, which was capped by a Chamberlain fist pump and Frank SinatraJr.’s rendition of “New York, New York.” “For the most part, I try not tolet my emotions get to me, but when Joba looked me in the eyes and flashedme one of those reassuring, Cornhusker smiles, I just couldn’t help myself”said the teary-eyed GM. “You know, I’m glad I finally listened to my wife,”he added, “the Hawaiian vow renewal ceremony really was a good idea."
The players in attendance agreed wholeheartedly. Curtis Granderson, who isin his first season with the Yankees, said “[the ceremony] was the mostbeautiful thing I’ve ever seen. The closest thing we ever did to this in
Detroit was pretend wedding for [Justin] Verlander and [Magglio] Ordonez’sdogs, it was really cute.” For members of the organization who couldn’t makeit, a DVD of the ceremony’s Yankeeography was sent to team headquarters inTampa, Florida.
While the exact terms of the Chamberlain-Yankee agreement were meant to bekept private, an inside source says the new rules are highlighted by a 100inning season limit, no alcohol before day game clause, and mandatory TacoTuesdays.
Even before his dominant Major League debut, StephenStrasburghad been turning heads with his overpowering fastball and devastating curve. But today the 21-year-old right hander raised eyebrows for a much different reason, announcing at a morning press conference that he is dropping his birth name in favor of the mound name, Ace Heater.
The change, which is effective immediately, was made with the hopes of improving the young flamethrower’s marketability.
"Cary Grant was born Archibald Leach. Rita Hayworth was Margarita Cansino," said Scott Boras, Heater's agent. "Without their stage names, they never would have made it as big as they did. If actors can do it, we see no reason why baseball players can do it. And, let's be honest, Stephen Strasburg isn't any better than Archibald Leach. At the same time, Ace Heater is way more kickass than Cary Grant."
Although not everyone agrees, most notably Heater's mother, Mary Ann Strasburg.
“Ace Heater!? Who the heck does he think he is?” said Mary Ann. “What’s wrong with the name Stephen? There’s no St. Ace, I’ll tell you that much. Nor does he have a great uncle Ace who served in World War II, may he rest in peace."
According to Heater, the decision to change his name was an easy one. After Boras pitched him the idea of being the first person to have a mound name, it wasn’t a matter of if he was going to take one, but what it was going to be.
“At first I was pretty set on Chaz Kay, but Scott told me it was too subtle. I tried to meet him halfway with Chuck Kay, but then we decided that sounded too much like Jackee. And I'm just not sassy enough to pull that off."
After hours of discussion and deliberation, the two finally agreed on a name. Heater says he’s satisfied with the name he chose because it highlights his two greatest attributes, “being a pitcher and throwing really fast.”