Joba Chamberlain sticks tongue out at Derek Jeter, then plunks him (video)
While the two things apparently were completely unrelated, an interesting confluence of incidents occurred during the 10th inning of Tuesday’s tilt between the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees when former Bronx Bomber Joba Chamberlain had some fun with Derek Jeter when the reliever and the Captain exchanged pleasantries prior to an at-bat.
After Jeter gave a tip of the cap to his former teammate, Chamberlain, ever the wisenheimer, promptly stuck his tongue out at the Yankees shortstop.
Chamberlain said after the game that it was something he always has wanted to do.
“I’ve seen the [Jeter] head nod every day for seven years and I always said if I faced him I was going to stick out my tongue,’’ he said. “I said, ‘All right, let me try it.’ ”
And that’s when things got a wee bit awkward, as Chamberlain proceeded to plunk Jeter on a subsequent pitch, hitting the Yankee on the left arm with an inside fastball.
The plunking appeared completely unintentional and Chamberlain appeared to be upset with himself and apologized immediately as Jeter took first base.
“I never felt worse in my life,’’ Chamberlain said after the game. “It was awful. I’ve known Derek a long time and he means a lot to me. With two outs, that was the last thing I wanted to do.”
The 28-year-old reliever, who spent seven years with the Yankees organization before signing a one-year deal with the Tigers in the offseason, has nothing but the utmost respect for his former teammate.
“You played with him and you played against him, he’s one of the greatest players to ever play this game and more so a greater person,’’ he said. “That means more to me than anything, his numbers speak for them self — but just the way he treated me. I just had a big conversation with him before the game, too, so like I said, it sucks.’’
But in the end, it was a case of no harm, no foul, as Jeter appeared to nod and acknowledge Chamberlain’s apology as he took his base.
And really, how can a person stay mad — or even get mad in the first place — at a guy rocking such a phenomenally bush beard? That thing is Grizzly Adams-esque, man.