Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/23/13
Vitaminwater_hosts_homers_e195
This isn’t what Joba Chamberlain had in mind when he took Carly Rae Jepsen‘s advice earlier this offseason. Chamberlain decided to call Kevin Youkilis, whom he’s developed quite the rivalry with over the years, shortly after Youk signed with the Yankees as a free agent. The only problem is that Youkilis didn’t answer, forcing Chamberlain to leave a voice mail that has since gone unreturned. No biggie, right? Well, it shouldn’t be, yet Chamberlain sounds like a man who is a little perturbed by the lack of response from his former adversary and current teammate. “I did everything I can do,” Chamberlain told the New York Daily News. “I can’t control what Kevin Youkilis does. I can only control what I do and, you know what, we’ll go on from there.” Chamberlain’s right — he can really only control what he does. It just so happens that has included whizzing 95-mph fastballs by Youkilis’ head on a number of occasions while Youk was wearing a Red Sox uniform. Now, with Youkilis suddenly crossing over to Chamberlain’s side of the Boston-New York rivalry, the Yankees reliever is learning firsthand the ill effects of ruffling feathers by way of beanballs and chin music. “I’m bound to run into him at some point,” Chamberlain said. “Sooner rather than later. We’ll see what happens. We’re grown men.” The fact that Chamberlain and Youkilis are “grown men” is the reason this should be a non-story. Many hockey players, for example, kiss and make up after beating each other’s heads in, largely because they are “grown men” who understand the less-than-pleasant interactions they’re bound to have at some point while playing a competitive sport. Many feuding baseball players can claim to have reconciled as well, and if a team is truly going to strive toward the ultimate goal of a World Series, it’s essential for players to avoid bickering like an old married couple because of what happened when the two players were in opposing dugouts. However, despite that notion that two adults should be able to bury the hatchet in the interest of the team, how the two could coexist immediately became a talking point after Youkilis signed his one-year deal with the Yankees. And by not returning Chamberlain’s call (if that happens to be the case), Youkilis is further perpetuating — intentionally or unintentionally — the unnecessary gossip. Fans and pundits can take whichever side they want. Chamberlain was the aggressor over the years, consistently gunning at Youkilis, while Youkilis should probably accept the olive branch that’s been extended to him. At the end of the day, though, none of the childish behavior should matter, it likely won’t matter and everyone’s probably making way too much out of nothing — if for no other reason than awkwardness makes us chuckle. What really matters to the 2013 version of the Yankees is that both Chamberlain and Youkilis go out and do their jobs, or the Yanks just might find themselves taking a step backward this season. Chamberlain set the bar high for his career following his 2007 and 2008 campaigns, as he was an imposing pitcher who hitters genuinely didn’t want to dig in against. Armed with a fastball that sat in the 95-98-mph range and topped out around 100 mph, Chamberlain thrived in his role as a reliever, and the idea of the big righty setting up for the legendary Mariano Rivera quickly became a scary proposition. That, of course, was until the Bronx Bombers unwisely decided to convert Chamberlain back into a starter, at which point he was no longer the same daunting hurler. His velocity dipped (rather significantly), he lacked the same movement on his cutter and slider, and he thus didn’t possess the same ability to get batters to swing and miss. Now, with the whole starting experiment in the rear-view mirror, Chamberlain will be called upon to play a big role in 2013. He’ll likely take over the Yankees’ seventh-inning duties, with Rivera returning from his injury, Rafael Soriano departing via free agency and David Robertson shifting up into an eight-inning role. That means Chamberlain will be a key component of bridging the gap between the Yankees’ rotation — which was middle of the pack last season — and the vaunted back end of the New York pen. Youkilis faces no easy task, either, as he’s the guy filling in for Alex Rodriguez down at the hot corner. Even if A-Rod is no longer the same A-Rod, that’s still a scary proposition, especially when you consider that by signing Youkilis, the Yankees are paying $12 million for a player whose skills have already begun to diminish. The sooner everyone realizes that the Youkilis-Chamberlain “feud” might actually be no more real than a unicorn, the sooner we can focus on the tangible on-field issues the Yankees will face if neither of those players performs up to snuff. We’ll likely all gain a little sleep in the process as well. Joba Chamberlain photo (right) via Flickr/Keith Allison
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Ishmael Adams suspended indefinitely following arrest

McNair: Pats caused problem by not cooperating with Deflategate

Browns terminate contract of Phil Taylor

WWE’s “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka charged in 30-year-old murder case

Randall Cobb: ‘I don’t plan on missing a game’

Ronda Rousey confirms she was supposed to fight Gina Carano

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Harbaugh denies using F-word in Jay Gruden exchange

Urban Meyer: Both J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones will play

Legal expert: NFL's reported offer to Brady 'really ridiculous'

Seguin called out by former Maple Leafs CEO for partying

No suspension for Sarkisian was made in best interest of USC

Jim Tomsula disputes report Jarryd Hayne has made 49ers

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Underdogs: Hopefuls that can shock in the World Cup

Manfred digs Shoeless Joe a deeper grave

Why Mike Trout ain't right

The Opening Drive: Jamal Anderson warns UM fans before heading to Salt Lake City

Best and worst MLB players in August

RG3 blames intern for liking Instagram post trashing owner

Four most surprising roster cuts from NFL teams

Raiders cut Trent Richardson

Caroline Wozniacki smoking cover of ‘Rhapsody’

Everett Golson named FSU's starting QB

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker