TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Joba Chamberlain is one person who can truly appreciate “Linsanity.”
Chamberlain inspired the “Joba Rules,” which became a New York obsession when the pitcher went 2-0 with a 0.38 ERA in 19 relief appearances after joining the Yankees in August 2007.
LISTEN: Joba Chamberlain with Kim Jones
Now Chamberlain is soaking in the exploits of Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks’ sudden star.
“It’s been fun to watch,” Chamberlain said Wednesday after a pre-spring training workout in Florida.
“Hopefully I get a chance to meet him and wish him the best,” he added. “Just to be able to talk to him and listen to the things that he’s gone through in this short amount of time. If there’s anybody in New York City that knows what he’s going through, it’s me, and I’m very honored to be able to say that.”
Chamberlain was a rookie in 2007 limited in how many innings he could pitch to protect his prized arm. He quickly became a fan favorite.
Lin, a point guard from Harvard, has come out of nowhere to lead the Knicks on a six-game winning streak.
“I’m happy for him,” Chamberlain said. “Somebody that worked so hard, that got cut and was told he wasn’t supposed to be anything, and looked what happens.”
At the start of Chamberlain’s big-league career, people would yell at him from cabs and dining out could be an adventure.
“A free meal may come here or there, but there’s nothing wrong with that,” a smiling Chamberlain said. “It’s been fun to see the shirts, everything that goes along with it. He’s got a name that fits it, and I guess I had a name that fit it, too.”
It can all get overwhelming.
“Looking back at it, yeah,” Chamberlain said. “Your game of life is long, but your game in basketball and baseball is really short, and have to be able to take advantage of that. You’re not going to be a sensation forever.”
Chamberlain is a cautionary tale of that. He’s coming back from elbow ligament replacement surgery and has been cleared to start throwing off a full mound next week. He’ll be able to throw curveballs and changeups in late March and said that it was “100 percent” he would rejoin the Yankees at some point this season.
“Your first impressions are most lasting,” Chamberlain said, “and he made a pretty good one, I can tell you that much.”
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