Mike Silva's New York Baseball Digest » Blog Archive » Joba’s Injury a Result of Carelessness and Stupidity, Not Bad Luck

Joba’s Injury a Result of Carelessness and Stupidity, Not Bad Luck

By Mike Silva ~ March 23rd, 2012. Filed under: New York Yankees.

Today we found out that Joba Chamberlain dislocated his ankle while jumping on a trampoline with his son at an amusement center.

This isn’t a laughing matter, as Deadspin reported that Chamberlain lost so much blood that there was concern for his life. This wasn’t a normal dislocation since the bone shot through the skin. It’s a serious injury that puts Joba’s career in jeopardy.

Just when you want to root for Joba Chamberlain and believe he’s turned his career around, you see another example about why he isn’t serious about his career or health. What he did last night was childish and irresponsible. Personally, I think it was stupid. He also put his son’s safety at risk.

Joba stormed on the scene with tremendous talent. Everyone ticketed him for the Hall of Fame after his call up in 2007 that saw him give up 1 run in 24 innings. “In Joba We Trust” was a shirt you would see fans wearing throughout Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees screwed with Chamberlain’s development. He was a starter, then reliever, then a starter/reliever, then a starter but with innings limitations. The team embarrassed Chamberlain with 3-4 inning starts in 2009. To this day it’s as close as I have seen to little league on a big league diamond. He finally was put into the bullpen, for good, in 2010.

In-between all this was Joba’s issues. Poor conditioning was always at the forefront. I will never forget how a week into spring training Joe Girardi had to take him to task for not taking the starting rotation competition seriously. Off-the-field there was the embarrassing DUI where he poked fun at Yogi Berra.

Just when Joba was settled into a bullpen role his elbow blew out. Tommy John surgery ended his 2011 season prematurely, one where he looked to finally be establishing himself as a solid middle reliever. He was ahead of schedule this spring and, who knows, maybe in line to take over the closer role next season if Mariano Rivera retires. Things were finally turning around.

That is until he decided to carelessly put his livelihood at risk by bouncing on a trampoline with his son.

Personally, I don’t get why parents allow their kids to bounce up and down on such a device. Sure, it’s great exercise, but the risk of injury far outweighs that reward. Besides, there are other great ways for kids to exercise, not to mention they should be doing something a bit more stimulating to the mind.

The Joba defenders were out in full force today. They pointed out to that he was “playing with his kid” (which I guess excuses the poor decision), how he could have hurt himself walking down the street, and the best one, how R.A. Dickey climbed a mountain this offseason.

The difference between Joba and Dickey is the knuckleballer acknowledged the dangers of the mountain and put his salary on the line. If he were hurt, his family would not have been able to collect on the remaining money owed on the 2-year/$7.8 million dollar contract. His act was far more altruistic than Chamberlain’s since he did his climb for charity, not while recklessly acting like a clown. That is the difference between an adult and someone who has the body of an adult but is really a child.

So this could happen to anyone? Not quite.

Trampolines are dangerous. First, it’s a question now asked when you are taking out a homeowner or renters insurance. That alone should be a hint to the risk. Also, check out this story by CBS News in June of 2010

Last year alone, an estimated 98,000 people were treated in emergency rooms for trampoline related injuries. 82 percent of them were children under the age of 15.

Trampoline safety expert Marc Rabinoff, of Metropolitan State College of Denver, Colo., calls trampolines “quad machines” because they can turn you into a quadriplegic in four seconds.”

So a baseball player whose only means of making a living decided that it was a good decision to partake in an exercise that can turn you into a quadriplegic.

That isn’t an accident or bad luck, it’s downright stupid.

If he never pitches again he’s made $2.6 million dollars to date. He will make another $1.6 million this year if the Yankees are nice enough not to release him, which would pay him only $418k since his contract isn’t guaranteed. The team can do this without repercussion since the injury is not baseball-related.

I hear a lot of fans saying how “unlucky” Chamberlain is. Luck is the product of design. Joba Chamberlain put himself in a situation where he partook in a dangerous activity. Furthermore, he put his son at risk. Does it make sense for a 6’2”, 240 pound man to be jumping recklessly on a trampoline with a child?

Chamberlain may go down as one of the all-time teases in baseball history. So much talent in the arm, not enough in-between the ears.

This latest incident is the cherry on top of a career filled with unbelievable carelessness and poor decision making.

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook

The following two tabs change content below.
Mike Silva has hosted sports shows on 107.1 FM Champions ESPN Radio Long Island ,1240 AM WGBB , Blog Talk Radio and live from Mickey Mantle’s Restaurant. He’s also built and maintained two popular social media hubs: New York Baseball Digest and Sports Media Watchdog. Mike has broken national and local stories, as well as been mentioned on the YES Network, SNY.tv, WFAN, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, NY Daily News, New York Magazine, Journal News and the NY Post. Contact Mike professionally at mikesilvamedia.com

Latest posts by Mike Silva (see all)

45 Responses to Joba’s Injury a Result of Carelessness and Stupidity, Not Bad Luck

  1. Whoever I want

    Apparently you are not a parent or if you are you must be a deadbeat one. There is NOTHING more important then your child. Does is suck, yes, but if there is nothing stupid about it at all. The only stupid thing about this whole situation is your article.

  2. SDM

    I didn’t realize trying to play with your son at a children’s rec area constitutes stupid. It was an unfortunate accident (yes an accident) like Whoever I want said, nothing is more important than your kid. This is something that very well could have killed him, dramatically traumatized his 5 year old son, and this is the first thing you decide to write about? How about instead of laying blame, how about offering a prayer for a safe recovery?

  3. Heather

    So you’re one of these people who subscribes to kids living in a bubble? Apparently taking your child to do something fun is immature and stupid? As a kid I went on trampolines plenty of times – and that was before they came out with the enclosures, and aside from a pinched finger or two, I’m unscathed. Would you go on a trampoline expecting to rip open your ankle while dislocating it? Probably not. While Joba’s behavior has been less than pristine in the past, like with his DUI, how can you fault him for taking his kid to a recreation space – which is probably 13x safer than jumping on a backyard trampoline.

    You sound personally affronted by this. Take a chill pill. Obviously he needs support, since even as you said “there was concern for his life”, not people ripping him apart for being a good father.

    At least he isn’t Carl Pavano.

  4. UncleMario

    Speaking as an Uncle to both an niece and nephew, you have some gall Mr. Silva!

  5. Bulldog

    Wow… Silva, you are obviously NOT a parent. What is obvious, unfortunately, is that you’re an a$$hole.

  6. NyGirl

    Stupid would have been jumping on a small trampoline in a yard. That’s where people fall off them and land on the ground. This place he went to has no possibility of falling off. It’s wall to wall trampolines. He probably landed awkward on the part that is not as springy. Freak thing. I fractured my ankle just walking and turned it awkward step. Would you call walking down the street a stupid act?
    Do your research before you go trashing people
    You are a sad excuse for a writer

  7. kranepool

    WOW! take it east folks as a dad who has a trampoline in his backyard I can say Mike is not off with what he’s saying. First our trampoline has a fence around it and we monitor how many kids can be on it plus there is a huge sticker on the frame from the manufacturer that states no one over 225lbs should be on it.

    Another thing since we got the trampoline I had to tell my insurance company about it and guess what? I have to pay more for my policy.

    and for the folks you say it was not a backyard trampoline we spend our summers on cape cod where there are two of these trampoline play areas and you have to sign a waiver to use this facility that you realize the risk and that the owner is not liable for any injury so you jump at your own risk.

    By the way another reason I don’t use the trampoline I really don’t need to injure myself and miss significant time at work you know I have kids to feed.

  8. tnt

    if he was told to lay off doing things that can hurt his arm,and still does it,im sorry he is a frigging moron. he left nebraska still with the corn between his ears.what if just standing there a kid flies into him or something like that right into his shoulder. i am 8 months removed from torn rotator cuff and torn labrum in my right arm and if you smack me hard i feel pain still to this day…he is a dummy or as saturdays news says”boob joba”…..this site should have a contest of rating the dumbest thing to do, with ojeda and hedge trimmers,kent with his motorcycle,boone with a basketball,ny jets cromarte with his wee wee(9 kids/8 women)

  9. Mike Silva


    Unfortunately, Ojeda says it was hedge trimmers, but he broke a shot glass on a bar when he was drunk. You won’t find that story anywhere because the Mets did a nice job of covering it up.

    Of course, I will never be able to confirm that, but this was told to me by someone who was there that night.

  10. me

    What a bad guy. How dare he play with his own kid?

  11. David, Jr.

    The problem with this article and with all of the pious nonsense on the other side of it (What a bad guy! Just playing with his kid!) is that at this point nobody has said what really happened.

    It could range from:

    Jumping on the trampoline with a beer in his hand or doing some kind of exotic flips on it or holding the kid overhead while jumping. If it was anything like any of those, he is an absolute idiot.

    To: Innocently and mildly jumping on the trampoline while watching his kid do the same, when he hit a bad seam on it, causing the accident. If it was something like that, it is more the product of bad luck, not all that different from going hiking and stepping in a partially obscured hole.

  12. Mike Silva

    By the way…

    Check out this promotional video via Rounderz, where Joba got hurt.

    If you had a non-guarenteed $1.6 million dollar contract, and baseball was your only means to live, would you think this is a good idea? Fast forward to the 15-second mark, it gets good.

    Is doing this in the best interest of your child. Forget breaking an ankle to Joba’s level. What about separating a shoulder, breaking a hand, etc.


  13. David, Jr.

    Still need to know exactly how it happened. That will definitely come out, as gobs of people likely witnessed it. Before knowing that, any conclusions are premature.

  14. tnt

    does not matter how it happened,he should never been on it….not really his fault but duaner sanchez comes to mind(wasnt driving the car)

  15. Stu B

    I watched “Bull Durham” for about the 86th time the other night, and this incident brings to mind the classic line from the film, “He’s got a million-dollar arm and a 5-cent head.”

  16. John

    Terrible terrible story. Calling somebody stupid for playing with his son on a trampoline is just asinine. This is just a case of really bad luck.

  17. Lauren

    A completely idiotic thing to write…how many people go places like this with their children..clearly you already didn’t like him so it was going to be a big deal..if it was an athlete you may have liked I’m sure you would have spoke differently. Accidents happen there isn’t much you can do about it…it’s always good getting a point of view on how to be the perfect athlete from a person who writes about sports and doesn’t actually play them..

  18. Reg

    Disgraceful thing to write. The only thing that can be learned from this idiotic blog is the writer doesn’t have kids and hates the Yankees.

  19. tnt

    lauren of all the people who go to these places with their children,how many are pro athletes who make their living with their legs,nevermind he is also rehabbing an arm.what if he fell on his arm??

  20. Lauren

    Tnt I do understand where you are coming from but of course no one thinks they will get hurt..cc sabathia is one of the best pitchers in baseball and just last week had on twitter pictures with him and his kids on rides in Disney world…something can happen on those things too…I think to some people spending time doing different things with there kids is so important that you are just trying to do something different with them…I don’t think any person athlete or not would think that a trampoline would cause that kind of damage…sometimes things just happen.

  21. Lisa

    Spot on, Mike. Have you seen the releases that these types of places make you sign just to get on the trampoline? They are extremely detailed about all the things that could go wrong, including paralysis and death.

    And I don’t get that the attitude by commenters that it’s okay for a professional athlete to take such risks because he’s with his child. Do you mean to tell me that there is nothing else in the entire world that Joba could have done with his son other than to jeopardize his recovery by going on a trampoline? Really? How about expecting him to be responsible, and not jeopardize his recovery from major surgery? Is that too much to expect?

  22. Mike Silva


    Hold on a second, I am not letting you get away with that.

    First, I don’t “hate” the Yankees. If being objective is “hating” the Yankees, then I am guilty as charged.

    My challenge to you. Go to one of these play areas, put your kid on the trampoline and sit back why a 6’2” 240 pound man jumps around with them.

    You feel good about the odds of that ending well?

    Also, look at the video I posted before. There are plenty of ways to get hurt doing that, look at those separation points from trampoline to trampoline!

    A few more things to digest for the “know everything” crowd here.

    1. If trampolines are no more dangerous than “walking down the street” or “playing basketball.” why do insurance companies charge a premium for it on home/renters insurance?

    2. There are many standard activities that teams ban on contracts. I made a call and asked some questions, examples are flight lessons, organized sports (including one’s for charity), and sometimes many others depending on the contract. I bet trampolines become one in the near future. If insurance companies are concerned about it, so should big league ball clubs.

    I know of players that have bowled with their non-pitching hand so not to injury themselves. There are players that make sure that every bit of medication or drinks they ingest are first run by the team trainer, so not to get suspended for an innocuous mistake.

    These players realize their bodies are their meal ticket. No body/no meal ticket.

    Does this mean you might not be able to partake in the same activities as other father’s? Yes, but as a father the more important objective is to earn for your family.

    Notice these types of things happen to guys, like Joba, not coherent and mature athletes. Sure, freak things happen – always do- but it’s amazing that a majority of freak things happen to people that do not calculate risk/reward with activities. Or, are just flat-out lack common sense or intellect.

    The Yankees would have every right to release him and pay just 418k. Why should they give Joba $1.2 million dollars extra this year? He didn’t earn it and the injury wasn’t “baseball-related.”

    Should he be rewarded for his stupidity?

  23. Ken Bland

    Notice these types of things happen to guys, like Joba, not coherent and mature athletes. >>

    I don’t get what I perceive as an inconsistency. Suggesting Joba is incoherent and immature is one thing. But devoting a recent post to Jose Canseco that seemed supportive, and sympathetic to his attempted comeback doesn’t seem to separate objective analysis from the personal feelings that flavors one of the athletes positively, and the other negatively.

    Jose called himself the “Godfather of Steroids”. His life, as publicly portrayed, makes him seem more like the “Godfather of Incoherence, and Stupidity.” Outrageous driving (Joba also, but maybe only one time), messy relationship(s), things like that for starters, let alone goofy publicity stunts like wrestling, and I don’t even know how to define his steroid career, both in the game, and in the media and courts.

    So the bashing of Chamberlain seems to defray from objective analysis in that regard. Or being drawn to a sympathetic view of Canseco. Take your pick.

  24. Mike Silva

    Canseco made his bed, he has to lie in it.

    I just think he gets blamed more for steroids than he deserves. He was honest, and now people are dumping on him on Twitter for that.

    He was a reckless guy, but I see a sincere attempt to become a better person. I have yet to see that from Joba, I see goofy kid that doesn’t know what a great opportunity that he pissed away.

  25. Steve S.

    That headline goes further than I would, but I agree with Mike that you’d like to see better judgement from professional athletes. I was unaware of just how dangerous these things are (almost 100,000 people end up in hospitals annually) and I’ll assume that Joba was unaware as well. Though if he bothered to read the waiver he signed he might have known, in which case he should have known.

    People who make this about someone playing with their kid really miss the point. A baseball player’s body is his means of earning a living, and it should be his business to protect it. There’s all sorts of things pro athletes shouldn’t be doing that would be OK for the rest of us, from skiing to playing other sports to anything else that could get them hurt. There’s language in contracts that voids the deal if the players gets hurt doing risky things on their free time, and without having the specific language handy it certainly looks like this qualifies.

  26. kjs

    I hope Philly, Florida, Atlanta, and Washington all get trampolines in their clubhouses…

    ‘Nuff said.

  27. Mike Silva


    In talking to someone that knows contracts (not Joba’s), unless the Yankees put trampolines in the contract they can’t void it.

    His contract is not guaranteed, so they could release him and pay only 418k and still keep big league insurance

    Organized sports are usually prohibited, hence why Aaron Boone’s deal was voided

    Bet trampolines become standard going forward.

  28. Steve S.

    The most recent reports have his timetable for return could be as soon as mid-July, or on the long end late August. They can still get something out of him this year, so for under 2M I don’t think they would void the contract if they could. Especially in light of the majority opinion you’re getting over here.

    They were really excited by what he was doing this spring, and looking at him for the last 6 weeks or so of the season will give them an idea of whether or not they’ll want to tender him a contract for 2013. I don’t think they’ll even explore voiding the deal.

  29. Ken Bland

    It’s not to say the passionate critics of Chamberlain’s judgemet are wrong (I have no opinion, myself), but it’s interesting to compare the passionate views with Brian Cashman, far more effected by it as in this quote in today’s Phil Rogers Chicago Trib column.


    Cashman’s reaction doesn’t seem like there will be a rush to trampoline clauses, but who’s to say.

  30. Ken Bland

    Take 2 on the quote…

    “General manager Brian Cashman has been patient with Chamberlain, and didn’t question his judgment in this incident.

    “I’m sad about it,” Cashman said. “It’s just a tragic, freak accident. … He was being a father.”

  31. Lisa

    Ken, as per Cashman’s quote, I guess I missed when “being a father” included risking his health, livelihood, and future earnings, all so he could go on a trampoline with his child. And why couldn’t he just watch his kid on the trampoline instead of going on it himself?

    And Steve, I highly doubt Joba’s July timetable is realistic. It’s taken Kendrys Morales nearly two years to get back into baseball again with his ankle injury, and his injury never broke the skin.

  32. Reg

    Mike Silva

    “My challenge to you. Go to one of these play areas, put your kid on the trampoline and sit back why a 6’2” 240 pound man jumps around with them.”

    Challenge?? That is the reality of being a parent. Every other weekend my wife and I are chauffeuring our children to birthday party after birthday party. Some are at play zones type of places. Any parent who has been at these types of places have seen many of parent accompanying their toddlers on these trampolines and bouncy houses especially when they are really young. Its not a challenge at all……I see it every time I get stuck going to one of those places.

    The only person who would think this is a challenge, is someone without children. Parents understand what I’m expressing.

    P.S. Insurance companies raise your premiums if you install a pool on your property. So by your reasoning any professional athlete that plays in a pool w/ their child must “flat-out lack common sense or intellect”.

  33. Steve S.

    Lisa, Kendys Morales was a completely different injury. He not only broke his ankle but had fractures in his leg as well. Joba has no fractures of any kind, just ligament damage that comes with dislocation. According to the West Point grading system, even the worst ligament tears heal within 6 months, so if his doctor told him he should be back on a mound in July I’ll take his word for it. His doctor saw his MRIs, we didn’t.

    As far as infection goes, they wouldn’t have released him from the hospital if they still thought it was likely. Risk of infection decreases daily.

  34. Mike Silva


    I also wonder if Joba’s name was Luis Ayala and he was 36 instead of 26, if he would be as sympathetic to keeping him around and not releasing him.

  35. Chuck Johnson

    “The most recent reports have his timetable for return could be as soon as mid-July, or on the long end late August.”

    That was from the Tommy John.

    As an “athlete”, Joba comes from a very shallow gene pool, he’s naturally overweight and has to work much harder than his teammates to get the same results.

    When you’re rehabbing Tommy John, or a shoulder injury like Johan Santana did, you can still do cardio, as a matter of fact, for the first six months or so, that’s ALL you can do.

    I saw video of Andy Pettitte’s first throwing session after he signed..his “catch” partner was Joba, and they walked off the field together.

    Joba looked fat, like he always has. He doesn’t look like he’s spent the last six months running 100 miles a week.

    He will be in a cast for six weeks. They will then remove the cast and take new XRays and if everything looks good, he’ll be in a lighter cast and possibly a walking boot for another six weeks or so.

    For a guy like Joba, 12 weeks off his feet is a death sentence.

    If everything goes according to plan, the ankle heals correctly, if Joba does the work to stay in shape, AND is able to continue to rehab the elbow while hurt (another important factor no one has mentioned), the EARLIEST he will be on the field will be spring training 2014.

  36. mister d

    I think it is fair to say that, with all information, and with what JC was risking, it wasn’t a very smart thing to do.

    However, given that he was playing with his kids, that he’s still fairly young himself, and that most people don’t do extensive research on the risks of playing on children’s toys in a public area, I’m not going to flat out call him stupid, either.

    I was an error, and one that looks stupid in hindsight, but one that should be perfectly understandable given the circumstances.

    I know MIke is not a Yankee hater, but there are some players that get under his skin far more than they should, like Joba and Swisher. I suspect if it was Mike Pelfry or Ivan Nova, he would be critical, but less harsh in his tone.

  37. Mike Silva

    Chuck you meant 2013 not 2014, am I correct?

  38. Chuck Johnson

    “Chuck you meant 2013 not 2014, am I correct?”


  39. Chuck Johnson

    I suppose using the word “effective” would make the difference as far as Joba/2014 goes, he could conceivably be on the field in 2013 but it’s an unknown at this point.

    If the bone doesn’t heal correctly and they have to go back in and fuse or plate the bone, he’s done.

  40. Mike Silva

    Looks like Jon Heyman has the most practical take on Joba’s injury


  41. Chuck Johnson

    Which was already a given.

  42. Lisa

    Steve, you write: “According to the West Point grading system, even the worst ligament tears heal within 6 months, so if his doctor told him he should be back on a mound in July I’ll take his word for it. His doctor saw his MRIs, we didn’t.”

    But we didn’t really hear what the doctor said. We heard what Joba said the doctor said. And sorry, I’m not buying that he will be back in July.

  43. Lisa

    The Sully Baseball blog has a good take on this, regarding the “he was just being a good dad” comments:


    I can imagine Joba’s son years from now asking him “Daddy. Why aren’t we rich like all your other Yankee friends?”

    “Well you see when you were five years old, I decided to take my 250 pound frame and jump it up and down when I was coming back from a career threatening injury.”

    “Gee dad. I hope you had fun.”

  44. UncleMario

    “He was a reckless guy, but I see a sincere attempt to become a better person.”

    So how does Jose Canseco challenging Shaq in a MMA fight make him a better person?

  45. Mike Silva


    I think that is called “I need money” and there aren’t a heck of a lot of ways for him to make it.

    No doubt Canseco is in another class of issues. I don’t think it’s fair to compare, since its unrelated situations.

    My general distaste for Joba is two-fold

    1) not his fault- but the excessive hype that never really matched the outcome

    2) His carefree and immature approach to his career, when there are 1,000s of MILB players that would kill to have his arm. Add in the fact he has this opportunity with the Yankees, and it just burns me.

    But hey, I look at things differently. Joba isn’t the only one that falls into this category. Matt Bush, on a much more serious scale, can have the same thing said to him.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.