Well after all the commotion, the Big Hurt told the Daily News he had no problem with Chamberlain's enthusiasm that night. One reason for Thomas' graciousness is the fact that Joba's father, Harlan Chamberlain, was on the field during last night's pregame warmups. The elder Chamberlain sought out Thomas to tell the aging slugger his son had a large poster of Thomas lining his bedroom wall throughout his childhood:
There was a time earlier in his career when Frank Thomas would've taken umbrage at Joba Chamberlain whirling around and pumping his fist after striking out the future Hall of Famer to end the eighth inning of the Yankees' 3-2 victory on Opening Night.
But the Big Hurt wasn't even a little miffed about Joba's big back-page celebration on Tuesday.
"Hey, you strike me out at 98 (mph), you can do what you want," Thomas told the Daily News before Wednesday night's game at the Stadium. "There's a lot of young guys like that nowadays. The game has changed so much.
"That wasn't really accepted when I came through, but the game has changed. These guys are all doing that. I remember a couple of years ago, the whole Detroit staff was out there fist-pumping, so I'm used to it by now. Years ago, I would've taken offense to it, but I'm used to it now.
"He was pumped up, did a good job, and he struck me out in a big situation. So go ahead."
And here was Vernon Wells on Chamberlain:
"He's not doing it to show anybody up, he's doing it because he's excited about the moment. It's not easy for essentially a first-year kid to come in and be a setup man to the best closer in the game (Mariano Rivera).
"But that's his job and he's doing it so far."
I could not agree more with Wells. Staring in at an opposing batter after striking him out - ahem, any pitcher come to mind - is showing up the competition. Fistpumping your way into the dugout is an expression of enthusiasm. Sure he should tone it down a bit, but it's not like Chamberlain does it after every appearance.