DOCUMENT: Drunk, Sports

Joba Goes Nine (Steps)!

Yankee pitcher completes field sobriety test in DUI video

View Document

Joba Goes Nine

APRIL 6--While devoid of Plaxicoesque bombast and vulgarity, the police video of Joba Chamberlain's DUI arrest is not without its amusing moments.

After a Nebraska State Patrol officer pulled the pitcher over for speeding last October, the athlete assumed that the cop knew who he was. "I came from Florida," Chamberlain said, "and obviously I play for the Yankees." During a friendly conversation, Trooper Michael Grummert--who retrieved an open bottle of Crown Royal from the passenger seat of Chamberlain's BMW--asked the athlete what he thought of New York. The pitcher responded that "opening a door and saying please and thank you" were rare in Gotham.

As for driving, Chamberlain noted that if you let a fellow Nebraska motorist cut in ahead of you, they would roll down their window and say thanks. In New York, "They might hit you. It's a joke." Asked what it was like playing in Yankee Stadium, Chamberlain, a former catcher, mentioned meeting Yogi Berra in the locker room: "I go, 'Yogi, what the fuck are you doing here?" The Yankee great, Chamberlain recalled, replied, "You know what? It's too cold for my old ass to be here." Referring to Berra's height, the pitcher added, "No bullshit, he might not be as tall as the front of your car." A couple of excerpts from the Chamberlain DUI video can be found above.

While seated in the police cruiser's front seat, Chamberlain, 23, was directed to twice recite the alphabet. Before beginning, he asked Grummert whether he would have to say the letters backwards, and wondered whether the trooper had seen a certain famous online video. "Have you ever seen the test on the Internet? The dude does it from forward to backwards and then starts, he does it backwards and starts dancing." Chamberlain added, "The officer has it on tape on her camera. She starts dancing and he says, 'I don't do that 'cause I'm drunk.'" The video in question, however, is actually a clip from the Comedy Central show "Reno 911." Chamberlain, though, is not the only one to have been fooled into believing the clip was from actual police dashboard camera footage.

Moments after Chamberlain submitted to a Breathalyzer test, which he failed, another cop pulled up to the scene. Noting that the motorist in his car was about to be arrested, Grummert said, "He's going. He pitches for the Yankees, by the way." The second cop replied, "Is it Chamberlain? It's Joba?"

Chamberlain, whose mug shot you'll find here, pleaded guilty last week to drunk driving and was placed on probation for nine months and had his license suspended for 60 days. (1 page)