|Joba Chamberlain's father visits Yankee Stadium for first time|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 21 September 2007 15:19|
Joba Chamberlain's father was just as excited as any first-time visitor. In fact, he probably was even more thrilled than most.
``Last night when I was thinking about coming here, I was like a little kid,'' he said Friday.
Stricken with polio at 9 months old, confined to his scooter, deaf in one ear and without full use of his left arm, Harlan Chamberlain still raised his son as a single dad.
Now, he's enjoying every moment of Joba's swift rise to stardom with the Yankees. The rookie right-hander, with a 99 mph fastball and a nasty slider, has become a huge weapon out of the bullpen as New York closes in on its 13th straight playoff appearance.
``What surprises me the most is the success that he's having and the magnitude of the contribution that he's making,'' the elder Chamberlain said, wearing a Yankees cap as he sat in front of the dugout while his son's team prepared to play the Toronto Blue Jays.
Earlier this month, about a year after another health crisis, Harlan and several friends and family members made the three-hour drive from their home in Lincoln, Neb., to see Joba and the Yankees play the Kansas City Royals.
Tears streamed down his face as he watched Joba toss two scoreless innings to help preserve a 3-2 victory.
After a pleasant flight, Harlan made it to Yankee Stadium on Friday for the first time and was eager to see his son pitch in pinstripes during New York's final home series of the season. He said it was the first time he'd been east of Chicago.
``I'm at one of the greatest places in the world,'' Harlan said with a smile. ``Kansas City was great, don't get me wrong. But to be here in Yankee Stadium, my God. That's just part of this ongoing dream coming true. Another chapter. It's a great ride and I'm trying to have as much fun as I can.''
He arrived in the afternoon after a bumpy ride on the city's beat-up roads, and his driver parked in Joba's space. Immediately, he went out to Monument Park.
``That's the first thing I did when I got here today, went out there. I touched Babe Ruth and my favorite, Lou Gehrig. And then the 9-11 monument was probably the most moving thing,'' Harlan said.
Then he went up and sat in the stands during the game.
``Joba Chamberlain's dad - isn't he something?'' Yankees manager Joe Torre said. ``He's got a presence to him.''