There was a time, we imagine, when successfully impersonating a Yankee could be a lucrative game: If you could pass for Mickey Mantle in 1953, you’d probably drink for free all night at Toots Shor’s. If you resembled Derek Jeter in 1998, you could head straight for the champagne room at Scores. But being a Yankee in 2008 doesn’t apparently carry with it the same cachet. Just ask 29-year-old Ryan Ward, who was arrested last month passing himself off as Joba Chamberlain in order to score free bagels at a shop in Belmar, New Jersey.
If you had to sum up the Yankees’ place right now in the city’s sports landscape — one that’s got the first-place Mets, the Super Bowl champs, Brett Favre, and even the U.S. Open — this story would work nicely. As for Ward, it’s no surprise he got caught. According to Newsday, the man did show a resemblance to Chamberlain, but with facial hair, which (unless you’re Jason Giambi), is very un-Yankee-like. But had he done his homework, Ward would have realized the biggest flaw in his scam: Obviously, Joba’s a coffee-and-doughnut man.