Funnels, water balloon fights and B.J. Upton: Joba Chamberlain recalls epic party at Gronk’s house


Duffel bags of cash, water balloon fights, Rolls Royces, beer funnels, and, for some reason, B.J. Upton—make no mistake, Bucs tight end Rob Gronkowski throws one hell of a party.

Even by Gronk standards, the off-the-rails house party detailed by former Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain during his appearance Friday on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz sounds like an all-timer. But first, how did the Gronks even get introduced to Joba? Funny you should ask.

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“We’ve been dancing, we’re going HAM, we’re having just the greatest time. Then the bill comes and everyone’s just sick because we’re looking at this thing and tip and tax, all this stuff starts to stack on. We’re like, ‘Man, we didn’t account for this, we’re about to get taken to the cleaners,’” recalls former pro wrestler Mojo Rawley, a longtime member of Gronk’s entourage. “We finally come up with this plan to break up the tab and split the bill and the waitress tells us, ‘Oh, your tab has been paid.’ We’re like, ‘What do you mean?’ They’re like, ‘That gentleman in the corner table over there paid your tab. He thought you guys were pretty funny.’”

The “gentleman,” of course, was Chamberlain, who became fast friends with Mojo and, by association, the Gronk clan, after their chance night club encounter. Fast forward to Gronk’s house in Tampa, where a master class in debauchery would soon take place.

“Rob had just had surgery, so he was playing bartender,” said Chamberlain, setting the scene. “They wanted to have a water balloon fight and I was like, ‘That’s probably not a good idea.’ And of course, Rob wanted to be on the other side and, at one point, I picked up a jar of nuts and grabbed an almond, and it stuck in Rob’s neck. I threw it across the pool and the almond was like literally in his neck.”

Things only got nuttier—no pun intended—from there, with Chamberlain and buddy B.J. Upton, then of the Tampa Bay Rays, adding to the mayhem by emptying backpacks full of singles, with thousands upon thousands of dollars sinking to the bottom of the pool. “By the end of it, the pool was not blue anymore. It was green and other colors because there were just ones on the bottom of the pool,” said Chamberlain. “I think I brought at least $10,000. And I think B.J. brought $10,000 as well.”

Other highlights included a guest jumping off the roof into the pool and Rob’s brother Chris getting pelted by a full beer shot from a water balloon launcher. This kind of anarchy wasn’t unusual for the Gronk house, which played host to dozens of similarly chaotic affairs over the years.

“We had an alcohol sponsorship at the house. Three Olives [vodka] would drop off 50 bottles every two weeks. And we’d put them on the kitchen island and organize them like a pyramid,” said Mojo, remembering the rough-and-tumble days of the esteemed Gronk party mansion. “There was a boat and four jet skis out back too.”

“I literally got in my Rolls Royce, soaking wet with two women I had no idea who they were,” remembers Chamberlain. “It was definitely an epic day.”

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