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Jason Giambi’s career quietly winds down

Sep 22, 2012, 11:10 AM EDT

Jason Giambi (23)

Good story at SI by Chris Ballard about a dude who I bet most casual fans would guess quit playing a couple of years ago.  Jason Giambi: former MVP, former $23 million a year player, former steroids poster boy.

For the past three years he’s been a pinch hitter in Colorado. He had a nice blip of a season in 2011, but it’s winding down now. And Giambi, who has long been on-the-record contrite about his and the game’s notorious steroids years, is waxing reflective:

And yet here he is. Now, at 41, Giambi has an 11-month-old daughter named London Shay. When I asked what he’d like people to say about her father when she’s 10 years old, he stopped for a moment. “Wow … I would love for them to say, ‘One time in his career, he made a mistake but he worked really hard and got his honor back and he was honest,'” Giambi said. “I think that’s the most important [thing]. I’ve been on top of the world in this game, I’ve won the most valuable player, and I’ve been in the gutter in this game. But I’m still here.”

Not many former superstars continue on as role players after their elite skills have faded into average ones. Giambi says it’s about simply loving the game. Part of me wonders if there isn’t some aspect of penance to it, even if it’s a subconscious thing. Like Giambi feels as though he owes the game yeoman’s work after his tainted time at the top.

Either way, Giambi leaving the game, as it seems he’s poised to, sort of feels like the end of an era.

  1. personalspaceinvader - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    When I was first learning about baseball, I asked one of my more knowledgeable friends about Jason Giambi. I knew he’d done steroids but people didn’t seem to talk about him in the same way as they did Barry Bonds. He explained to me, “People are willing to forgive Giambi because he’s a genuinely nice guy.”

    Now obviously that’s oversimplifying it a bit but he had a good point. If guys like Bonds were more honest and cooperative with the media, their names wouldn’t be mentioned with the same disdain.

    • vallewho - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:13 PM

      I like Jason and he certainly was never-no-where-near the baseball player that Barry Bonds was. As far as the media, yeah their fate in the public arena has been largely determined by the coverage. Just as they hijack things such as HOF voting, etc.

    • Glenn - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      He is, by all accounts, a very nice guy. Even though he looks like steroids and HGH come to life, it was easy to forgive him and move on. Bonds and Clemens, not so much.

  2. jxegh - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    What a nice quote from Giambi. Wouldn’t it be nice if the other 90% of players (Clemens) who used PED’s (Clemens) just came out and said something similar. Fans would have much more respect and be more forgiving.

  3. garryfish - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Goodbye Giambino!!

  4. brokea$$lovesmesomeme - Sep 22, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Correct if I’m wrong but he never actually admitted to it but he didn’t deny it.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      He admitted he did something “wrong”, but never specifically said he took PEDs. Most likely this was due to being under investigation by the grand jury, but someone can correct me if I’m wrong.

    • raysfan1 - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:15 PM

      Does he really have to name the drug? Why? He’s been very clear with what he meant in his multiple apologies.

  5. mazblast - Sep 22, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    But he never did it as a YANKEE (cough cough), so the national media will portray him in a good light. It is Known Fact that players may use before becoming a YANKEE and/or after, but never while a YANKEE.

    I wish him a happy, healthy retirement. Steroids aside, he seems like a nice guy.

    • vallewho - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:24 PM

      I don’t think “that” has anything to do with the coverage that he received. If anything, it intensified the coverage as he was in the biggest media market when it came out. As far as the Yankees, well they got fleeced. No other way to say it.

  6. sisqsage - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    BROKEA…..: As Paul “PED” Lo Duca once said, C’mon bro…

  7. fuddpucker - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Jason Giambi, thanks for showing up at that one spring training where you looked like you lost 30-50 pounds and then you lied about how you lost all that weight.

    I just wanted you to know how much I remember your deceit when you were winning all those all-star awards and votes. Preciate it’, Jason.

  8. approvenothing - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    I went up to Colorado last year and met Jason. Guys is polite, and seems to be contempt with what he is doing in colorado. Sort of felt like he was doing it for the fans, no matter what type of fan came into the room, he could start up a conversation with them and be best pals in no time.

  9. j0esixpack - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Fans tend to forgive players that own up to their mistakes…

    Unlike Bonds, Clemens and others

    • ptfu - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:33 PM

      True dat. It worked for Pettitte too.

    • bozosforall - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      Still waiting for that lying sack David Ortiz to wn up to using…especially given that it has already been leaked that he tested positive for PEDs in 2003. Never stopped the excuse makers in Boston from forgiving him for being a cheater. You Boston fans are the biggest jokes around.

      • j0esixpack - Sep 23, 2012 at 2:31 PM

        On behalf of all New England Fans, I assure you that we will take the comments of individuals who are seriously in need of professional therapy, anger management skills, and medication under advisement.

        Have a good day.

      • bozosforall - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:34 PM

        It’s you and the rest of the crybaby NE fan base that need the therapy, loser boy. Nearly a hundred years of NY Yankee domination will do that to you all.

  10. acdc363 - Sep 22, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    I always thought Giambi looked like that huge guy that the kid in Rookie of the Year pitches to.

  11. 454ss - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    He got caught, anything after that is all B.S.

    • jxegh - Sep 22, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      So, if you robbed a bank but didn’t get caught, would you still be a bank robber?

  12. itsonlyaspeedbump - Sep 22, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    I find the narrative on PED use continually frustrating. Giambi gets to be the good guy because he apologized, even though he tainted the sacred record books. Bonds and Clemens have been vilified not so much for taking PEDs as much as for being defiant and not admitting that they did.

    No one has given any credible reason why they get so indignant when they find out Player X took PEDs. Its not for the ‘integrity of the game’ because people dont really care about the so-called integrity when it comes to football. ‘It is illegal’ you say? Well there was a time in this country when it was illegal to drink the beer you drank watching these players. Point being that not all laws hold the same weight. ‘What about the example for the kids?’ What type of example are you setting if you have two standards for people who commit the same actions?

    • vallewho - Sep 23, 2012 at 1:38 AM

      I was with you until you mentioned kids…Parents should teach their kids what’s right/wrong.

      You have the media hijacking the game on one end, and parents on the other.

      Here we have adults playing a game in front of people who buy tickets (most tickets buyers are adults right?). It’s too bad that we the adults can’t even catch a foul-ball without catching some crap from everyone and be shamed for it.

  13. willclarkgameface - Sep 22, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    For all his waxing poetic about the trials and tribulations he has endured, one thing has STILL NEVER HAPPENED: he has STILL never said he did roids. Not publicly anyway.

    F Giambi for leaving the A’s, chasing the money, doing roids, and for never TRULY admitting that he did it. It’s always, “I made a mistake…”

    We all have dude. So what. Just talk about it already.

  14. gammagammahey - Sep 22, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    I’ll feel like that era is really over when A-Rod retires.

    • lazlosother - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:22 PM

      Well that’s naive. Melky just got caught, he’s in his twenties. Players in the minors get caught every year. But once ARod is gone we can ignore it all, right?

    • vallewho - Sep 23, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      most moronic thing I have read today.

    • protius - Sep 23, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      I have a few extra clues. Would you like one?

  15. mplsjoe - Sep 22, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    The “nice guy” defense to PED use worked best for Andy Pettitte. Guy was as big a juicer as any of them. And, in contrast to the usual narrative, he lied about it repeatedly (he did a lot of “just that one time…OK and that other time too…yeah, that one also…). But because he’s a nice guy, and because once he was finally caught he apologized, he gets a total pass.

    For the record, I don’t care who used what PED when. It just bugs me that truly great players like Bonds and McGwire are vilified, not because of what they did but because of their personalities.

    • manchestermiracle - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      Except for the minor issue that they weren’t really great until they started cheating.

      • mplsjoe - Oct 18, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        Barry Bonds wasn’t great before he starting using PEDs? We must have been watching different players.

  16. manchestermiracle - Sep 23, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Though he certainly isn’t sorry enough to give back some of the enormous sums of money he “earned” while cheating. Fraud is fraud.

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