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August 15, 2004

Leave Jason Alone
by SG

The New York media has gotten a well-deserved reputation as low-life scumbags, but their treatment of Jason Giambi has shocked even me. I had to write something about this, because frankly, these people are showing themselves to be the worst kind of low-life trash, the way they've been blasting Giambi recently.

Let's start with Jon Heyman.

With the limited information Giambi and the Yankees have provided, it's impossible to know whether the cause of his ailment or ailments is related to steroids or to the late hours he keeps (he denies it's steroids, though he's denied in the past that he's ever taken steroids or that steroids are even a problem in baseball).

It could just be rotten luck to have caught a bug or gotten a benign tumor, or whatever. But if he's aging too fast, it's easy to think that's related to his active off-field routine. A source said Giambi stayed out with Ricky Williams during the World Series in Miami last year. That should gall teammates, given that Giambi sat out Game 5 with knee pain.

Would Heyman's medical degree allow him to know whether or not Giambi's tumor was caused by steroid use? I don't know whether or not Giambi has taken steroids, and there is only circumstancial evidence. I can't see how staying out late before a night game would affect Giambi's play on the field, but I'm sure that since Giambi was sitting around smoking weed with Ricky Williams, that is why he couldn't play in Game 5. Never mind the chronic knee injury he played with last year.

More brilliance from the bitter dwarf, Mike Lupica

When the Yankees think all that is wrong with Jason Giambi is an intestinal parasite, they rush to give us the news.

When it is discovered that he has a benign tumor, they rush to give us the news.

Between the parasite news and the tumor news, we get all these updates about all the tests he has taken, and all the illnesses that have been ruled out.

Now we are told that we are being too nosy, refusing to respect Giambi's privacy, by wanting to know what kind of tumor it is and where it is.

Give me a break.

I hear all these solemn pronouncements from Yankee people that it's none of our business.

Except for this: All the other medical bulletins did seem to be our business.

How does that work?

Don't hold a public press conference to tell us to respect your privacy, that's not how it works.

Not around here, anyway.

I'm sure the Yankees could've placed Giambi on the disabled list without giving a reason, MLB wouldn't have an issue with that, right Mike? Seriously, what business is it of yours to know where the tumor is? Is it only so you can further try to link Giambi with steroid use? I see no other reason that the location is such a big deal.

Lastly, and probably worst of all, Lawrence Rocca weighs in with his insightful, intelligent, and factual opinion.

Now that Giambi is headed for a full recovery from his undisclosed illness -- truly good news for a nice guy -- the time has come to make the harsh admission that the Yankees would be better off without him, for the rest of this season and his spectacularly bloated contract.

Yes, because the first two years of his contract he was such a disappointment, being one of the top hitters in the league, and we all know that he won't do well over the remainder of his contract. Did Rocca use PECOTA to project Giambi's future performance, or has he consulted a psychic?

Recuperate in Tampa the next three months, Jason, then get back to playing in another uniform, in another city. Oh, and for your own sake, make it west of the Mississippi.

Because Giambi has trade value, right Lawrence? So the contract is the problem, but trading him away and eating most of his contract would solve the financial burden?

The Giambi-Yankees marriage, which started with so much promise, has been an overall disaster. Too much money, too many soap operas and way too little production. Some players just aren't cut out for life with the Yankees and Giambi is one of them. He is no Ed Whitson or Kenny Rogers, but he is no Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera, either.

Yes, because someone who puts up a WARP3(Third Order Wins above Replacement) of 10.7 and 8.1 in his first two season on the team is clearly giving "way too little production".

The Moneyball guys can argue all they want about statistics, but Olerud has great intangible values, including his no-maintenance professionalism and the confidence he gives his pitchers and fellow infielders.

Is that why Seattle was doing so well with Olerud there?

Olerud, who has stroked the ball since joining the club, also helps balance the Yankees lineup, making it less of a homer-reliant group and allowing Hideki Matsui, a better contact and situational hitter than Giambi, to move up in the order, where he has become a force.

Was Matsui not doing well prior to Olerud joining the team? Matsui was hitting .293/.385/.503 before Olerud was acquired.

The Yankees are 26-15 in the games Giambi has missed, a .634 winning percentage and proof they can thrive without him.

Or proof that they still have 175 million dollars worth of All Star players who are doing the job.

No team would take Giambi and all the money still owed him, but the Yankees would surely chip in some cash and he could agree to restructure his contract, by lopping off years or deferring huge portions of money, regardless of what the Players' Association says. After all, a player has a right to be happy, and there's not a polygraph test Giambi wouldn't send into spastic scribbles by saying he loves life as a Yankee.

Ok, so although Giambi is a union member, he doesn't have to abide by their rules. Lawrence Rocca, labor lawyer.

The feeling is mutual. While Giambi is personally liked by Joe Torre and most members of the team, he is regarded as soft by many in uniform, who won't ever forget that he begged out of Game 5 of last year's World Series.

Soft by who in uniform then, Sojo? Randolph?

Giambi's insistence on having his personal trainer, Bob Alejo, and father, John, around so much before the club finally put a stop to it this year has worn on his teammates to no end. General manager Brian Cashman, who has the patience to deal with George Steinbrenner, was spewing exasperation earlier this season when he called the Alejo issue a "never-ending saga."

What kind of scumbag would want his father around with him. What kind of athlete who wants to be in shape for baseball would want a trainer that has helped him be an MVP caliber player around? At least David Wells didn't have a personal trainer right? But he begged out of a World Series game too.

There were a few sunny weeks his first spring training, and a few great months that 2002 season, but once the booing started on Opening Day last season and the media zeroed in on his slumping, Giambi began a full withdrawal, from the press and his natural personality. It got so bad last year, he was reciting rehearsed answers, like his "zero to hero" line in last year's Division Series, to questions that weren't even asked.

Why would someone who has been blasted by the press for no discernible reason withdraw from them? I don't get it.

Giambi might never have signed with the Yankees if it weren't for his father's strong influence and lifelong love of the Yankees, so you have to wonder how much this veil of secrecy about his current physical condition comes on instructions from John Giambi, who made some sanctimonious statements about media and fan speculation in an interview in yesterday's Daily News.

Yes, because the media and fan speculation hasn't been cruel or misinformed.

Well, when a millionaire athlete volunteers to the press that he is being tested for cancer, his personal trainer says he is being tested for a potentially fatal parasite and then that player grows as tight-lipped regarding his final diagnosis as he has been regarding his testimony to a grand jury investigating an alleged steroid distribution ring, people are going to wonder what's being hidden.

While that is "people's" right, it does not supercede Giambi's right to privacy.

If Giambi wants to end the speculation and squash the rumors, disclosing the full truth is a good start. An even better move, for all parties, would be a divorce between Giambi and the Yankees.

Sure, because there's no way this would lead to "sources' claiming that there is a link to steroid use for those types of tumors, and it would also change the fact that people think his contract is an albatross.

I hope Jason Giambi isn't going anywhere, and I hope he can put his health problems behind him and be productive for the remainder of his contract. While some decline should be expected, what has happened to him this year is not something that should have been expected, and is, in my opinion, not indicative of how he will perform going forward. As a Yankee fan, I want Jason Giambi to lead this team to the World Series, not just for the thrill of victory, but to make these butchers and vermin in the press eat the crow that they so richly deserve.

Get well Jason.