Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

December 2, 2004

The Giambino’s Faustian Bargain
by Sean McNally

In the coming weeks, days and months, the general sports media is going to savage Jason Giambi until he is dead.

Then they're going to do it again. And again. And again.

Outside the Lines. The Sports Reporters. Mike and the Mad Dog. SportsCenter. PTI. Around the Horn. Sports Illustrated. The New York Post . . . the list goes on and on and on. And all of them are going to line up to take their shots at the Yankee first baseman.

There's a scene in an old episode of The West Wing, where C.J. Cregg, the fictional press secretary compares the White House staff to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid staring over the edge of a cliff worrying that they shouldn’t jump in the rapids below because they might drown.

"The fall's gonna kill you."

Well, I don't know if the fall's going to kill Jason Giambi, but the fall is likely going to be hard, fast and painful - and there’s no pill or shot to make it better.

Giambi told a grand jury, under promise of legal immunity and threat of perjury, that he knowingly ingested steroids early throughout his baseball career and used human growth hormone in 2003, providing the Rick Reillys, Jay Marriottis and Skip Baylesses of the world with their smoking gun.

HA! We caught the cheater! And now for the rest of his career, Giambi (and the others who will be named) will be crucified on crosses of syringes, vials and cream.

It's the price of admission.

At some point in his career, a young third baseman named Jason saw the big dollars and the fast cars and the hot lifestyle and made a deal with the devil, and now the devil's getting his due. Is it conclusive that the steroids made Giambi the slugging first sacker so coveted in the 2002 off season? No, but we can say that they probably didn't hurt. A lifetime of public derision and scorn was not a clause included in his seven-year, $120 million contract, but its part of that other deal he made.

In his story, Faust sold his soul to the devil for knowledge and power…. Now Giambi may have gotten power out of his deal, but it came with the knowledge that one day he could be found out.

I can't say with certainty if Giambi's miserable 2004 was the result of steroid use, and you know what? Neither can anyone else. We can paint a picture, we can connect vague and perhaps coincidental dots, but we cannot yet say that correlation equals causation.

It's entirely possible that Giambi comes out and hits like a house of fire next season. 35 homers. 130 RBIs. An over-.400 OBP… I hope he does. But it's equally possible that he stumbles again, and the boo birds and the hecklers and the writers will circle over him and pick at him all season.

The devil is coming to collect on Jason Giambi, and regardless of what the production is on the field, this albatross will hang 'round his neck forever - it will be included in feature stories, columns and his obituary, much the way that its attached to Ken Caminitti.

"Jason Giambi, admitted steroid user and 2000 MVP winner. . . "

It’s a price that I’m sure Giambi never figured he’d have to pay.