Thursday, March 09, 2006

What About The Other Juice Man?

With the book about Bonds' steroid use coming out, there's a small flurry of writers approaching Juice-on Giambi for his take on the whole matter.

What I found interesting was George King's contrast between how Giambi was forthright about his steroid use, while Bonds, of course, has been very quiet.

I thought King's piece was idiotic. Here is one particularly stupid excerpt:

When Giambi's BALCO grand-jury testimony was leaked in December 2004, Giambi handled the public relations nightmare a lot better than the irascible Bonds. Early last year Giambi held a press conference at Yankee Stadium in which he apologized to his teammates and the fans, and admitted to using steroids without actually uttering the word.

"I got an award on my mantel for it," Giambi said of being forthright. "I tried hard to turn it around."
Giambi was speaking of the Comeback Player of the Year Award he won last year, when he hit 22 homers and drove in 55 runs after the All-Star break.

Hey, if the guy was so forthright, why didn't he just come out and apologize for "steroids" openly? And I find it amazing how suddenly Giambi is so great for apologizing. A year ago, after his apology, the press's response was similar to this piece from Mike Lupica:

Jason Giambi said he told the truth in front of a grand jury when he testified in the BALCO drug case in San Francisco, he just couldn't say about what. Giambi kept saying he was sorry yesterday, his lawyers just wouldn't let him say for what.
He didn't come clean about being dirty.
So on a day when he wanted to come across as a standup guy about steroids, wanting to do that without ever mentioning the word, it was fitting that Giambi spent the whole time sitting down.

And in the spirit of his press conference last year, Giambi was very quiet yesterday. As the Newark Star-Ledger quoted Giambi:
Giambi was asked yesterday about Bonds' arrogant denials as opposed to his own decision to offer a vague apology before spring training last year.
"I just did what I needed to do and go from there," Giambi said. "I'm not going to speak about anybody else. I did the thing that was best for me.
"It's a different situation. I don't really know what's going on. Barry's a friend of mine and I really don't know what's really going on for him and stuff over there. I'm just more focused on (how for me) that's in the past and I'm going forward."

And as I discussed a few weeks ago, the suspicion still has to be there when it comes to Giambi. Especially after last year's mysterious comeback. I have never said for certain that the guy went back on the juice, HGH, or BALCO's latest designer supplement. But with Giambi's history, there is lots of reason for suspicion. Yet the press hasn't picked up on this at all.

To me, the one thing Giambi has going over Bonds is that he's not screwing with baseball immortality. Giambi may end up with 500 HR, but hey, that would just put him in the same boat as juicers like his mentor (and injecter) Mark McGwire and Palmeiro. So I could live with that. And that would probably cloud his chances for the Hall. Especially going up against "clean" players from his era, like Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey Jr., and, to be fair, A-Rod.

If anything, Giambi has been helped in a huge way with the allegations against Palmeiro and Bonds. Giambi, and Sheffield, compared to those two, are second-tier stars. They don't have those eye-popping numbers, at least not yet. And with all the outrage focused on the potential legends, Giambi and Sheff have been able to go about their work quietly, without any distraction. But when their time comes for HOF eligibility, I'm sure we're be hearing a lot about them.

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