Friday, December 03, 2004

Juiced Up

Something told me to watch Sportscenter on ESPN on Wednesday night/Thursday morning after I got home from working at the 'Fucks.

Here I was, expecting to watch some top-10 highlights while eating a nice late-night "sammitch", when right on my TV screen, ESPN reporters were revealing breaking news that my favorite baseball player, Jason Giambi, admitted to using steroids in the BALCO investigation.

My jaw completely dropped. I was floored. I guess for some people, his admission didn't come as a surprise, but for me, I had given Giambi the benefit of the doubt when he had repeatedly denied using steroids and actively spoke out against their use.

Ever since he was with Oakland, developing his game with Mark McGwire, I held an affinity for Giambi. He just came off as this larger than life kinda guy on the baseball field who, at the end of the game, wouldn't mind just chillin and throwing back a few beers. He has this oh-so smooth and compact swing, and was just a clutch performer when it counted (barring last season's injury-laden overall performance from him). When he came to the Yankees in 2001, I was about as happy as can be. I remember a lot of my friends who were Yankee fans were waiting to reserve judgement on him, but I had wholeheartedly threw my support behind him. And when he did bad, I supported him, and when he did awesome, I gloated. I mean, of course I loved my other Yankee people, but Giambi represented something else...he was just, THE MAN.

So with this admission, under oath, in front of a grand jury, that he injected human growth hormone and took these two substances nicknamed, "the clear and the cream," Giambi has just lost so much of his credibility and that invincibility that his persona once had. Now you got sports analysts saying that you can't count his stats in recent years and that you can expect more of last season's stats now that he isn't using steroids anymore.

However, despite the tide coming down on him, I still stand by Giambi. And this is why:

Steroids, sure, might help you sustain muscle growth, and keep you strong, but when it comes to baseball, let's face it, steroids aren't going to help you improve your swing, have clutch hits, and bat for average, all of which Giambi did. Now what about the home runs? Sure, Giambi was a home run hitting machine, but let's also be for real here, too: He was a home-run hitting powerhouse BEFORE the time period in which he admitted taking steroids.

In other words: Giambi had and still has TALENT. And you can't inject that kind of stuff into your stomach. I mean, come on, look at Jason's brother, Jeremy, who also injected that stuff. You don't see him running around with MVP stats alI of a sudden, that benchwarmer. :-) I argue that steroids don't affect the game of baseball as much as they would in track and field, or football, where muscle strength and stamina is paramount to success. Because at the end of the day, in baseball, milliseconds and being able to push just five more pounds of weight don't mean the difference between a win or a loss in the same way that it would in either of those other sports. You gotta KNOW how to hit the ball first before you can pound it out the fucking stadium.

Not that I'm condoning Giambi's actions, though. Yes, his admission is downright deplorable. Have I lost respect for him? Maybe. But, at the end of the day, I fear more for how other people are taking this and will react to his presence on the field. I guess you can say that despite this admission, I'm still waiting for Giambi to give me a reason to believe in him again. And I can only hope that the Yankees won't trade him and give him the chance to prove that to all of us; that he can still be the superstar that he was before.

After all, if the Yankees can forgive a drug addict, surely they can forgive someone who was just looking for the slight edge to improve the team...(even if they were steroids, though you must remember that they were not banned in baseball before...)...

Barry Bonds' admission, though, to using steroids? Fuck that bullshit that "he didn't know what he was taking." For that bullshit alone, I DON'T support him at all. At least Giambi was a fucking man and came out...

EDIT: Please keep in mind that Giambi's testimony was not supposed to be made public, meaning that he made his statements with a legitimate desire to help out the steroids investigation of BALCO. He didn't have a clue that the news of his testimony would come out so fast...

As for the mean to tell me that you all think that they didn't KNOW? Of course they did! They just didn't want to admit it. Now, they are forced to play a very public game of, "shit, now what?"


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