The first time I met Jason Giambi some years ago in the New York Yankees clubhouse, there was almost a naïve and childlike quality to him. I thought: New York is going to destroy this guy.
There was a desire to please, an emotional softness ... qualities that starkly contradicted his muscled-up concrete frame. Many times good guys do not last in New York; the media is too nasty, the pressure to perform far too weighty.
|Say what you want, Jason Giambi showed guts with his public apology. (US Presswire)|
Giambi is the first steroid user in baseball to publicly apologize and ask for forgiveness. It takes guts to admit you were wrong before millions of people and then suggest your sport owes its fans an apology.
How unique were Giambi's words?
While there have been likely hundreds, if not thousands, of steroid users and blood-doping amateur alchemists polluting baseball's major and minor leagues over the past two decades with their DNA altering schemes, none have simultaneously had the guts to publicly admit their use, apologize for it and ask their sport to do the same.
Barry Bonds will probably go to his grave denying his alleged steroid use; Mark McGwire has all but disappeared from public view, proving to be perhaps the biggest coward of them all; Sammy Sosa goes before Congress and pretends he cannot speak English.
A number of probable FOTN -- Friends of the Needle -- have slithered away from responsibility and public penance.
As craniums bulged, shoulders spread and records fell, no one has ever said, "I'm sorry." Sorry for fooling and deceiving each of you fans. Not the commissioner, not any union fool, not any general manager who signed a bulked-up turd knowing their hat size had grown tenfold.
No one except Giambi.
We should all be thanking Giambi. Finally, someone is willing to leap baseball's thin blue line and take responsibility for the steroid drudgery instead of hiding behind huckster lawyers, bullying unions or promised anonymity.
Instead of congratulations, he is receiving the blue plate special baseball steroid investigation of the week following his honest and needed comments in USA Today. Major League Baseball will likely launch a full-scale witch hunt and the Yankees, according to the New York Daily News, are currently searching for ways to make Giambi's seven-year, $120 million contract vanish.
The steroid scandal has been a near global criminal enterprise but there have been few current or former users with credibility willing to speak about the crisis.