Not Cheating Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

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(Jason Giambi ponders what, exactly, he’s sorry for)

Wait, so, I’m confused. Are we supposed to feel bad for Jason Giambi now? We’re supposed to pity him? We’re supposed to embrace him with open arms, give him a pat on the back and offer a dismissive wave to all the controversy, largely of Giambi’s own making? Of course, by “we” I mean, “anyone not a Red Sox fan” since it seems unlikely that short of saving Johnny Damon’s adorable twins from a burning skyscraper, Giambi can’t do much to get himself in the good graces of Sox fans. But if the recent run of articles dealing with his openness towards the Yankee organization and his friendliness with the fans in spring training are any indication, someone wants us to change our opinion on the whole Giambi thing. Not happening.

I don’t care if Giambi is a stand-up guy, helps old ladies put their groceries in their cars, doesn’t cross against the light and always rewinds his videotapes. He’s still a cheater. He’s mistreated the game I love and which I am not, I hasten to add, getting paid millions of dollars to play, and he’s done it a disservice.

He may well be great friends with Johnny Damon, his former Oakland A teammate. Gordon Edes quotes Giambi in today’s Globe article: “Johnny’s been great,” Giambi said. “I’ve been lucky to have played with some pretty incredible people. Tim Hudson, [Mark] Mulder, [Barry] Zito, Chavey [Eric Chavez], Johnny, the guys in this clubhouse — they know the tough situation I’ve been in, and they’ve been pretty incredible.” But from what I’ve seen, Johnny Damon would be friends with a cord of wood. And despite his apparent “support” of Giambi, Damon has been rather outspoken on the issue of steroids, referencing Lyle Alzada and condemning cheaters.

We all remember Giambi’s press conference a few weeks back wherein he apologized for…stuff. That’s pretty much the gist of it.

Reporter: Why did you call this press conference, Jason?

Giambi: I wanted to apologize, you know, say I’m sorry.

Reporter: What are you apologizing for?

Giambi: Um, I’m sorry for some, uh, stuff…that I did…that was bad. Bad stuff.

Reporter: Are you talking about steroids?

Giambi: I, uh, can’t say.

Reporter: Who are you apologizing to?

Giambi: The Yankees, and the fans, and, uh, my teammates, I guess.

Reporter: What do you feel you owe them an apology?

Giambi: Look, I’m just very sorry, okay? I’m sorry for things that may have happened in the past or that might happen in the future and, uh, that’s really all I can say. So, yeah, I’m sorry, uh, forever. Infinity.

So Giambi’s sorry, for something. Most people have gleaned that he intended that press conference as an apology for the media circus that followed his grand jury testimony in the BALCO case or his ineffective season where he was rendered the world’s most expensive paperweight. That’s all well and good but both things? Kinda his fault.

“I feel good. I feel great. I’m working my butt off down here, which is all I can do. [Coach] Don [Mattingly] has been great; Joe, too.

“I was miserable last season. I was sick about it. But the thing I can live with is I gave everything I could to get back out there.” (Edes)

That’s nice, Jason but how does it feel that the Red Sox fans are taunting you? There were boos, chants of “ster-oids” and “Bal-co,” and one fan rushing down to the box-seat railing with a sign that read, “Got Milk,” but had “Milk” crossed out, with “Juice” its substitute.

“I’m not going to hear anything that I haven’t heard before, or haven’t said myself,” Giambi had said the day before.

Poor guy, he’s been hard enough on himself, do we really need to pick on him? Yes, yes we do. I’m sorry if he’s “sensitive,” I’m sorry if he’s been beating himself up over this, I’m sorry if we should be more understanding but guess what? All of this? IS HIS FAULT! Giambi keeps talking about the love he’s receiving from the fans. He better enjoy it because unless he returns to form this year – and who knows what a non-steroid enhanced “form” of Giambi’s looks like anyway – he’ll start hearing it in all the parks, not just Fenway. Because the fans don’t care if your feelings have been hurt. The fans didn’t inject a syringe full of horse hormones into your ass. The fans didn’t douse you with “the cream.” The fans didn’t miss nearly an entire season with “undisclosed” injuries or problems. The fans didn’t cheat.

It’s time for Giambi to face the music. This “woe is me” attitude is going to wear very thin, very soon. And not just in Boston. New York fans will turn on him soon enough, especially now that they have Tino Martinez back in the fold and vying for his old position. Giambi could become disposable. He needs to put on his big boy pants, stop giving sad eyes to the camera and grab a bat. And if he can’t hack it and he finds himself on the scrap heap like so many used up Yankees before him, he needs to realize that in the end, he has no one but himself to blame.

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