Weirdly, it was written by legendary composer Franz Liszt. I'm sorry -- CNNSI columnist Franz Lidz
. (Take that
, critics of our sense of humor!!!!!!!)
It's called "My Sportsman Choice: Jason Giambi." I got tingly and excited just reading that much.In 2005, no sports figure was more vilified than Jason Giambi.
Yeah. That's because he cheated and lied and we only found out he had cheated and lied because someone leaked some testimony that he gave when he was being honest and then he apologized for something but wouldn't say what he was apologizing for and he generally kind of besmirched the game of baseball. Please continue.Because Giambi failed to meet his exacting standard of moral rectitude, a wag at the New York Post barked: "He has disgraced the Yankee pinstripes and made a mockery of everything that is wonderful and good and pure about the game of baseball." To restore the Pride of the Yankees, a Post columnist even suggested that the Yanks embroider a scarlet "S" for steroids on the back of his jersey.
Okay, that's a little much. But quoting the Post
and then complaining about it? What's the point? It's the Post.To his credit, Giambi never engaged his critics. He neither pointed fingers (Rafael Palmiero, anyone?) nor attempted to downplay the enormity of his actions. At a preseason press conference, he apologized to the public and said he had told the truth to the grand jury. Of all the players called to testify, he may have been the only one who was entirely honest and forthcoming.
I have a problem with this. First of all, he never "engaged his critics" in part because had he admitted publicly that he used steroids, the Yankees could theoretically have voided the rest of the like $300 million they owed him. So he didn't. He had a lawyer advise him, and then he just said "I'm sorry." Now, it was good that he did that, but let's not get carried away. He did not exactly "come clean." He did not apologize and eat crow the way everyone seems to think he did. He never said, in public, once, ever, "I'm sorry I used steroids." He had his cake and ate it too. Had he risked having his contract voided -- had he just said, screw it, I made a mistake and I'm coming clean and damn the torpedoes -- we could celebrate him as a genuinely honest and forthcoming guy. But that is simply not what he did.The most remarkable thing about Giambi was the way he excelled under withering pressure. In 2004, under treatment for a pituitary tumor--
-- and after not taking steroids anymore, presumably -- -- he had the worst season of his career. After an horrendous start in '05, he reinvented himself in July by hitting a major league-best 14 home runs. Giambi wound up with 32 homers and 87 RBIs, and led the American League with a .440 on-base percentage. Then he hit .421 in the ALCS.
His comeback did not silence his detractors in the sporting press, for whom forgiveness has no place. They're more interested in drawing blood than allowing a fallen athlete the possibility of a second chance. But aren't second chances what make sports so inspiring in the first place?
Sure. By all means, give the guy a second chance. But Sportsman of the Year
Labels: franz lidz, jason giambi, steroids, yankees