08.07.05

Lupica : Questioning The Giambino’s Comeback

Posted in Baseball at 4:35 pm by

About once every 5 years, I enjoy a column by the Daily News’ Mike Lupica’s. if he stays on Jason Giambi’s case, I might go so far as to say I enjoy Lupica’s (non-fiction) writing twice a decade.

Even Giambi has to understand that he is expecting us to take an awful lot on faith these days, starting with this: Without any medical help, without trips to the chemist, he looks exactly the same and hits exactly the same as he was when he was on the juice, when he was the kind of slugging MVP guy who could eventually command $120 million from the Yankees.

This isn’t about fair or unfair. This is the way it works in the real world. All over baseball, we see other suspects who don’t look nearly as muscular, as beefed-up, as they used to. We see ballplayers shrinking before our eyes. We don’t have positive tests on them, either. We just know what we see in their bodies and in their power numbers. And, of course, we follow the saga of Barry Bonds, who might become one of the first players in all of recorded history to take an entire year off because of his particular knee problem.

Maybe it would be different if Giambi had ever answered one question honestly about steroid use, during that period when he nearly tore a rotator cuff trying to pat himself on the back for being a standup guy for that February press conference at Yankee Stadium. But he has never admitted to anything, as a way of protecting his contract status with the Yankees. A few months ago, the Yankees couldn’t give him away. Now he is the “resurgent Giambi,” which is the way general manager Brian Cashman referred to him the other day during a phone conversation we were having.

The truth about Jason? The truth is we’re never going to have the whole truth about Jason. He has his power numbers again and we still have our questions. Everybody else has shrunk except him, and that isn’t a witch hunt, and that doesn’t diminish the work he’s done. It’s just the way things are.

We were told in February by Giambi and his agent Arn Tellem – he also has Palmeiro, and must be awfully proud of his guys – that Giambi couldn’t answer questions about drugs because of the ongoing BALCO investigation. Well, there is no ongoing BALCO investigation anymore. They have made it clear out there that no further witnesses will be called now that Martha Stewart time has been handed down to Victor Conte.

This would be a perfect time, considering Giambi’s offensive stats, for him to give us some answers. If not, he can’t get indignant because we still have our questions.

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