Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Obligatory Jason Giambi Post

"The A's will go ahead with their Jason Giambi Bobblehead Night on Aug. 21, as planned, because of commitments to sponsors. The giveaway is now being termed a "collectible item" after Giambi's release Friday." - San Francisco Chronicle (August 8)

I've blogged about Jason Giambi several times since the A's brought him back in January. In summary: I liked the signing at the time while conceding its inherent transparency. I predicted the A's would win 75 games in 2009 and if Giambi could bring a one-tenth of 2001 with him, Oakland would at least be fun to watch on offense.

There are three ways to tell when a once-great player has lost it: (1) watch him play, (2) look at his stats and (3) listen to the amount of excuses generated by said once-great player and his shield of sycophants.

During Spring Training, Giambi hit .157/.328/.216 but, manager Bob Geren insisted it wasn't cause for concern as Giambi was just "…working on a few things with his swing."

In April, Giambi slugged just .303, but that was explained away with all the time he spent in the early going playing first base and running the bases.

In May, Giambi showed signs of life by hitting his 400th career home run and posting an OPS of .808. During A's broadcasts, fans were told that Giambi's frequent flyballs that died on the warning track were a sign that he was coming around.

In June, Giambi batted .152, but insisted he'd get going again once the weather warmed up.

Speaking strictly in measurable terms, Jason Giambi was brought back to lift the offense and bring fans to the ballpark. The A's are next-to-last in baseball – including the pitchers-get-to-hit, everyone-gets-a-trophy-for-trying National League – in slugging percentage and dead last in attendance.

But, I don't blame Giambi for this disastrous season.

I've mentioned before that Giambi was part of the 1999-2001 A's teams that dragged me back to baseball after the 1994 strike and watching those 1993-1998 A's teams nearly bludgeoned the love of the game right out of me.

A little "sports fan denial" can be a good thing, sometimes. I know I'll have no problem forgetting 2009 and turning back the calendar to 2000, when the deafening "MVP!" chants from a packed Oakland Coliseum came through loud and clear on my picture-tube standard-definition dinosaur television.

Peace out, G.


SHough610 said...

I remember I didn't hate the Yankees until they signed Giambi. I always disliked them, but it just seemed unfair that they could throw more money than anyone else to get people.

I also lost some respect for Giambi; I think if he'd stayed in Oakland they would have had a chance to win a World Series. A better chance than the Yankees even. Plus he'd have been able to start a party rather than join it in New York.

That Bootleg Guy said...

Your last line is the one that hits home with me. That 2000-01 pair of A's teams were something special and Giambi's departure killed it too soon.

To this day, Giambi contends he'd agreed to an extension with the A's before ownership pulled it off the table, but I've never bought it. He always wanted to be a Yankee and it's too bad he didn't realize how great he had it in Oakland.

SHough610 said...

I had never heard Giambi claim that, but I agree that he's full of shit.

I don't get the logic. I know he'd be making a lot more money with the Yankees but wouldn't every player rather win a ring and be a hero to a town than make ten million dollars more?