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.