Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Last Stand of Jason Gilbert Giambi

The official line this season says Jason Giambi intends to play 100 games at first base.

It sounds a program hatched by FEMA.

In other words, let's suffer through this year, and pray the next guy has a clue.

Actually, over the last six rotten years, I’ve grown fond of the Giambino. He’s taken a lot of bullets, never once blamed the shooters. He arrived wearing a number 2+5 that stood for Mickey Mantle, his dad's favorite player. And he's never dissed teammates, or New York, or the writers, even when they were dissing him. He always looked like a lunch pail guy, even if his contract made such an image farce.

He wanted to be a great Yankee. He could have been… if he could play first base.

But we’ve seen this movie before. It doesn't end happily. In the field, Jason Giambi moves like Herman Munster. He’s never played 100 games at first for us. Look it up. Last year, he played 18. This notion that he lost weight, strengthened his "core," and is ready to flash leather would be funny, if it didn’t smack of dangerous denial. He's too old -- we're too old -- to buy into it.

Giambi always claimed he hits better when playing the field.

Trouble is, he can’t play the field, so it begins to sound like the excuse that, frankly, a stand-up guy is not supposed to give. You take the bullet instead.

And so we march into his twilight year. When his contract ends, it isn’t going to be Lou Gehrig dying of an unknown disease. If Gumby doesn't hit, there will be a motorcade with marching bands taking him to the airport. In that respect, it’s good to see Giambi get his final chance to make a difference.

Let him play first. Let him fail. We know he will. But give him one last chance to redeem his Yankee soul.

We once gave Joe Torre that chance.

The Giants once gave Tom Coughlin that chance.

Last winter, we cut our lifeline at first base when we let Menky and Andy Philips walk. Frankly, I’ve never understood the logic – letting two glove men go, then signing National League rejects. Oh, well. What's done is done. Now, if Giambi can’t play first, he splits DH time with Hideki Matsui or becomes a pinch-hitter on a team that doesn’t pinch hit.

This is his last stand, his final shot at leaving with a ring, a good name and maybe even a decent contract with another team. He better hit. He better field. This is it.

As a Yankee, he’s taken every bullet. This one’s aimed directly at his heart.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. El,

Your Gumball rhapsody sounds eloquent.

It reminds one of Thomas Paine expressing his hopes and fears for the structure of our founding constitution.

Which, as we know, has been trashed by the Republicans ( aka Red sox players, fans and their palm-eating friends ).

The reality , of course, is that we are bound for war and destruction.

With Giambi , or any of the other pretenders at first, we shall not make the playoffs.

I look with yearning for the foggy night hence, when a rider gallops through our towns to advise that ,, " A first baseman is coming ! A first baseman is coming!!"

Until then, we shall soldier on. And suffer.

Wailin' Suzyn said...

Ben Revere is a 5-9, 175-pounder in the Minnesota Twins minor leagues. Last year, his first as a pro, he had no home runs, but did leg out 10 triples.

Nate said...

Hopefully Giambi can rebound and get type A status so we get another first round pick.

Wailin' Suzyn said...

I agree, nate.

Care to quote Supergrass, Prince?