I come to bury Jason Giambi, not to praise him ... though I'm starting to feel like I'm in the minority there.
Giambi has been in the news lately for his involvement in the BALCO scandal involving steroid use in baseball. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that he testified before a grand jury that he had indeed used steroids.
The slugger has never officially confirmed nor denied these reports, but I think it's easy to figure it out. Earlier this month he held a press conference where he apologized to everyone involved-without confirming the reports or even using the word 'steroids.'
Then, just a few days ago, Giambi showed up at spring training in Florida.
Did he take the field to a chorus of boo's? No. Instead, he was met with cheers and outstretched bats and pens for autographs.
It sounds clich??, but what has America's pastime become? Moreover, what has the world come to?
We spent more time on Randy Moss pretending to moon a crowd than the fact that Giambi tainted the game of baseball.
Since when does a private admittance and a public apology get you off the hook for being part of a scandal that could severely harm the game of baseball for years to come?
If Giambi had committed murder, admitted it to the police (but not publicly), then apologized for it, would that be different? Or would he still be allowed to wear pinstripes and be hounded by autograph mongers?
You probably have your opinion about Barry Bonds and whether or not he used steroids, but we have the facts on Giambi. Yet Bonds gets more discussion, as he did on Tuesday, when he asked the press why they are so stuck on writing about the same story.
Maybe it's because he hits more home runs than Giambi. Maybe it's because he's black (as Bonds suggested Tuesday). Maybe it's because he is less friendly with the media than Giambi. For whatever the reason, Giambi's story came and went in a matter of minutes while Bonds' stuck around with everyone guessing.
I guess it's the apology-and the type of apology-that matters most. Giambi apologized nicely to the media and fans seem to be forgetting he ever used steroids. When Pete Rose admitted and apologized for betting on baseball, it was at the same time he was releasing his book, so obviously he could not be forgiven, or allowed to be put in the Hall of Fame.
But I'll leave that for another column on another day.
The point is, something is seriously messed up with baseball on many different levels. The media continues to scour baseball for players using steroids and chastise those who do, the league continues to try to implement and enforce a tougher steroid policy, but the fans don't care either way.
When it is revealed that players have used steroids, they should be run out of the game by the league, the media and the fans.
I can only hope that once the BALCO investigation is complete, all the parties involved will go on trial. For the sake of the game of baseball, every player that has used steroids must be banned from the league-if not officially by the league, at least booted from their glory by the fans.
I recognize that at least Major League Baseball is taking steps in the right direction on the issue, but a trial and the idea of the \steroid era"" should bring enough shame that the league will have to implement more severe measures.
Until any of these long-term implications surface, there are certain measures that baseball fans can take. First and foremost, fans who continue to support known steroid users are not fans at all. They are only adding to the demise of baseball. Quit cheering for them, quit asking for their autographs, run them out of town.
I imagine Ted Williams's cryogenically frozen head is rolling over in its chamber with the current state of baseball. For his sake, and for the sake of ""America's pastime,"" if the league cannot yet do it, fans, you must do it: Come down hard on the players using banned substances.
Eric is a junior planning to major in history. Send him your thoughts on Jason Giambi and steroids to firstname.lastname@example.org.