(Update on reaction to Giambi or 'is our blog threatened with extinction?')
Why did Jason Giambi run headlong into the media buzzsaw? Does he want to get out of New York?
Last week Giambi talked to USA Today about past steroid use, form the infamous BALCO-Giambi association. MLB became alarmed at this news, which was available to anyone who read Game of Shadows over one year ago; the league threatened to investigate Giambi's new statements. Giambi also let on that he is the most 'drug-tested 'man in baseball. Why? Further, will more Yankees claim PED use to jump off that sinking ship?
Today, some of these questions became illuminated by the New York Daily News. The News too wondered why Giambi claims to be the most tested man in baseball. Some digging revealed a source who said Giambi tested positive for amphetamine. Such a positive test would trigger more frequent testing. From the NY Daily News:
Jason Giambi failed a Major League Baseball-administered amphetamines test within the last year, which has subjected him to additional drug testing, sources told the Daily News. Giambi tacitly admitted last week that he has used steroids, but he failed to mention that he has been caught using other drugs.
Will this little problem come up in talks when Giambi is sent to Commissioner Selig's office?
Because Major League Baseball's amphetamines policy keeps a first positive test secret, however, it is unlikely Giambi will be asked about it when he meets with representatives from commissioner Bud Selig's office, possibly as soon as tomorrow on the Yankees' day off.
Giambi declined comment before last night's loss to the Red Sox, saying, "I can't really talk about anything."
Giambi's agent, Arn Tellem, said in an e-mail: "For the record, I'm not commenting."
But Giambi himself hinted at the failed test - which was later confirmed by the Daily News - in his eye-opening interview with USA Today last week, when he said that he is "probably tested more than anyone else."
Under MLB policy, there are two reasons a player would be required to submit to additional testing: The first is a failed steroid test, but failed steroid tests are made public. The second is a failed amphetamines test, which would not be made public.
Considering the events delineated above, the News' Mike Lupica piles on Giambi:
What he (Giambi) really seemed to be saying in that article is that everybody in the whole sport should apologize for the things ballplayers were taking to get better and stronger in the days before baseball had an actual drug policy. But now you have to say that if somebody was still taking a banned substance and getting caught for that after a drug policy was in place is a hypocrite at best, somebody who doesn't get to lecture anybody about anything when it comes to drugs and baseball.
Maybe in Giambi's mind, even substances now against the baseball law are still baseball's fault and not the player's fault. If that is the case, it is a definition of crime and punishment when it comes to drugs in baseball in which no user is ever really at fault.
Giambi also told USA Today last week that the "stuff" he says he took didn't help him hit home runs. Maybe so, and maybe it is just one of those nutty coincidences you get in sports and life sometimes that home runs in baseball are going down the way they are.
Maybe Giambi will flatly deny this today, discuss it today after saying for two straight days that he didn't want to discuss it. Maybe the Yankees will continue, in back-channel ways, to try to get out from under the last of Giambi's $120 million contract, which has this season and next season to run.
Or maybe he will start hitting again, the way he has in the past...
For such a long time, in what became the steroid era of the sport, nobody on the players' side seemed particularly interested in the integrity of the game, just the integrity of the money coming in. Drug testing was supposed to be a great battleground and then the Players Association got backed into a corner on that one five years ago and had no choice. Now there is drug testing, for some more than others, apparently. And the battleground could become the sanctity and strength of contracts like Giambi's.
Always those contracts were supposed to be stronger than ballplayers wanted to become. Before long, we might find out if those contracts are made of the same strong stuff guys like Giambi, and his agent, and his union, always thought they were.