Mr. Jason Giambi, what a great guy right? 43 years old and he plays better than anyone I know, which makes me feel funny, but good.
Let’s be honest, we were all a little scared last season when we first heard the news that good ol’ Giambi was headed to Cleveland after his deal with becoming the COACH, not a player, of the Rockies fell through. But in all honesty I really didn’t feel that confident with the decisions of that off-season anyway…man I was wrong. With only a few swings of the bat and a great award-winning smile, he quickly became the fan favorite, and a man-crush to many…except anyone who lives in Chicago or has once admitted that they were a fan of the White Sox, and for good reason.
Funny story about Giambi. When I was in 5th grade back in 2001 (again showing my age), we had this project to teach us how to write and mail a letter. Those were the good old days…..anyways, my teacher was big into baseball, and coming from someone who is also big into baseball, this guy even beat me…and I write on a blog! I remember he had a huge deck of baseball cards sitting on his desk, and one at a time we had our names called, and when we went to the front of the room we had to pick a card, and whoever you got was the player you sent a fan letter too.
Now seriously, I was how young? So naturally I had NO idea who any of these people were, even though I was pretty into the game for a kid. They were essentially just faces of people with baseball bats and MLB logos, I had no idea what was going on. But that day when I got called to the front, it was destiny as I picked up the card from the Jason himself, from one of the years he played for the OAKLAND A’s, I think it was 1998 if I can remember correctly.
A lot of other students got rookies, which was good for them. After we wrote our letters weeks began to pass by. The other kids who wrote to rookies got stuff back within days. Mostly with another letter from the player, but some with actual autographed stuff! I loved baseball, so naturally I got envious as weeks passed by, nothing. Months passed by, nothing. YEARS passed by…still nothing. After a while I forgot I ever sent him a letter at all, a letter from a young ball player simply asking for a response.
I won’t lie to you, I got a little upset with him, though I began to realize his agent probably intercepted it and honestly he probably never even ever laid his eyes on it. However, I couldn’t help but be a little mad. When I heard he was head to my home land, it brought a little anger back. Though I put feelings aside, and waited to see what he could do, and I am glad I did.
It became apparent very quickly once he started with the team that he was something special for the Indians and that, maybe my negative feelings towards him were unjustified.
After his first pinch hit homerun, and then his SECOND pinch hit walk off against Chicago, I realized that all the hate I ever had for him was gone, and he quickly became one of my favorite people on the team. The last season was magical, and he was a huge part of that. Not only did he play amazing on the field, it was clear that he was one of the most loved guys in the clubhouse and added energy to the team that helped push us into the post season for the first time in years. He even would give PEREZ hugs after the games he blew “because he needed it.” With a personality like that, there is no way you’re not only going to win over the crowd, but become a players favorite as well.
A lot of people hate him, or don’t think that he belongs in the league because of his age and needs to hang it up. Remember though, he tried that in Colorado, it just wasn’t his time…their loss. Besides all of the personality pluses he has, he actually is an amazing DH for his age. He is one of the MOST reliable DH’s in the league besides maybe Ortiz over there in Boston. While he is always swinging for the fences, if he needs to hit…he will. He might not be the best runner in world, but if you hit it to the gap, who cares about that anyway? That’s what a pinch runner is for.
All in all, even though he never sent me that card back, I still love Giambi in Cleveland. I think he has a lot to offer in this season, however, I do agree with the minor league contract. He is getting old, and that might have just been a magical season, but I do think he needs another shot at it, and hey, if he doesn’t do well in Arizona, at least we have him as a coach!
So Giambi, even though you never returned my letter and baseball card from when I was kid, I have faith in you and boy am I glad you’re an Indian. I really only see amazing things coming from this guy, both as a player and as a coach, and maybe one day, when all the hype dies down…you can finally send me back that card.