Thursday, December 02, 2004

Giambi's domino effect

Gasp! You mean.... YOU LIED TO US??? Say it ain't so, Giambino, say it ain't so!

...Well, it's so. And anyone who thinks it isn't needs to have his head examined. Jason Giambi took steroids. So did his talent-deprived brother. It says so in black and white in a transcript of a grand jury hearing obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle and reported today.

The findings directly contradict several separate public denials by Giambi that he took performance-enhancing drugs. They also serve as an affirmation of those who have long suspected (and accused) baseball's top sluggers of cheating in an attempt to gain a competitive edge.

If the house of cards was quivering before, it's collapsing now. Giambi will find that out soon enough, as the crush of these revelations bears down on him with devastating force. An MVP career will be exposed and assassinated in the court of public opinion -- and after Giambi's lies to fans and reporters, who could blame them?

More upheaval will follow. Speculation against Barry Bonds, Gary Sheffield, and others implicated in the BALCO case will intensify. Against all logic, more denials will be issued... Then another grand jury transcript will surface, and another career will be destroyed.

As betrayed as fans are likely to feel over Giambi's admissions, the anger is tempered by the warning signs that hinted he was crooked long before today's news. We laughed knowingly when the Giambino showed up to spring training last year about a refrigerator lighter, then claimed to have lost only "four pounds" due to a "new workout regimen." We saw it coming as the BALCO probe grew deeper and when Sheffield blabbed to Sports Illustrated a day before the ALDS that he had used something called "the cream," a supposedly undetectable performance-enchancer. We're angry today, but in reality, we've been preparing for it for months.

So perhaps what's most striking about this whole case is how sad this all is. It's sad and dispicable that Giambi lied to the fans, the fans who buy the tickets and the jerseys and the t-shirts that pay the $17-million salary per year he has earned by striking out and sitting on the bench the last two years. It's sad the damage this will do to Baseball, which cannot be completely absolved due to its laughable drug-testing policy. It's sad that Giambi and his cohorts actually believed they could get away with the charade. And it's sad the damage Giambi and his brother did to themselves. That Giambino and mini-G were were willing to entrust their lives and their multi-million-dollar careers to a group of men who cared for little else than the $10,000 they were paid for grab bags of drugs is the saddest and most discomforting aspect of this whole case.

Among the drugs the Giambis admitted to taking is Clomid, a female fertility drug which can exacerbate tumors on the pituitary gland. They also tested positive for Deca Durabolin, a steroid which causes shrinking of testes and has been linked to prostate cancer. They may also have taken Depo-Testosterone, which causes an enlarging of the breasts and baldness in men.

As your stomach turns, think about this: The Giambis also admitted to following a calendar by which they took three different pills (idenitfied by color: "white," "yellow" and "orange") about which they knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE. Jeremy's explanation for it all? "I didn't think the guy would send me something that was, you know, Drano or something, you know, I mean, I hope he wouldn't."


It's times like these I'm glad I'm not a professional baseball columnist, charged with actually trying to make sense of all this witlessness. All I can say is that it ain't pretty, and it's only going to get worse. Who will be the next to fall? It's only a matter of time before we find out.

E-mail Mike Casey at