Friday, February 11, 2005

Coming Clean or Not

Jason Giambi apologized. . . sort of.

The public rehabilitation of the Yankee first baseman got off to a rocky start with the media because he failed to specifically mention what he was sorry about. Giambi and his handlers attributed his omission to a court order forbidding him to mention specifics. The press are all over him largely because they see Giambi’s mea culpa as less an honest attempt to seek redemption and more a consequence of being outed and thus forced to seek the public’s forgiveness. Of course if Giambi had hit 73 home runs in a season while leading the Yankees to a World Series victory, a single “sorry” would have been sufficient for many people.

Giambi strikes me as being a decent guy who isn’t particularly overburdened. Whether or not his apology was thorough enough or prompted by the best intentions, he is the only high-profile figure willing to speak publicly at all. That is more than can be said for Bonds, McGwire, Sosa et al.

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Speaking of the above sluggers, one of those dreaded instant internet polls on ESPN yesterday was revealing if utterly unscientific. Asked whom the voters considered the single season home run champ (the choices were Roger Maris, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds), 45.9 % of 99,269 voters chose Maris. The results reflect several attitudes: disgust in general with the steroids allegations surrounding three of the choices and the ongoing antipathy towards Bonds, the undisputed single-season record holder until another asterisk says differently

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Nearly every Law and Order junkie knows it is very difficult if not impossible to make a case based on hearsay. Don’t tell Jose Canseco, who is doing just that with his new book. I’m hardly in a position to assess the allegations Canseco makes, but I would hazard a guess his last desperate effort to make a buck from baseball will have one result: some of the people he names are going to have to step up and face the court of public opinion more squarely. At this juncture, their teammates and former managers and coaches are doing most of the talking.

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