Greg's Ramblings

random thoughts along my never-ending entrepreneurial education

why I don't cheer for Jason Giambi

I absolutely love the game of baseball. I absolutely love watching my hometown Colorado Rockies win a thrilling come from behind game while in the heart of a major late season resurgence.

I absolutely hate it when the player that delivered the clutch walk off home run in the 9th inning is a player that played a major role in putting an asterisk on my generation of baseball. I also really hate that idiot fans actually call this guy "the Giambino".

This great game has always been linked to its stats as it has always been a great way to compare the different generations. That is until my generation of egotistical performance enhanced freaks took the stage.

Cover from Sports Illustrated: July 17, 2000
I don't think SI knew how accurate of a cover this would be someday.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Alex Fraudriguez, Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Andy Pettite, Tony LaRussa (one of the biggest enablers of the era), Jason Giambi, etc., etc., etc., etc..............

I don't have any respect for anybody that cheats their way to the top in any walk of life. In my opinion these people in the above paragraph are no different than Kenneth Lay, Bernard Ebbers or Bernard Madolf. They knew that what they were doing was illegal and knew that it was unethical but they still did it. It was a decision based solely on ego and greed. These players tried to ruin a generation of baseball, my generation of baseball.

but it wasn't "against the rules of baseball"

I didn't know that rules of baseball were bigger than the rules of our great country (the use of steroids are illegal in the United States). If it wasn't illegal then why are Roger Clemens and Barry Bond on trial instead of in the Hall of Fame.

performance enhancing drugs really don't make that big of a difference

Wow the stupidest claim ever. Look at the stats. Period.

The National league leader in home runs on September 12, 2010 has 37 home runs. The National League Leader in home runs on September 12th, 2001 had 63 home runs. These guys already had amazing hand/eye coordination before they took performance enhancing drugs, that is why they got drafted. With these drugs these naturally talented players gained an additional 30 pounds of muscle and suddenly didn't wear down as the long season went on. Oh, but it doesn't make any difference.

Mark McGwire: "It wasn't the steroids that gave me the extra power, it was that I discovered how to hit with power with a shorter, more compact swing".

I had a short compact swing. I am no physicist but I am guessing that me with a short compact swing = fly ball to the second baseman. Mark McGwire pre-steroids with a short compact swing = can of corn to right field. Mark McGwire wearing a hat that is 4 sizes larger than he had his rookie year combined with a short compact swing = 70 home runs.

the hard choice is sometimes the one that won't give you instant gratification

Jason Giambi is no different than hundreds of players from my generation. He made the easy choice to cheat. It is the classic "everybody else was doing it so why shouldn't I?" defense.

He made millions of dollars because of this choice but my bet is that somewhere along the line he will really regret his decision. Bernie Madolf made a lot of money too, it isn't always about the money.

In business I will always strive to do things the right way. Would it be easier to cheat the system and make shady deals and screw over my partners? Would it be easier to just rob a bank than building a viable business? Maybe in the short term.

The real giants in business are the ones that know how to treat their employees. They know that a great deal means that both sides end up ahead. They know that doing good will ensure a lifetime of happiness and not a couple of years of fame.

By the way, baseball it isn't just a game. It is a billion dollar business filled with players that millions of kids look up to. Like it or not, kids will always mimic what these "heroes" do on and off of the field. What are we telling these kids when we cheer for people like Jason Giambi? Here is what I think that we are saying: "Go ahead, break the law, do whatever it takes to get to the top even if it is unethical."

Pot meet Mr. Kettle

I admit that I am not perfect. In fact I have done something that is completely unethical and against the law. It is a mistake that I deeply regret and one that I will work as hard as I can to prevent others from doing the same.

My biggest problem with all these cheaters in Baseball is that nobody has truly owned up to what they have done and they are doing absolutely nothing to prevent kids from making the same mistake. In my opinion that is because they really don't regret what they did. They only regret getting caught.

There have been a few half assed apologies. Giambi apologized for something, not sure what. McGwire apologized and then said the stuff didn't help him. Petitte apologized and then said he took it just for an injury. A-fraud gave us the worst scripted PR apology in history. Sammy Sosa suddenly forgot how to speak English. These guys haven't admitted to anything.

If they were truly sorry about what they did then they would really own it. They would join forces with the great work being done by the Taylor Hooton Foundation. Taylor's dad Don is a real leader in this fight and the sad thing is that all he has to do is tell his son's heartbreaking story. He could use a few of these former users to get on his team which would really help spread the word to kids about the dangers of this junk. Don wrote a blog entry the other day with a stat that absolutely floored me: "According to the Centers for Disease Control, 5.1 percent of high school males and 2.7 percent of all high school females now use steroids. The rate of steroid use among twelfth graders is more than double that for heroin and exceeds that for other drugs like PCP."  Read the entire article here

This is why I applaud congress for stepping in on this issue. This is a bigger issue than these idiot major leaguers. It is about the many high school kids that are mimicking these "heroes".

moving forward

I will continue to root on the Rockies, I love the game and my hometown team that much. I also love the fact that the game is proving once again that it is strong enough to overcome the bad people in it.

Because of these greedy players I will never be able to tell my grandchildren the story of the time that I watched the great Alex Rodriguez in his prime in Texas. I won't be able to tell the story of how magical the home run chase was in 1998 (I guess it was all magic). I won't be able to tell the story of how baseball was truly great when I grew up.

I guess I should be thankful. I will be able to tell the story of how hall of fame caliber players succumbed to greed and how a decision like that can ruin your life (see Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, etc..). I will be able to  brag about the clean, hard working players like Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez and how they helped bring the game back to its glorious past. I will be able to tell the story about how the great game of baseball can not be taken down by egotistical greedy people, despite their best efforts.

Maybe I should be more forgiving. Maybe I should be less stubborn.

I just can't and won't cheer for anybody that played a major role in the attempt to ruin this great game and the lives of millions of kids unless they really owned up to what they did. The day I start to root for Mr. Giambi is the day he stands up with Mr. Hooton and preaches to kids about his mistakes.

If they continue to act like they did no wrong, well I just can't cheer for people that are that unethical. Yep, I am pretty damn stubborn that way.