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Methuselah Regrets Youthful Folly

get_image-1The crux of A-Rod’s attitude about having taken banned substances (his term) from 2001-03 is that he was young, immature and stupid: he entered Major League Baseball at the tender age of 18, having never gone to college or had any other life experiences. Now, as he looks back with the wisdom of his years, he wishes he’d had the opportunity to grow up before being hurled head first into the cold cruel world of MLB.

For the record, Alex was born on August 27, 1975, making him 35 years old now. In 2003, the last year he allegedly injected himself with a substance that was OTC in the Dominican Republic but illegal in the U.S., he would have been 29, though he kept referring to himself as “24, 25” when he took the stuff. (See comments for math corrections.)

It was, says Alex, just youthful experimentation, no big deal, typical adolescent behavior from a naïve, ignorant kid. On the other hand, it was a terrible mistake for which he is begging forgiveness from his fans and teammates, and which he will atone for by spreading the anti-steroid gospel.

I’m not saying any of this to denigrate A-Rod, nor do I mean to imply he isn’t telling the truth. I’m just pointing out that MLB and our hypocritical, drug addled culture have put A-Rod in an impossible position. The things he’s saying are no accident: they’ve been carefully worked out by the PR firm he hired, calculated to polish up his tarnished image.

A-Rod pouring water over head

Still, these are mixed signals he’s throwing out, and I can’t help wondering—which is it? Youthful experimentation or naïve stupidity? Can you have it both ways? Maybe if you’re Alex Rodriguez you can.

Above: Some weird atonement ritual?

Jason Giambi: Role Model

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Let me begin by saying that I’m not one of those people who think athletes have an obligation to serve as role models of morality for the kids who worship them. That’s one of the reasons usually named in the litany against athletes whose behavior deviates in any way from the straight-and-narrow. I see no reason why someone who can swing a bat from here to Kingdom Come has to live up to fans’ ideals of righteous living; those who demand such a thing, in my opinion, have a lot of chutzpah. It just so happens, though, that Jason Giambi, simply by living through his own trials and tribulations, has unwittingly become a role model–or at least a good case against steroid use.


Giambi is one of the few baseball players to admit having taken steroids. Since he’s been honest about it, we can believe it when he says he’s stopped taking them. The irony is, Giambi was sick as a dog when he was on drugs, and his performance suffered dismally. Last season and the year before he had some wretched physical ailments, and he looked like a zombie. Now that he’s stopped taking drugs and has begun the healing process, he’s playing better, at the age of 37, than he has in years. Not exactly a walking ad for steroid use.

Then there’s the matter of the golden thong: without so much as a blush, Giambi recently admitted to wearing a gold lamé thong whenever he’s struggling out of a slump. Not only that–he’s shared his thong with other Yankees, who swear the thing works. I realize that some people might not think this is great role model behavior–but kudos to Giambi for being without shame about a minor touch of kink. Between that, the bristly moustache and a few lost pounds, Giambi’s exuding sensuality, a sure sign of robust health. Put simply–the guy is HOT .

Yankee manager Joe Girardi points to Giambi’s health as the main reason he’s been grand-slamming and tearing up the field lately. “He’s been healthy, he’s been strong, he’s running well, he’s been playing good defense,” Girardi said. “It’s good to see guys come back when they’ve had some injury-plagued seasons — to come back, rebound and do the things that you’re used to seeing them do.”

So here’s to you, Jason Giambi: You went down the dark path and came back a better player, possibly a better person. You did it for yourself, not for anyone else–but don’t think it’s gone unnoticed or unappreciated.

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