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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Clubhouse Leader in Oakland--Giambi--is Reborn in the Bronx--NY Times

A byproduct of the SI interview with A-rod was revelation of Giambi as clubhouse leader. NY Times' George Vecsey takes note:

"Instead of becoming a pariah for his involvement in the Balco drug scandal, Giambi has become the sergeant-at-arms of the Yankees’ clubhouse, the man who does the dirty work when dirty work needs to be done.

According to Tom Verducci’s compelling sounds-right-to-me article in the current issue of Sports Illustrated, it was Giambi who took Alex Rodriguez out behind the barn late last month in Boston and told him to shape up. Even the subsequent closed-door lecture in Seattle from Manager Joe Torre sounded less intimidating than Giambi’s warning to get with it.

Since then, his ego mussed up, his spotless uniform symbolically muddied, A-Rod has been playing significantly better. He had helped the Yankees close to a game of clinching their ninth straight division title going into last night’s game in Toronto.

But it took the pigpen personified, Giambi, to spatter some realistic glop on A-Rod’s self-image.

Profanely punctuating his lecture, Giambi told Rodriguez that walks and bleeder hits were not the reason he was being paid $252 million over 10 years by the Texas Rangers and the Yankees. A-Rod is being paid for power. So be powerful, Giambi urged him, in much stronger words than that.

Right now, Giambi has a sore wrist that makes him slightly doubtful for the postseason, but he has shown himself to be a major player in the Yankees’ hierarchy."

  • A brief word on Arod v Jeter from Vecsey:
"Then they took vastly different career paths. Jeter is real, taking emotional and educational lessons from his parents, showing a swagger that helped win four World Series. A-Rod is a phantom, a smile and a shoeshine, to use Arthur Miller’s words for his salesman Willy Loman.
  • Now he is in New York, a streak hitter, a streak fielder, a will-o’-the-wisp in a cold clubhouse. His aloofness became so bad that A-Rod found himself being lectured by Jason Giambi
He has to survive and produce, like Jason Giambi, who is no angel, yet earned the right to lecture A-Rod."

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