After 20 years and 440 Home Runs in baseball, Jason Giambi has finally called it quits and will retire at age of 44.
I have mixed feelings about Jason. After his admission of steroid use from 2001-2003, I immediately jumped on the "cheater" and "dislike against him" and ruled any card I pulled of him thereafter useless. This comes after my excitement that the Yankees had brought him in and how much I enjoyed watching him club the ball with his nice swing. I became a fan and couldn't wait til his next at bat. But, all it takes for me to turn on a player is a steroid accusation. I did the same to Sosa, McGwire, Clemens and Bonds. I don't like cheating.
After he left the Yankees, a move in which I was quite excited about at the time, I didn't actually realize he was still kicking around til I saw a highlight a few years ago with him in a Rockies uni. I was like, really, Jason Giambi still plays? However, what I didn't realize was how he changed after his admission playing the role of a leader and father of a young Rockies clubhouse. He did the same after for the Indians. It was like having an extra coach. This came completely unexpected to me and a part of me wanted to forgive him for his steroid use. Not many players turn something so controversial into something meaningful afterwards. A big example of this is Alex Rodriguez who seems to like stirring that controversy pot more into a thick stew. I don't think he will ever mature and as a Yankees fan, a baseball fan and baseball card collector, I am not looking forward to him playing this year.
So, going back to Jason one more time. I still can't forgive him completely for his steroid use especially while playing for my team. Cheating is still cheating and the 200+ home runs he hit while playing as a Yankee in my opinion shouldn't count. But, I will say that I have gained a ton more respect for him after hearing about his life turning around with the Rockies and Indians and wish him the best after baseball.
As a small tribute and to show my gained respect for him, here is a piece that I have in the man cave that I traded for years ago. It contains a Classic baseball rookie along with a 2005 Donruss card and a 8x10 signed photo. It's a really nice piece that I will continue to leave hanging on my wall as a reminder that people do make mistakes, but if you own up to them like Jason did, you can still make a difference.