Giambi steroid testimony leaks

DMZ · December 2, 2004 at 7:01 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jason Giambi testified before a grand jury that he used steroids in 2003 and for two years before that. The 2003 steroids were obtained from Gary Anderson, who is Barry Bonds’ trainer. Jeremy Giambi, who you may remember from his brief prospect-dom, also testified that he used steroids. You can construct a whole timeline here of what he took and when if you want.

Or, if you want it second-hand:MSNBC link
MLB.com link

I don’t care what your stance on this is, if this is true than you have to admit that the continuing leaks out of this investigation are ridiculous. Beyond being illegal, why would anyone cooperate with a grand jury investigation any more than they absolutely had to if they knew thier testimony would become public? Especially in a case like this?

On a larger note… every time I think it would be hard for this mess to get uglier, I’m shocked at how easily it overcomes my doubts.

To me, the tough part is (as the Chronicle notes) that Clomid’s side effects include

Headaches, hot flashes. Can exacerbate pituitary gland tumors.

Which is what the New York Daily News reported Giambi suffered from this year — in a story that, oddly, mentions that Giambi was taking corticosteroids (which are not performance enhancers) as part of his treatment for the tumor, steroids which caused him to test positive for steroids but not the ones he’d actually been taking since 2001.

To Jeremy Giambi’s admissions — knowing this, it might offer some insight into why the A’s purged him abruptly in mid-2002, getting almost nothing (well, John Mabry, who performed well for them) in exchange for Jeremy, who was hitting .274/.390/.471 at the time (and was cheap to play). Even if the A’s didn’t know, which seems unlikely, they must have suspected, and I see how something like his reputed partying could easily suddenly tip the team against him.

Really, if you’re a GM and you knew or suspected with a good degree of confidence that a player on your team was using illegal steroids, and that player was showing troubling signs of getting into other behaviors that potentially could affect their play, like staying out all night on road trips, isn’t there a good chance you’d try to make him someone else’s problem as fast as you could? Even knowing that because baseball’s a small game, you’re going to have to be up-front about the why, and hope someone’s willing to take the gamble and give you a token back to show the fans?

Anyway. This whole thing stinks.

Comments

54 Responses to “Giambi steroid testimony leaks”

  1. big chef Terry on December 2nd, 2004 7:57 am

    Care to comment on Bonds now?

  2. paul mocker on December 2nd, 2004 8:32 am

    On a larger note… every time I think it would be hard for this mess to get uglier, I’m shocked at how easily it overcomes my doubts.

    Don’t be shocked. Ball players are simply a sample of the best and worst qualities of humankind. Sport reflects society. It doesn’t mold society.

  3. Scott G. on December 2nd, 2004 8:45 am

    With the money being offered for MLB players, if I had a chance to play ball I’d definitely consider steriods as an option. So I can’t say I’m shocked at all this. Yes, I’m a little disappointed, but, seriously, we all knew what was going on. We just preferred to ignore it.

  4. Rick Walker on December 2nd, 2004 9:05 am

    The timing seems pretty obvious. Conte apparently is going on 20/20 tonight to “tell the truth”, as he put it. This leak, given the attention it’s getting and will continue to receive, should pretty much drown out Conte’s side of the story (the merits of which I’m unfamiliar with).

  5. Bill Fugazi on December 2nd, 2004 9:35 am

    Giambi can live quite a life on the $84m he’s owed by the Yankees. Losing the public’s respect, and your place in the game, is a small price to pay for all that dough, and when the scales are tipped that far out of whack– people are going to exploit it as an opportunity. Until there is a reason not to take advantage of steroids that is just as weighty as the potential gains one could see from them, players primary deterrent is their personal morality, ethics, and health.

    Put ethics and health risks head to head against large sums of money in an individuals mind, and sometimes that individual will take their golden ticket despite the risks.

  6. MarinerDan on December 2nd, 2004 9:41 am

    Hasn’t all of this made it clear beyond any reasonable doubt that Bonds is (or, at the very least, was) a steroid user? I know BP, and certain authors at this site as well, have protected Bonds and suggested that they didn’t believe there was fire when there was clearly a lot of smoke. What do they say now?

    How will Bonds’ place in the game be impacted, if at all? Do people really care? Or would they rather see the moonshots and the reasons why he is so dominant (or, at least part of the reason) be damned?

    Now that it is clear that Giambi, Bonds, and others have used steroids, the apologists will no doubt start the “there is no evidence that steroids actually enhance baseball performance” refrain. Please. The players must believe that it does or they wouldn’t risk their health (and lives) by taking steroids. It is time for BP, USS Mariner, and others to step up to the plate, admit they were wrong, and cast blame on the players who have cheated the fans and mocked the integrity of the game.

  7. Dave on December 2nd, 2004 9:51 am

    Dan,

    Congratulations. You just won the award for Most Condescending Comment Without Any Facts To Support Your Claims.

    Well done.

  8. patnmic on December 2nd, 2004 9:54 am

    Let me clariffy people on clomid which I have been prescribed for the last year to increase my testosterone level. I wouldn’t recommend it for an athlete. I have gained a lot of strength but I also have gained a lot of weight from taking it. I went from 220 to 245 (mostly fat around the belt line) and I eat less and try to exercise more. Coincidentally I can bench press 50% more weight then I could a year ago (I guess that’s what athletes are looking for). This could have been extra dramatic on me because my testosterone was very low and now its high in the normal range. I get really pissed off when I get mad where I use to have an even temper. The hot flashes and headaches suck. Why anyone would use this as a performance enhancing drug is beyond me except for pure ignorance. It makes you wonder how someone who makes a living with their body would be so careless about what they put in it.

  9. Jeff on December 2nd, 2004 9:55 am

    Derek, the reason Giambi cooperated with the grand jury is that he was forced to by subpeona. The reason that he told the truth (according to the Chronicle story, anyway) is that they threatened him with perjury charges if he didn’t.

    When he testified, Giambi had to know that it would come out sooner or later.

  10. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 9:56 am

    I know BP, and certain authors at this site as well, have protected Bonds and suggested that they didn’t believe there was fire when there was clearly a lot of smoke.

    This totally pisses me off.

    No one here, or on BP, or any writer “protected” Bonds. No one ever concealed evidence for him, or gave him steroids.

    I said — and you could go look this up if you’d wanted — that I would not make such serious and damaging accusations without proof.

    What’s the harm in that, huh? Why does being cautious about who I attack and when make me some kind of associate to the crime?

    I’ve even said that things looked bad, and I expected it was only a matter of time before clear evidence emerged of abuse by suspected players. What would satisfy you, exactly? For us to join every enraged mob as it forms, to cast the first stone in every riot?

    It is time for BP, USS Mariner, and others to step up to the plate, admit they were wrong, and cast blame on the players who have cheated the fans and mocked the integrity of the game.

    There’s nothing wrong in what I’ve said about Bonds. I owe you no apology.

  11. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 9:58 am

    Also, what Dave said.

  12. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 10:00 am

    On testimony and subpeonas: that’s true, yes, and I should have been clearer. Given the leaks coming out of this, what are the chances a witness would be voluntarily cooperative? Say anything that’s not directly part of a question?

    If you were, say, Barry Bonds, and you were subpeonaed at this point, wouldn’t you fight the order on grounds and scope to the last appeal and then, if you couldn’t get out of it, fight every question and minimize every answer? I’ll bet Jason Giambi would if he had the chance again.

  13. Dave in Palo Alto on December 2nd, 2004 10:06 am

    Leaks and lies. Historically, grand jury secrecy is an anachronism, borrowed from bad English precedent and contrary to the American tradition of open and regular proceedings.

    That said, I’m surprised some judge isn’t cracking heads with his/her gavel over the leaks from the grand jury. Unless of course, the information is coming from Giambi, since a witness is free to discuss his/her testimony.

    Following up on Jeff’s comment, the only way for Giambi to decline participation in the process, once subpoenaed, is to decline to answer on self-incrimination grounds, which, although done frequently, tends to convert the speaker from witness to target, if he isn’t already. The other alternative, perjury, is not that attractive either.

    Dave

  14. Swing and A Miss on December 2nd, 2004 10:12 am

    Clock’s ticking Barry! I have always believed he was on something. You look at his photos through the years and the guy just kept getting bigger and bigger. With this, his trainer, and the Gary Shefield thing, this just leads you to believe he did what Jason did.

  15. tyler on December 2nd, 2004 10:16 am

    i personally am very close with Giambi’s high school basketball coach, who was actually in his (first) wedding.

    the man says that giambi was the hardest working athlete that he ever had. he was the most driven athlete he ever coached. and he also told me that giambi had used steriods.

    giambi, like caminiti, worked and played incredibly hard. i don’t see an athlete using steroids to improve his ability at the highest level to be all that wrong. giambi isn’t a moron. he knew the risks, including eventually being “outed.” he rolled the dice, made a pretty penny, was the best in the game at one point, and, as tin cup said, “you ride her till she bucks, or you don’t ride at all.”

    Giambi went for it. In the first movie, Rocky have a conversation in a bar about Apollo Creed where he jumps on a guy dogging Apollo and he essentially said that same thought: “He’s the champ, he went for it.”

    One reason why we admire these athletes and their feats is because they live outside the box of playing it safe. Most people never go “all out” for anything.

    I commend Giambi. Not for using steriods, yet perhaps for admitting it. More importantly, for working his ass off for 15+ years to be the best he could possibly be. The man is not perfect, but he is a man, and he at least “went for it.”

  16. Mike on December 2nd, 2004 10:19 am

    To clarify #8’s question about the use of clomiphene, in this case people are using it to enhance the efficacy of the steriods. Clomiphene kind of tricks the pituitary and hypothalamus into releasing higher amounts of hormones than is actually necessary. When this is coupled with exogenous steriod use, the effect is additive.
    And I’d just like to say in Derek’s defense, not that he needs it, I feel he has handled the Bonds discussion fairly and with more tact than many of the national “journalists”

  17. IgnatiusReilly on December 2nd, 2004 10:31 am

    Also, before the first stone gets cast at Boone as seemingly often happens in conversations regarding steroids, and I’m a big Polyanna when it comes to ‘my team’;

    Percentage of Boone’s hits that went for a double or HR since 1998:

    1998
    HR = 15.5%
    2B = 24.5%

    1999
    HR = 13%
    2B = 24.8%

    2000
    HR = 16.4%
    2B = 15.5%

    2001
    HR = 17.9%
    2B = 17.9%

    2002
    HR = 14.2%
    2B = 20.1%

    2003
    HR = 19.1%
    2B = 19.1%

    2004
    HR = 16.1%
    2B = 20.1%

    Boone has been remarkably consistent (in my eyes) in his power numbers since 1998, and remarkably inconsistent over his entire career, in making his bat touch the ball.

    (Giambi’s HRs accounted for 16.3%, 18.2%, and then leapt to 25.3% over the same period of 1998 to 2000…I would suspect he has used longer than he testified, if he hasn’t…he should get a refund, because he really didn’t improve from that level.

    Obviously this is no more proof that Boone didn’t use steroids than saying that because Bonds is big, he did, but it is my two cents in defending someone that gets some heat because of a fancy looking 2001.

  18. IgnatiusReilly on December 2nd, 2004 10:33 am

    Tyler…it’s cheating. It couldn’t be more wrong.

  19. IgnatiusReilly on December 2nd, 2004 10:35 am

    Poor Willie Bloomquist…the only player in the MLB that didn’t get let in on the steroid secret. If only he knew, we’d be calling him Willie “Mays” Bloomquist. 😉

  20. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 10:40 am

    As much as I already wish I hadn’t posted on this, can we please refrain from speculation on else is (or isn’t) on steroids?

    No, actually… I’m not asking. I’m going to be deleting.

  21. Evan on December 2nd, 2004 10:48 am

    No, it’s not cheating. Or, at least, it wasn’t cheating. Before 2003, there was no MLB regulation governing the use of steroids at all. So it clearly wasn’t cheating.

    Even now, MLB makes no claims about the legality of steroids within the game. That they impose sanction against those caught is a hint, but there’s no contingency to strike records or wins as a result of steroid use.

    So it’s arguably not even cheating now, but it certainly wasn’t cheating then. And if it wasn’t cheating, there was nothing wrong with it. I don’t care if Bonds (or anyone else) was entirely synthetic, with joints of carbon fibre and copper-based blood from the planet Quagaar – he hit 73 homeruns, and that’s the record. And he hit those homeruns legally, because he didn’t break any rules.

  22. ChrisK on December 2nd, 2004 10:48 am

    It will be interesting to see how MLB and the Player’s Union reacts to this. This obviously shouldn’t be such surprising news though – MLB never tested for steriods until 2003 and the punishments are weak (players don’t even face a suspension until their 5th offense).

    But the whole steroid testing program is controlled by the power of the MLB Player’s Union, one of the strongest worker unions in the world. However, the increased media onslaught resulting from a current star who has admitted using ‘roids should put some more pressure on them to relent to stricter rules. Then again, don’t underestimate the strength of that union. This story will be interesting to see from a labor management perspective.

  23. kenshin on December 2nd, 2004 11:03 am

    How is this incident more damning to Bonds than what has emerged previously? Giambi does not even refer to him in his testimony

  24. msb on December 2nd, 2004 11:05 am

    well, and you would hope the Players Association would take into account their players & health risks, but then….

  25. MarinerDan on December 2nd, 2004 11:06 am

    Wow. Touched a nerve.

    The truth is — and I am too lazy to go back and look it up — there were several posts and articles (mainly at BP) defending Bonds and, at a very minimum, suggesting that he did not take steroids. Facts are facts.

    I note that you are still refusing to castigate those that took illegal substances. Why haven’t you called out Giambi? Instead, your post berates those that leaked the information from the grand jury. To be sure, that is inappropriate. But let’s get real — Bonds, Giambi, and others like them have abused the game. Your refusal to condemn them is down-right odd.

  26. Ralph Malph on December 2nd, 2004 11:09 am

    I wonder if the Yankees could get away with refusing to pay Giambi the $84M on the grounds that he fraudulently misled them into signing a contract without knowing that his performance was a result of his illegal use of performance enhancing drugs…

    OK, I’m being a lawyer.

  27. kenshin on December 2nd, 2004 11:10 am

    Dan, Do you have any information about Bonds that is unavailable to the general public? I have yet to see proof that conclusively links Bonds to steroid use.

  28. david C on December 2nd, 2004 11:11 am

    This makes three MVPs now that have admitted being on the juice & coincidentally all three broke down mid-career. How can Bonds be put in the same class as these guys or even Sheffield for that matter? Where is the hard evidence? Guilt by association is the worst form of McCartyism.

  29. david C on December 2nd, 2004 11:12 am

    I mean Mccarthyism – (wishes he could edit comment)

  30. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 11:13 am

    The truth is – and I am too lazy to go back and look it up – there were several posts and articles (mainly at BP) defending Bonds and, at a very minimum, suggesting that he did not take steroids. Facts are facts.

    I don’t think I could possibly put together a more stinging attack on why your post isn’t worth of attention than you offer yourself. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

  31. Dave on December 2nd, 2004 11:13 am

    Dan,

    If you have a problem with what someone at BP wrote, take it up with them. If you’re too lazy to look up the reference rather than referring to vague memories, keep it to yourself.

    And, perhaps, we don’t feel an obligation to castigate Jason Giambi because the rest of the world already has? Seriously, if you want to read self-righteous outrage over this issue, it’s not hard to find. I’m not sure why you feel that we’re compelled to pile on.

  32. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 11:16 am

    I wonder if the Yankees could get away with refusing to pay Giambi the $84M on the grounds that he fraudulently misled them into signing a contract without knowing that his performance was a result of his illegal use of performance enhancing drugs…

    But if Giambi’s testimony as reported is correct, he didn’t start using steroids until after he’d left the A’s and signed with the Yankees.

    Still, your larger point, about whether a team could potentially seek to get out of a contract in a situation like this, is entirely valid, and it’ll be interesting to see what the Yankees do here.

  33. MarinerDan on December 2nd, 2004 11:16 am

    Kenshin —

    No, I do not have facts beyond what is in the public record. My point is just that there seems to be an almost pathological defense of Bonds in the analyst community — it is almost as if they want him to be “clean” because he so clearly fits their definition of the “ultimate” player (high OBP, great power, etc.).

    I do believe that the evidence is becoming overwhelming that Bonds must have taken steroids. It was HIS personal trainer that gave Giambi the steroids. Not to mention that Bonds’ almost preternatural body transformation is a little suspicious. Innocent until proven guilty is a right of those facing criminal charges. It does not apply to those of us in the general public who can make informed conclusions based on substantial evidence.

  34. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 11:18 am

    Also, what Dave said.

  35. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 11:20 am

    My point is just that there seems to be an almost pathological defense of Bonds in the analyst community – it is almost as if they want him to be “clean” because he so clearly fits their definition of the “ultimate” player (high OBP, great power, etc.).

    A contention you admit you’re too lazy to back up.

    Innocent until proven guilty is a right of those facing criminal charges. It does not apply to those of us in the general public who can make informed conclusions based on substantial evidence.

    Get out the torches and pitchforks, everyone, it’s time to form us a good old fashioned mob, like the ones mom used to make!

  36. MarinerDan on December 2nd, 2004 11:22 am

    For not being worthy of attention, you seem to be paying it a lot of attention.

    Look, I am not intending to start a flame war (and I appreciate that you have not (yet at least) deleted my posts). I just don’t understand why the analyst community seems so reluctant to call a spade a spade. Your animosity is reserved for the grand jury leak of testimony showing that Giambi took steroids. You do not condemn the obvious — THAT GIAMBI TOOK STEROIDS. I just find it odd, that’s all.

  37. MarinerDan on December 2nd, 2004 11:25 am

    This isn’t about pitchforks and torches — it is about the truth and the integrity of the game. You are as bad as Bud Selig — let’s pretend there isn’t a problem and maybe the people won’t notice.

  38. Troy on December 2nd, 2004 11:27 am

    Come on Evan, that’s bull. Every athlete knows that steroids give you an edge – an unfair edge. Whether it was expressly prohibited in baseball’s rules doesn’t change that. NOBODY takes steroids without knowing what they’re doing.

    Roiding up is cheating. Period.

    And yes, I’m a Bonds fan. Still holding onto ever decreasing hope that he somehow didn’t do it. Maybe I’m a hypocrite.

  39. kenshin on December 2nd, 2004 11:30 am

    Re: 38

    Do you consider the use of “greenies” in the halcyon days of yore cheating?

  40. DMZ on December 2nd, 2004 11:30 am

    You’re not trying to start a flame war but you’re making broad, offensive assertions about what statheads believe, and why, in your opinion, certain sites make a whole-scale defense of Bonds as innocent — an assertion you won’t and cannot back up?

    That’s not how you start a reasoned, informed discussion. You must know that.

    And what are you talking about, my animosity’s reserved for something? Go read what I wrote — I said the continuing leaks are ridiculous, which they are, and I can see where they’re going to affect the continued investigation.

    I know you must want some kind of loyalty pledge from me, saying “Steroids are evil! Jason Giabmi is scum!” and you know what — Dave’s right, you can get that almost anywhere else. What’s the point in piling on at this point?

    This isn’t about pitchforks and torches – it is about the truth and the integrity of the game. You are as bad as Bud Selig – let’s pretend there isn’t a problem and maybe the people won’t notice.

    If I didn’t believe you weren’t trying to start a flame war before, I double don’t believe you know. Go away until you can at least be civil.

  41. Dave on December 2nd, 2004 11:32 am

    You are as bad as Bud Selig – let’s pretend there isn’t a problem and maybe the people won’t notice.

    Glad to see you’re not trying to start a flame war, Dan…

    Seriously, can we just let this die now. You’re convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bonds took steroids. The rest of the world is not required to agree with you. Let’s all just move on.

  42. Tom on December 2nd, 2004 11:37 am

    There are other performance enhancing drugs. What makes one illegal and the other legal? Should an athlete not go beyond vitamins? Where do you draw the line? I think that is a more important question than whether Bonds or whoever has used steroids.

  43. Aaron on December 2nd, 2004 11:39 am

    #21, it was not specifically against the rules of the game before 2003, but it has been against the laws of the USA and Canada for many years. Saying it’s not ‘cheating’ would be like saying it’s ok to grab money from somebody elses stash when playig Monopoly. It’s not stated anywhere that it’s aginst the rules, but only because it shouldn’t HAVE to be. Higher laws already cover the situation.

  44. MarinerDan on December 2nd, 2004 11:40 am

    Go over and do a search for Bonds and steroids at BP and you will get a sense of what I am talking about.

    But, I am happy to let this die. Oh, and I guess I better go learn how to be civil. Questioning DMZ is apparently tantamount to uncivility.

  45. zzyzx on December 2nd, 2004 11:45 am

    The main reason (IMO) why the stats community has a perception of being a bit reluctant to attack Bonds is because the rest of the baseball world is so quick to attack him. “Let’s have some evidence” seems radical when everyone else is convinced.

    Right now, btw, this is great for baseball. The only people who claim to be using steroids and still are playing are on a team that most fans hate anyway. It’s a perfect combination.

  46. Chris Begley on December 2nd, 2004 11:50 am

    I agree with someone way up top. Since when is a union supposed to only be about maximising profit for its members. Way back when, unions were formed to fight management’s labour practices that forced them into dangerous situations. But hey, I guess the reasoning is that the players are making a conscious decision to hurt themselves.

  47. Evan on December 2nd, 2004 11:51 am

    There are no higher laws. Rules are rules because someone MADE THEM.

    Troy – it can’t be unfair if everyone’s allowed to do it. That’s like saying that training at altitude isn’t fair – it gives you an advantage, but not everyone does it.

    Look, if someone breaks the laws of a given country (and for that to be true you’d need to ascertain WHERE the steroids were taken), then the laws of the country can deal with them. IF you want baseball to deal with the players, then baseball darn well better have a rule about it.

    And it didn’t.

    I’m a black & white guy. If there’s no rule, you can’t break it.

  48. Chris Begley on December 2nd, 2004 11:52 am

    Here is the message I think the MLBPA should pay attention to (from former Raider Lyle Alzado who used steroids his entire career:
    ” I became very violent on the field and off it. I did things only crazy people do. Once a guy sideswiped my car and I beat the hell out of him. Now look at me. My hair’s gone, I wobble when I walk and have to hold on to someone for support, and I have trouble remembering things. My last wish? That no one else ever dies this way”

  49. Scraps on December 2nd, 2004 12:05 pm

    I just want to say that all these players making use of the demonstrably dangerous laser eye surgery to artificially enhance their bodies and improve their game without honest hard work are damaging the integrity of the game, and as a loudmouth fan I want to say YARRRRRRRRRRRRRGH.

  50. Scraps on December 2nd, 2004 12:06 pm

    (Though Lyle Alzado made himself the poster boy for steroid abuse, so far as I know there was never an evidentiary link between his steroid use and his cancer — or his steroid use and anything else about him, for that matter.)