Cleveland (WOIO) - A row of pictures are taped to the wall directly across the hall from the doorway into the Indians clubhouse. They show the sequence of Jason Giambi throwing his 42-year old body towards first base in a headfirst dive earlier this season. It is signed by Giambi, with a note to his teammates about playing like you live...hard.
That play signifies what Giambi brings to a major league roster in the twilight of his career. Leadership, passion, just an appreciation of one more day of playing the game he loves.
I have to be honest, I didn't see this coming. As good as Giambi was 10, 15 years ago, and we're talking about a 5-time All-Star and former league MVP, I just didn't see, back in March, how Terry Francona could find a spot on his roster for a 42-year old who had limited at-bats in Colorado in 2012. I just didn't 'get' the intangibles that Jason brings to the table.
He's a manager in the making, the guy who's been there, done it...many times...the player the Indians can turn to, when they start to struggle. But more than that, his passion is infectious, and he can still deliver, as shown once again on Wednesday night, when his 3-run home run in the 6th led the Tribe past the Reds in a much-needed win. The Indians had dropped five straight heading into that game. Somebody needed to step up. Giambi was the guy.
Stats used to define his game. They were monstrous, earning him hundreds of millions. They no longer define him, though. It's the clubhouse talks, the daily leadership, and the occasional big moments that define him as a member of the Tribe. And he's a big reason why they'll be challenging in the division into September.
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