Major League Baseball is not a business. It looks like one from time to time when money gets in the way but baseball is not a business. Above all it is a game. That’s all it is and it is all that a game can be. It should be about fun, hustle, loyalty and desire to win. All that other mess with money just gets in the way and I honestly wish that part would go away and leave the game alone sometimes. Jason Giambi of the Cleveland Indians is on their roster because he gets it and Terry Francona wants his young guys to know the real truth about baseball.
How many times have you seen a man that makes 10 to 15 million dollars a year to play baseball, jog out a ground ball? That is his job supposedly if this is a business. That’s the problem though, it is a business to some players more than it is a game. You don’t consider all the variables when you’re playing a game. You just hustle and want to win. Why would Francona want a 42-year old Giambi on his team? I’ll tell you why.
The other night the Indians were pasting the Philadelphia Phillies 14 – 2 when Giambi came up to the plate. Giambi is batting .214 with 7 runs scored and 6 RBI. Five of those came in the same game against the Houston Astros. So what does he bring to the team other than a power bat off the bench? He displayed it in this moment. He raked a pitch down the first base line in this blowout game.
It looked destined for the corner but Ryan Howard made a great diving stop. As the ball dribbled away and the camera focused on Howard picking it up, everyone probably assumed what I did. I figured he would flip it to the pitcher for the out. Instead Howard didn’t even throw because as the camera panned out you saw Giambi already sliding headfirst into the bag.
Whether or not you approve of headfirst sliding is irrelevant in this situation. Giambi had no reason at all to hustle that play out. They were on top by twelve runs late in the game. It was in the bag so why not just save those aging legs? Because that’s how you do business, not how you play a baseball game. The Indians dugout erupted in emotion as their mentor busted it down the line just because he wanted a base hit. All Francona has to do is nod to that man on first and simply tell his young guys, “That is how you play this game!” Francona said after that, any player in the league that doesn’t run out a grounder should be ashamed and he is absolutely right.