Monday, September 23, 2013

The Surprisingly Mature Leadership of Jason Giambi

“His leadership, his presence, for me not to use that, I would be an idiot. I’ve leaned on him so much. He’s not making enough money, I tell him that all the time. He’s the best influence on players I’ve ever seen — ever, and I’ve been around some pretty good ones.”  
--Terry Francona, manager of the Cleveland Indians, talking about the value that Jason Giambi provides to his team.  

Terry Francona has been a player, coach, minor league manager, and a major league manager for 13 years. In all that time, Francona said last week, he had never met a person like Jason Giambi.

The Cleveland Indians are currently 86-70 this season, and have been in the thick of the division, wild-card and playoff races.  He has hit 8 home runs and has driven in 29 runs in limited playing time behind starter, Carlos Santana.

Giambi, 42, a designated hitter for the Indians, is the oldest position player in the major leagues. He weathered a steroid scandal earlier in his career to become a respected veteran who was a strong candidate last winter to be the manager of the Colorado Rockies. Ultimately, the Rockies hired Walt Weiss as their manager. So Giambi decided to continue his career as a designated hitter — and unofficial captain — for Francona’s Indians. And, he has Francona's back.

“I kind of call myself the ‘Protector.' I protect what he cares about, which is playing the game hard, playing the game right, making sure we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing. Tito and I are one in the same. I care about my teammates like he cares about his team." 
“Every single guy — from the Latin players to the white guys to the black guys — I’m tight with everybody. I get to care about them with no ulterior motives. I just want to see them succeed. I’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, and I want them to turn into the best players they can, because I truly believe that’s the gift you give back to this game.” 
--Jason Giambi
Who knew that Jason Giambi would eventually grow up?  Does your team have a Jason Giambi?

Excerpts taken from (9/22/2013).  

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