Tyler Kepner has an extensive profile on Jason Giambi in the New York Times today. According to Kepner, Giambi is a player who sincerely cares what people think about him. This leads Kepner to wonder how Giambi’s nice-guy personality with react to the jeering he will hear from fans everywhere in 2005:
When games start, he will face a season-long test of his mental makeup. Fans will be ruthless, and Giambi will care what they think.
“That’s both a strength and a weakness for him,” said Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. “When you’re a major league player, it can be a character flaw. But it’s not a character flaw as a human being. He’s a good guy, and if it affects him, that’s because he does care.”
Will he run into trouble in the Yankee clubhouse?
“Jason’s a nice guy,” said Yankees reliever Mike Stanton, who was Giambi’s teammate in 2002. “He’s very personable, he’s intelligent, he’s got a good personality. I would think it would be tough for somebody to hold a long-term grudge on somebody you liked before it started.
“I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I think most of his teammates would probably say they just want him to get healthy.”
From a distance, former teammate Tony Clark thinks Giambi will pull through:
“The same commitment he had that made him a superstar in our game will be the driving force behind him excelling again,” Clark, who now plays for Arizona, said in an e-mail message. “It won’t be easy, but anything worth its weight usually isn’t. My hope for him is that through all of the adversity, he finds the strength he needs to have to be a contributor on the field and the inner peace to persevere off of it. I know he can do it.”
Jason Giambi, this is your life.