- The Washington Times - Monday, June 18, 2007

“The good ship baseball lists to port,

Its ancient hull is leaking;

It trembles when the wild winds snort,

Its mast and spars are creaking.

The owners gather weak and wan

And gaze upon the weather;

They’ll slap a coat of whitewash on

And hope it holds together.”

George Phair

Chicago Herald and Examiner

Oct. 19, 1920

Jason Giambi is trying to provide baseball with an opportunity for closure and reconciliation.

Bud Selig is trying to suspend him.

A high-ranking official with Major League Baseball told USA Today on Thursday that Selig is leaning toward suspending Giambi this week if he does not cooperate with George Mitchell’s steroid investigation.

Of course, Selig doesn’t have the right to suspend Giambi for talking to USA Today or not talking to the former Senate majority leader because it’s not a part of the collective bargaining agreement.

Any suspension or fine would be challenged by the players association and eventually overturned by an arbitrator.

Giambi has been called to the principal’s office because he said “I was wrong for doing that stuff” last month. He is being called there for exercising his free speech.

Selig is trying to police Giambi’s speech and punish him for it.

In fact, it’s hard to find a reason why Giambi should be punished.

In December 2003, Giambi told a federal grand jury he used steroids and human growth hormone, the San Francisco Chronicle reported in December 2004.

But the grand jury testimony never should have been leaked, because it’s a crime, and neither the San Francisco Chronicle nor Selig nor anyone else should know what Giambi said.

Major League Baseball and its union didn’t ban steroids until September 2002 and didn’t institute penalties for first-time offenders until 2005.

Giambi has never tested positive for steroids.

Before spring training in 2005, Giambi made repeated general apologies at a press conference but never said what he was apologizing for. This is not a crime, nor is it proof of steroid use.

“I was wrong for doing that stuff,” Giambi said last month. “What we should have done a long ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: ‘We made a mistake.’ Steroids and all of that was a part of history.”

That was probably the smartest thing that has been said on the steroids issue.

But Selig, who is acting like a complete phony, didn’t see it that way.

Selig is trying to come off as Dirty Harry after 15 seasons of being baseball’s Barney Fife.

When he could have done something, he didn’t. When Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit home runs in 1998, he cheered.

Now that he wants to do something, he doesn’t have the power. When Barry Bonds hits home runs, he has no comment.

Selig is a former used car salesman who is trying to sell Giambi a lemon.

Giambi should tell him to talk his lawyers and the players association.

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