- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2005

Hey, at least Jason Giambi wasn’t caught in an airport with the “Original Whizzinator.” So he’s got that going for him as he tries to raise his batting average above the Mendoza Line — and ward off attempts by the Yankees to make him the first $15.5 million-a-year minor leaguer.

Of course, until this season, baseball players didn’t need Original Whizzinators, or even bootleg Whizzinators. They could use flaxseed oil and other “Nutty Professor”-type concoctions with utter impunity. But the NFL runs a tighter ship, which might explain why the Vikings’ Onterrio Smith was found in possession of the aforementioned device last month at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

The Whizzinator helps you beat a urine test through the use of — cover your ears, children — a prosthetic penis and (somebody else’s) dried urine. (That’s right, folks, just add water.)

“When the user takes a drug test in front of an observer,” Kevin Seifert, a former Washington Timesman, wrote in the Star Tribune, “the water is released through the prosthetic with a valve (the instructions recommend the user cough to hide the sound of the valve unsnapping.”

Smith reportedly told airport police he was taking the Whizzinator to his cousin. Or maybe he was taking it to Terry Cousin, the Giants cornerback — or perhaps to Tom Cousineau, the first pick in the 1979 draft. Who knows, really, where or to whom he was taking it? Once again, though, we’ve been reminded of the lengths to which athletes will go … to score some really good second-hand urine.

Around the time the Smith story was being pounded out, Giambi was huddling with his bosses in New York, discussing the merits of sending him somewhere in the Yankees farm chain to look for his lost swing. The club, needless to say, is concerned about its Incredible Shrinking First Baseman’s incredible shrinking numbers now that he presumably has washed the BALCO out of his hair.

With Mark McGwire in hiding and Barry Bonds on permanent rehab assignment, Giambi has become the poster child for the Evils of Performance Enhancing Drugs in baseball. Not that he doesn’t deserve it. Less than three years ago, in what might be termed the Pre-Whizzinator Era, he was one of the nimrods who was saying (in this case to USA Today), “People should know that players are working hard. They have trainers. They have people helping them plan their diets, even cooking for them. You can’t just take a pill and expect to hit home runs. You have to have talent. Steroids don’t help you hit a baseball.”

And now these players, in addition to trainers, dietitians and cooks, can avail themselves of prosthetic penises. Is this a great country or what?

But back to this “steroids don’t help you hit a baseball” claptrap. Let’s not even dignify such a statement with rational discourse; instead, let’s examine the record — his record.

In his leaked testimony to the BALCO grand jury, Giambi reportedly said he stopped taking steroids during the 2003 All-Star break. That provides us with an almost too good to be true Before and After case study. How good? This good:

Before the ‘03 break, Giambi was a .306 lifetime hitter with a .416 on-base percentage and a .552 slugging average. Since then, he’s been a .213 hitter with a .372 OBP and a .418 slugging average. Repeat: His batting average has dropped 93 points, and his on-base-plus-slugging has plummeted 178 points — nearly twice as much.

Steroids don’t help you hit a baseball? Steroids, if we go by these statistics, turn every stadium into Coors Field.

The remodeled, liposuctioned Giambi was hitting .195 through Tuesday with a mere three homers in 77 ups. Most shockingly, he was striking out more than once every three at-bats. The latter stat suggests a serious, possibly terminal Crisis of Confidence. Jason is so shook up about being turned back into Clark Kent that he can’t even put the bat on the ball anymore. In fact, he’s not entirely sure what a ball looks like, whether it’s round or square.

Meanwhile, in Minneapolis, Onterrio Smith, the Whizzinator deliveryman, has a lot of explaining to do. The search of his bag by airport police turned up “six or seven” vials of urine powder. Combined with water, this would be almost enough to fill Lake Onterrio — I mean Ontario. (The columnist recommends the reader cough to hide the sound of snickering.)

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