- The Washington Times - Monday, May 21, 2007

Jason Giambi said Major League Baseball should have apologized years ago for its steroids problem, which is the least it should do.

In response, the commissioner’s office intends to investigate Giambi’s remarks.

“What we should have done a long time ago was stand up — players, ownership, everybody — and said: ‘We made a mistake,’ ” Giambi told USA Today last week. “We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward.

“Steroids and all that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it.”

Major League Baseball wants to investigate Giambi for saying something so obvious, so elementary that anyone other than Bud Selig or a baseball owner could have thought of it.

Major League Baseball, investigate thyself.

Selig reacted about a decade late to baseball’s steroid problem, according to author Jose Canseco. The commissioner feigned innocence and helplessness in front of Congress. He instituted a steroid policy and then made it tougher. He has suspended 16 players for steroid use, including Rafael Palmeiro.

But Selig has never apologized to fans for about 15 seasons of fraudulent, performance-enhanced baseball.

That’s why Selig should be required to watch Barry Bonds break Hank Aaron’s home run record — to see what he has wrought, good or bad.

When things go this badly for this long in any organization or major corporation, the higher-ups get fired, sometimes even the man at the top. Being called before Congress for negligence is often the last straw.

Giambi’s critics say he has never admitted to steroid use, disparaging his apology to the New York Yankees organization, his teammates and for being a distraction to both in 2005. They disparage his “I was wrong for doing that stuff” admission last week.

But Giambi’s half-apology for “doing that stuff” is more than Major League Baseball has done.

Giambi can’t say “I did steroids” for legal reasons.

His apologies were necessitated in December 2004, when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Giambi told the grand jury investigating BALCO he used steroids and human growth hormone.

It’s a good story, except the San Francisco Chronicle reporters and the lawyer who leaked the grand jury testimony broke the law.

Grand jury testimony isn’t supposed to be leaked. In fact, it carries a stiffer penalty than using steroids while playing baseball.

In other news, Selig did apologize for something last week — for baseball’s reserve clause, which made players indentured servants until it was overturned in 1975.

Selig apologized for transgressions more than 30 years old that didn’t happen on his watch.

Maybe a future commissioner will do the same for Selig.

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