Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Empathy For Jay Gibbons

If you have a chance to check out ESPN.com this evening, you should probably read "Players like Bonds, Gibbons, Logan Struggle To Find Work". It's a pretty eye-opening piece on how some unemployed players who implicated in the Mitchell Report have had a very hard time finding work and are still on the market.

Obviously, we know the saga of Barry Bonds, but much of the piece is devoted to former Oriole Jay Gibbons.

Thus, if you read the piece, you'll also see a letter -- an impassioned one -- that he wrote to all 30 teams within baseball.

Here's some of what he wrote:

I have faith and hope that some team will give me the chance to prove that I can not only be a productive player but also be a stellar member of their organization. My faith in a second chance has inspired me to work harder than I have at any time in my life. My faith has gotten me through this most difficult period in my life.

All I need is a chance -- any chance -- anywhere. I am more than willing to begin the process of proving that I can and will be a productive major league player by playing in the minor leagues.
Also...
I am so willing to prove myself as a player, and a person, that I will donate ALL of my minor league earnings to your Club's charity. In the event that I earn the right to play at the major league level, I will gladly donate a significant sum to that same charity.

Once again, all I need is a chance and I will prove that I can be an extremely productive player and a great addition to your organization.
Well, I have chastised our former slugger, but also feel tremendous empathy for him, as I have talked to him a few times and seen him interact with others -- especially kids -- in PR/community for the team.

I'll say, he may have cheated for whatever reason, but honestly, I think he should get another chance to play baseball, considering some of the other players who were in the report are employed and still have their careers intact. Furthermore, not to criticize other players, but he's unemployed mostly for the fact HE DIDN'T PRODUCE.

That's really it. If he were a .300 hitter with 35 homers a year annually, someone would justify him being employed and take the sword for him. It's that simple.

I do think Jay cheated and stole money? Yes. However, there's a long list -- perhaps maybe multiplied by the amount of players not in the Mitchell Report who have profited handsomely from the specter of drugs and the brass of Major Baseball turning it's back to an obvious problem.

Perhaps Gibbons may be closer to finding work as the Sun posted this:
From The Baltimore Sun:Gibbons, whom the Orioles released in March, several months after he admitted to using human growth hormone and agreed to a Major League Baseball-imposed suspension, said he expects to sign with a New York- or New Jersey-based Atlantic League club by tomorrow and should be in uniform within days.

"I want to continue my career and start over," said Gibbons, 31. "This is an opportunity, and that is all I have been looking for."

Gibbons has split time in his native California and his offseason Arizona home waiting to catch on with another organization. In May, he sent a letter to the other 29 baseball organizations asking for an opportunity to play.
I think he's served his punishment by just the embarrassment factor alone. He was hung out to dry by Major League Baseball, and was pretty much tried and convicted by most fans on the 'net, sports talk radio as well as the press.

In the end, I only wish Jay Gibbons the best of luck getting a spot back into the sport, as I believe he's truly sorry, wants forgiveness, and a chance to play again -- unlike some of the others who have been implicated, who have either lawyered up or refused to talk.

Why would I want him to be employed again? I think despite Jay Gibbons have been a multi-millionaire several times over and over should be given another shot despite his inclusion in the Mitchell Report. Obviously, he's starting from square one and will need to earn his spot, but from the letter I have read he's shown a lot of contrition, and considering some of his peers are playing despite also being in the document -- Gibbons should be given a chance to prove and redeem himself.

Before I go, one person needs to be singled out for his compassion -- Tigers' GM Dave Dombrowski for at least responding to Gibbons letter with dignity and decorum, despite the team not being interested in his service.

2 comments:

Michael Seff said...

I like the blog. I'm a fellow blogger and lifelong Orioles fan and felt the need to comment. Jay Gibbons-- awful fit for the Orioles but probably a good guy off the field. A shame. And yes, it appears the Orioles have Okajima's number. With the way he pitches I don't understand why more teams don't.

Mike
www.pitchingideas.net

Tova said...

I alway liked Jay Gibbons and I wish him the best of luck.

He was my favorite player for the orioles.

They let him go while other guys who have been very well known for steriods keep on playing.

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