Via the Denver Post -
He’s 40, with a stubble more salt than pepper, but don’t kid yourself. Jason Giambi still gets excited, still feels like a rookie, still can’t wait to get to the ballpark.
Especially one ballpark.
That would be Yankee Stadium. No, it’s not the same Yankee Stadium he played in from 2002-08, but, with the Bronx Bombers, it was never about steel and concrete. It was about Ruth and Gehrig, and Mantle and Maris.
“It’s Yankee Stadium,” Giambi said. “I don’t think it will ever lose its mystique or magic. From players to the ownership to everything, it’s always going to be special there.”
So it is that, when the Rockies arrive in the Bronx tonight for a three-game interleague series, Giambi’s adrenaline, like Ruth back in the day at Wrigley Field, will be calling the shots.
The list of players who have thrived in Yankee pinstripes is lengthy, as is the list of those, most notably Greg Maddux , who wanted no part of the place once dubbed the Bronx Zoo. The Giambino? Cheers or boos, he couldn’t get enough of the place.
“It’s what you dream about as a kid,” Giambi said. “If you really, absolutely love this game, and you get a chance to put the pinstripes on, there’s nothing better on this planet. You have to come with it every day. It’s a tough town, but at the same time, to play on the same field as Mantle and Maris and DiMaggio and Ruth and Gehrig . . . to know those guys wore the same uniform, it’s pretty special.”
Giambi hit 209 of his 422 career home runs in New York. So what kind of reception is he expecting from the fans? He got a standing ovation in 2009 when he played in the new Yankee Stadium during his semi-season with the Oakland A’s, but he doesn’t know what to expect this time around.
But he’s certain of one thing: If he hurts the Yankees, the boo birds will chime in.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “It’s all right. They want to win and I love that about them, definitely.”
I’ll say this about Giambi – he must really love the game. And, good for him on that! Could you see A-Rod or Teixeira hanging on in their 40′s as a part-timer with the Rockies? I doubt that will happen. Jason has enough money to retire. But, he’s going to make them rip the uniform off him…even if it means being a bench player. That’s old school. Nice.