Nearly 300 readers from this blog and The Journal News sent in questions for Jason Giambi. We selected 10 of them and a few days ago sat down with Jason and asked him the questions. He was so into the interview that I ended up asking him 17 of your questions.
I was surprised, frankly, at how few questions there were about steroids and other controversies. But revisiting that issue is old news at this point.
This is the second in a series of such interviews. The first was with Derek Jeter in February. I’m hoping to do this once a month or so.
Thanks to everybody who sent in questions and please do not be offended if your question was not asked. It was tough to narrow them down. And thanks again to Jason for agreeing to participate. The Big G is a good guy and hopefully that comes through.
Here is the complete transcript and the audio:
Steve asks: In Oakland you had a boisterous clubhouse. Do you think the Yankees would be better off with that kind of thing going on sometimes?
Jason Giambi: “I just think itâ€™s two different atmospheres. Of course, we were younger in Oakland. We had a good time, not that we donâ€™t have a good time here. But itâ€™s just different. Guys are older. Guys have played longer in the league. Sometimes you also have to be careful, too, because, you know, a prime example in New York â€¦ with the little model airplanes (the players play with in Oakland). That can be construed in the media. Some people arenâ€™t going to get it and be all over you. But there it was fun and we were the underdog and they loved that we were different from everybody else. Here itâ€™s a little more business-like.”
Rich asks: Everybody knows that you live in Las Vegas. Whatâ€™s your favorite place to go in Vegas?
Jason Giambi: “It depends what night. There are different places to go every single night. All my buddies run all the nightclubs. Iâ€™m not a gambler. Iâ€™ll gamble when my buddies come to town. But I like to just go out and have a good time.”
Tom asks: How did you get that scar on your upper lip?
Jason Giambi: “I was bit by a dog when I was a kid. My grandmother had a Scotty dog. I went to go pet it and kiss him on the face and he bit me.”
Samantha asks: Do you have a clause in your contract that you can drive motorcycles and fast cars?
Jason Giambi: “I used to in Oakland but I donâ€™t have one in New York.”
Follow up: Has there ever been one crazy thing youâ€™ve done that didnâ€™t want anybody to know about in terms of that?
Jason Giambi: “Iâ€™ve been bungee jumping â€¦ Iâ€™ve gone probably way too fast before. Iâ€™ve done that. Iâ€™ve hung out with like (Champ Car champion) Paul Tracy. I used to have a fast boat Iâ€™d go on. Iâ€™m not scared to go fast.”
John asks: Other than you, whoâ€™s the craziest guy in this clubhouse?
Jason Giambi: “Iâ€™d probably say Johnny (Damon).”
Follow up: And whoâ€™s the best guy to go get a beer with?
Jason Giambi: “It depends on what youâ€™re looking for. If you want to go look at pretty girls, you go out with Derek (Jeter), you know? Conversationalist? It would be probably Johnny to joke around. Heâ€™d be crazier. Those two guys.”
Kirsten asks: I heard your dog (Slugger) was being treated for cancer. How is he doing?
Jason Giambi: “Heâ€™s hanging in there. I donâ€™t know how heâ€™s doing it. Heâ€™s hanging in there. Heâ€™s a trooper.”
Tim asks: What are you listening to on your iPod these days?
Jason Giambi: “Iâ€™m like one of those guys that loves everything. From Nickelback to Kid Rock to Alice in Chains to things like that. I like all different types of music.”
Jon asks: What is your favorite restaurant in New York City?
Many people asked: In Oakland you hit to all fields. With the Yankees youâ€™ve pulled the ball a lot more. Would you want to get back to what you did before?
Jason Giambi: “Iâ€™d like to hit the ball more to all fields. But at the same time, a lot of it changed because of the way Yankee Stadium is configured. I would reach left center in Oakland. Where here, 400 feet is a long way away, especially early in the year when itâ€™d cold and the ballâ€™s not traveling. After a while you get tired of being booed so you pull the ball a little bit more.”
Shant asks: A lot of people believe you have one of the best batting eyes in the game. Do you do anything to train yourself or do any kind of vision exercises?
Jason Giambi: “Dr. (Bill) Harrison is a guy I work with. I met him a long time ago when I was in college. I do little eye exercises and things. A lot of it is when I was a kid growing up, my dad and I used to play a game when I was a kid. He would throw me a pitch and ask me where it was. I just kind of honed that in as I got older. Being around (Mark) McGwire and those guys, because he used to walk a lot. That was kind of really the theory of the Aâ€™s, which honed it in even more. Because I was really selective.”
Alexander asks: If you could have a beer with anybody in history, who would it be?
Jason Giambi: “History? Wow. I would probably say I have like â€¦ They always say who would be your four to go to dinner with? I always say Jackie Robinson would be one. Just to talk to him. Bambino to have a beer with. I mean, why not? I was close, I got a chance to hang out with Whitey Ford and the Mantle boys but I would love to hang out with Mickey. My last would be â€¦ ah, thatâ€™s good enough.”
Ben asks: Has there ever been a pitcher who intimidated you?
Jason Giambi: “No.”
Jimmy D: What player in baseball would you least like to get into a fight with?
Jason Giambi: “Least want to get in a fight with? Farnsy might be a guy. (Jason) Isringhausen. Heâ€™s like Baby Huey. Youâ€™d have to kill him to have him stop fighting. Those are it.”
A lot of people asked: Every time they show you on TV, your hair is always slicked back. Is it just wet or is it gel?
Jason Giambi: “A little bit of both. Itâ€™s just wet. Because when it gets long it just gets all in my face. So I lot of times what I do is wet it so I can roll it straight back, during the games. Itâ€™s sweaty and wet. A lot of people ask that. â€˜What gel do you use?â€™ ”
Rich asks: Youâ€™re one of the highest-paid players in the game this season. Do you look at that and say I need to do X-amount of things statistically to live up to that?
Jason Giambi: “You know what? And this is the honest-to-God true answer. I have never played this game one day for money. I always played because I wanted to be good. Thatâ€™s one of the things I was taught as a young player. That if you go play every single day like you want to be the best player in the game, then theyâ€™re going to give you the money. That will come hand-in-hand. Iâ€™ve seen a lot of guys whoâ€™ve gone the other way and played for money and they were miserable. Whatâ€™s why I enjoy the game so much, because I love to be out there every day. I know there are responsibilities that come when you have a high salary. But at the same time, I look at it like, hey, when I was winning the MVP and I was not making a lot of money, I still feel like Iâ€™m still the same player. You try and just be that big force in the middle. Sometimes your numbers are not what you want them to be, but as long as youâ€™re that presence.”
Kyle asks: If Bonds Breaks the home run record, should there be an asterisk next to his name?
Jason Giambi: “No, I donâ€™t think so. People forget that (hitting) a baseball is the hardest thing to do in any sport. Thereâ€™s nothing on this planet thatâ€™s going to make you hit a baseball.”
JK asks: When you retire do you think youâ€™d write a book about your experiences?
Jason Giambi: “Yeah, probably some day. That would be fun, trust me.”