Jason Giambi says Astros cheating scandal 'is no different than the PEDs,' but here's the problem with that

Sporting News

Jason Giambi is bringing the juice.

The former MLB slugger is no stranger to scandals, being one of the posterboys for steroid use in MLB during the Steroid Era. Giambi was outed as a steroid user during the BALCO scandal in the early 2000s and wouldn't issue a public apology for his part in the ordeal until May 2007.

In a recent interview on SNY's "Baseball Night in New York," Giambi laid out exactly where PEDs and sign-stealing fall along the lines of cheating.

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"Everybody is always looking for an advantage,” Giambi said. "It’s no different than the PEDs. There’s always going to be things going in this game when you’re talking about people making a lot of money and wanting to win."

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The first part is pretty accurate. Cheating in baseball isn't a new concept. Babe Ruth allegedly tried to gain an edge by injecting an elixer with sheep testicles. (No, really!)

But, there's a problem with the second bit of the quote. On its surface, cheating is cheating, sure. But it's like comparing a donut on a baseball bat as one you'd buy at Dunkin' Donuts (or Krispy Kreme, if you prefer).

That's just about where the similarities end, though. Comparing something individualistic to something that was widespread among a team is unfair. Which is worse is up for debate.

As with steroids, there's no straight, unbiased measurement of success. Does it benefit a player to know what's coming? Absolutely. Can you accurately, appropriately measure what that value is to a hitter? People have tried, but it's not as cut and dry as knowing a ball over the fence is a home run.

To this day the details of just who on the Astros was benefiting from the trashcan-banging ordeal (words that I still can't believe I have to write) are still murky. Some players were in on it, some preferred not to partake. It's all a big gray area. At least with steroids, we know Giambi wasn't injecting other players before games. (Or, so we hope not.)

Through the years, Giambi has resuscitated his public image while fostering a reputation of being a well-respected clubhouse man and potential future MLB manager. Hopefully members of the Astros are afforded the same opportunity.

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