Yankees slugger Jason Giambi took the opportunity to thank his personal physician and Hollywood as he was named the AL comeback player of the year on Thursday. Giambi, who battled tumors, parasites, and roid rages in 2004, was hitting around the Mendoza line early in the 2005 campaign. Giambi, whose weigh fell some where around his lousy batting average, turned in a Popeye-like performance over the last two-thirds of the season, as he belted home runs like he played for the American Dreams on the old Baseball Stars video game?
What was the reason for the seemingly overnight turn-around? Giambi said it was a trip to his doctor and an inspiration from one of his favorite movies of all-time, the James Caan vehicle, The Program. Giambi said that he turned away the doctor Barry Bonds prescribed and instead took the advice of Brady Anderson to get on the straight-and-narrow.
"You look at a guy like Brady Anderson and he is somebody who did things the right way," Giambi said. "You never heard his name mentioned in connection with steroids. You never heard of him coming out and belting 50 home runs in a season out of the blue. That dude was all natural."
Giambi also noted that he was inspired by the Steve Lattimer character in the movie portrayed by Andrew Bryniarski. Giambi said that he really could identify with the struggles of Lattimer and knew what it was like to be in a similar situation.
"The dude did not take no for an answer," Giambi said. "In the end, he knows what he has to do to make himself the best, and he does it with no regard to his long-term health. That is certainly the right way to do things."