It’s simple; Jay Gibbons is at a distinct crossroads in his life. It’s decision time and this is a big one – which can have lifelong implications for the embattled slugger. That’s right, it’s “gut check” time.
On Friday, the Florida Marlins thwarted Gibbons’ latest comeback bid when he was released halfway through spring training. This latest cut must be serving as a very sobering reality for the former Orioles outfielder. How many more times can he handle this?
In a span of less than 12 months, Jay Gibbons has been spurned by three (3) Major League Baseball teams and with each gut-wrenching and agonizing episode, he’s gotta be coming to terms with an ever growing suspicion ….. he’s just not good enough.
So, what does he do ???
The good news – and it’s very GOOD NEWS – is Jay Gibbons won’t be under immediate pressure to scan classifieds and build his resume’ in a job market that’s home to millions of unemployed professionals. Nope, he’s truly set for life, financially.
Don’t dismiss Gibbons’ economic godsend with trivial quotes, like “money isn’t everything” or “you can’t buy happiness,” either. Try selling these lines to the guy who can’t afford his mortgage or to provide for his wife and kids. Uh-huh, Jay Gibbons is a very lucky guy and he’s in an enviable position.
“Jay Gibbons in an enviable position” ….. you didn’t think these words would ever be strung together, again, huh? Say what you will, but financial security opens the doors to many life fulfilling opportunities and it makes “dream chasing” a reality, instead of a mere pipedream.
After all, Jay Gibbons has been chasing his dreams and passionate desires for the last year, right? Why would a guy who counts his MILLION$ in multiple amounts resort to riding buses and shagging for the Long Island Ducks? While many people may question Gibbons’ potential, there is little to prove from his heart’s perspective.
So, as he mulls his future and tries to decide what he wants, I’ll suggest there are two distinct paths for Jay Gibbons …..
First, he could do exactly what Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro have mastered. That’s right, fade into anonymity and live a comfortably independent life. Throngs of dissenting purists can and do admonish McGwire and Raffy, daily. But, they can afford anything they want and have security for life.
That’s right, when the alarm clock sounds in the Palmeiro house, Raffy won’t be hurrying to woof down some breakfast and quickly escape to a Monday morning commute as a middle-aged “9 to 5er.” And the same perk goes to Big Red ….. as he spends his days doing whatever he desires, in the San Diego area.
Jay Gibbons can have this comfy life. In fact, he could choose to pursue other passions, too. I’m still waiting for the first “Steroid Era” player, with infamous connections, to surface as a media personality. America forgives – fans forgive and they love a comeback, even if it’s in a different arena.
What am I talking about? Look at Ed Norris – he’s one of the most popular media personalities, in Baltimore. He has a distinct following and people are attracted to his infamy. The same can be said for Ollie North, Dick Morris, Michael Irvin and others.
When will the first baseball player, with tangible ties to the steroid era step forward and make the most of this grand opportunity? Don’t misunderstand the message, I’m not suggesting that a former player should pull a “Jose Canseco” and use the platform of an open microphone to spew salacious accounts regarding former colleagues.
Being a RAT ON THE RADIO would be the last thing Jay Gibbons or others would need as they move on with their lives. However, they certainly have an insight and experiences that make them attractive to the impressionable ear or eye. One of these guys needs to grab the torch.
Back to Gibbons’ immediate plight …..
Regardless of what he does with his life off the baseball field, Jay Gibbons needs to decide if his name has appeared on a lineup card for the final time. If he’s willing to call it a career, he has options and plenty of ‘em.
However, if Jay Gibbons still wants to play baseball, I’ll suggest he has a very tough decision. Enter the second road Gibbons can select. It’s become logical to assume Gibbons does not sport the overall talent and skills to grace a Major League Baseball field – at least from a “clean” perspective.
Now, before you dismiss me, just consider this …..
If Jay Gibbons suddenly found his swing and started showing the potential of 2002 thru 2005, would it matter? If he latches on with the Pittsburgh Pirates and leads their 2009 roster with 25 homers, what will everyone say?
“Must be juicing, again” ….. right?
Jay Gibbons is in a NO WIN situation. If he fails and gets cut for a 4th time in the last year, he’ll be dismissed as a guy who can’t produce without performance enhancing help. And, if he succeeds with his next suitor, the critics will raise a discerning eye and voice. Bet on that.
So, if he’s gonna be accused, why not find a way to mask the urine results and start stacking? In fact, it’s prudent to suggest Jay Gibbons needs this benefit if he wants to succeed at the highest level. And, don’t dismiss this suggestion with any integrity-laden rubbish. Do you think baseball players are no longer using steroids and HGH?
Perhaps, if Jay Gibbons wants to play Major League Baseball, he should have a look in the mirror and consider whether he really needs performance-enhancing drugs to succeed at the game’s highest level. At some point, he’s gotta be honest with himself.
Gibbons shouldn’t worry about getting caught or any resulting reputations. His public image is shot and it’s been unsalvageable since George Mitchell outed him. He’s always going to be linked to this era and that’s undeniable. He might as well use the very substances that help, because he’s gonna be linked to them, anyway.
If Jay Gibbons really wants to play baseball, this is a consideration. I understand there are potential health risks and that’s a personal decision. For me, the risk would be enough to say “NO.” But, I would’ve walked away from the game and hung out with McGwire and Palmeiro, a year ago.
Gibbons didn’t walk away then ….. and he probably won’t walk away now. So, he has some decisions to make and one of them undoubtedly involves the very substances that got him in this mess ….. but, these same substances got him those MILLION$, as well.
It’s “gut check” time …..