February 27 2010, 10:40 AM
Slugger Jason Giambi helped the Colorado Rockies make a strong push down the stretch and into the playoffs last year. But after the season was over, he wanted to go back to the American League, where he could be a designated hitter and come off the bench in key situations. It turns out none of the AL teams really want him, so he's come back to the Rockies, telling MLB.com even though it's not his first choice, he's glad he'll be playing in Denver again. Giambi brings years of experience and the ability to mentor teammates---everyone from stars like Troy Tulowitzki and Todd Helton to young guns like Eric Young Jr. He also brings a personality that helps keep things humorous during the long grind of summer and fall baseball. He famously wore a golden thong during hitting slumps while playing with the Yankees and shared it with teammates when they were struggling (via New York Daily News). None of the Rockies have admitted to wearing the golden T-bar yet, but if it's worked for star players like Giambi, Derek Jeter, and Johnny Damon, why not? Beyond the goofy, the Denver Post's Troy Renck says the value of Giambi's presence on the team can't really be quantified. Tulowitzki demanded Giambi's locker be placed next to his, adding that Giambi's advice has been unequivocal. Pitcher Huston Street says although Giambi has a larger-than-life personality and public profile, in the clubhouse he's really just one of the guys and never acts like he's better than anyone else. Renck points out that although Giambi may love his role as elder statesman and clubhouse sage, there is a larger motivating factor. "We better kick some [butt] this year," Giambi says. "I didn't come here to finish second. I came back to win a championship."