10/26/2003 1:44 AM ET
Giambi's season ends on sour note
Series loss closes year of injuries, slumps for slugger
NEW YORK -- When Jason Giambi celebrated his first American League pennant, he said it was the ultimate feeling he had ever felt in baseball. Saturday, the Yankees' slugger experienced one of the biggest disappointments of his career, losing his first Fall Classic to the Florida Marlins.
By Mark Feinsand / MLB.com
Giambi, who had never gotten past the first round of the playoffs in his nine-year career, batted .235 with one home run and one RBI in the six-game series, starting five of the contests. He was not in the lineup for Game 5, as his injured knee prevented him from playing in the field.
"I wanted to win. I'm greedy. I wanted it all," Giambi said. "It doesn't make me any happier that I got out of the first round or got to the World Series. It probably hurts more to get this far and walk away with nothing."
Giambi went 0-for-2 with a walk in the final game of the year, capping off a season filled with slumps and injuries for the 32-year-old. Giambi battled through an eye infection, as well as knee and hamstring injuries, batting .250 with a team-leading 41 home runs and 107 RBIs this season.
He wasn't the only one who battled injuries, as Derek Jeter, Nick Johnson, Bernie Williams and Mariano Rivera all spent significant time on the disabled list. With that many star players out for extended periods of time, Giambi said that losing to the Marlins was even harder for him.
"It's unfortunate after what this team did to get here, all the adversity, not to walk away with a World Series title," Giambi said. "It makes it a disappointing season."
Josh Beckett, who walked away with World Series MVP honors, dominated the Yankees in the final game of the season, but Giambi was proud of the way his teammates fought to the bitter end.
"We left it on the field every night. We can live with that. You just have to tip your cap to Josh Beckett. He threw a great game," Giambi said. "Even in the last inning, we believed we could come back. We just needed one guy on base to start. Nobody among us thought we didn't have a chance."
Unfortunately for Giambi, his season ended in the on-deck circle, as Jorge Posada grounded out to give the Marlins their second World Series title in seven years. Giambi, who will soon undergo arthroscopic knee surgery, watched Florida celebrate for a moment before disappearing into the clubhouse, beginning another long winter of reflection.
"I wanted us to get to tomorrow and for us to be the ones doing that," Giambi said of the celebration. "It was definitely emotional. We had our chances, we just couldn't come up with that big hit. We had the opportunity to walk away every night with a win, they just did a good job against us. They got the big hit in the extra-inning game. They went out and beat us."
Giambi knows that the 2004 Yankees will look somewhat
different from this year's club, starting with Roger Clemens' retirement. As much as the ringless players such as Giambi and Mike Mussina longed for their first title, Giambi said that the team was trying to send Clemens out on the highest of notes.
"It's definitely sad," he said. "I think everyone here wanted to win this for Roger, let him ride off into the sunset with another World Series title. With all that he's meant to baseball, we wanted that for him."
As for the other potential changes that could take place this offseason, Giambi said that he would like to see the core of this group remain together for another run at a championship.
"This team got put together late, and we just started to come together. Unfortunately, we ran out of games. It would be nice for us to have another run at it," Giambi said. "I'm sure there will be some changes. They'll do what they think they have to in order to guarantee a winner."
Mark Feinsand is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was
not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.