It’s Lucky Baby! Jason Giambi’s golden thong
The key to turning the Yankees season around could be under Jason Giambi’s pinstriped pants.
The Yankee slugger revealed Friday he slips on a gold lamé thong with a flame-line waistband when he’s trying to get out of a hitting slump – and he’s shared it with his teammates.
“It works every time,” Giambi told the Daily News after his secret was outed on Portfolio.com.
Derek Jeter agreed that Giambi’s thong works, although “it’s so uncomfortable running around the bases.”
“I had it over my shorts and stuff,” he said. “I was 0-for-32 and I hit a homer on the first pitch. That’s the only time I’ve ever worn it.”
Johnny Damon also admitted donning the golden panties “probably three times.”
“I may need to wear it again soon,” said Damon, who is batting a mediocre .255.
What is the secret of Giambi’s golden thong?
“You’re not worrying about your hands or your balance at the plate,” Damon said. “You’re worried about the uncomfortable feeling you’re receiving.”
In the earlier interview with Portfolio.com, Giambi claimed he also hung his thong in the lockers of teammates Bernie Williams, Robin Ventura and Robinson Cano when they had trouble generating runs.
“I only put it on when I’m desperate to get out of a big slump,” Giambi said.
The News showed its support for the sagging Yankees by delivering 26 golden thongs to the clubhouse – one for every player on the team and manager Joe Girardi.
Damon accepted his with a smile, saying, “I will definitely wear it if I can.”
The Yanks need something – they scored just six runs so far this week and are mired in the cellar despite having the biggest payroll in baseball.
Giambi – whose 2008 salary, $23.4 million, is the second highest in the majors – is struggling. He’s hitting .181 with 7 homers and just 20 RBI.
While Giambi’s silky secret may come as a shock to his fans, it wasn’t news to his teammates.
“Whoever is on slumps, puts it on,” catcher Jorge Posada admitted yesterday. “I don’t know if it works. I haven’t worn it yet.”
Posada added that “a lot of players have worn it,” but he didn’t name names. Asked if the thong got washed between wearings, he gave a cringe-worthy answer. “Ask Jason,” said Posada. “Jason is a little strange.”
Yankee outfielder Bobby Abreu recoiled and threw his arms up in the air when a reporter waved a variation of Giambi’s shiny underwear in his face.
“I don’t know anything about that,” Abreu insisted, though his bulging eyes said otherwise.
The question that appeared to get Abreu’s boxers in a bunch made Mets catcher Brian Schneider chuckle before last night’s Subway Series opener was rained out.
“There’s no thongs being passed around the Mets,” Schneider said. “Everybody’s got their own lucky charm.”
Giambi said the thong gets washed between wearings and he’s had it since 1996, when he played for the Oakland Athletics. He said the company that provided him with undergarments made it for him as a joke – and he’s been sharing the joke with his teammates ever since. The lucky undies were hanging in his locker yesterday.
“You’ve got to come and ask for it,” he said. “That’s the way it works.”
Giambi’s performance-enhancing trick ranks as one of the flashiest in a sport rife with superstitions, but the 37-year-old slugger is probably not the first ballplayer to boost his game by wearing offbeat undergarments.
Baseball lore is rife with stories about superstitious players wearing lucky boxers, or lucky T-shirts, or lucky socks – over and over again.
In the movie “Bull Durham,” up-and-coming pitcher Nuke LaLoosh (played by Tim Robbins) was talked into wearing a black garter belt.
That way, LaLoosh explained, he can “keep one side of my brain occupied when I’m on the mound, thus keeping the other side slightly off-center, which is where it should be for artists and players.”
In the Portfolio.com interview, Giambi didn’t explain his thinking behind the thong, but then that’s not his style.
The hard-partying, heavy-metal-loving, strip-joint-frequenting, Penthouse-reading Giambi said he is a Yankee cut from the Mickey Mantle mold.
Giambi bragged that his teammates called him a “modern-day Mick because I could play all day and party all night.”