Former Baltimore outfielder Jay Gibbons appears to be back on the right track.
Gibbons, who admitted to using human growth hormone, was released by the Orioles in March. Since then the 31-year-old has contacted all 30 major league teams looking for a job. On Wednesday ESPN published a copy of a letter Gibbons sent to each club in which he took responsibility for his actions and offered to prove himself in the minors.
According to the article, Gibbons received a smattering of responses from clubs, but no offers. Tired of waiting, or simply facing the reality that his name is too toxic right now, Gibbons appears ready to give the independent Atlantic League a shot.
The Baltimore Sun reported in today’s edition that Gibbons expects to play for a New York or New Jersey club, a list that would appear to include Newark, Somerset, Camden and Long Island. It’s a good move by Gibbons. The Atlantic League is where he belongs.
It’s wonderful that Gibbons raised himself a rung or two higher than others mentioned in the Mitchell Report by admitting he cheated. But that admission does not carry automatic absolution.
Set aside the perception that major league teams have privately conspired not to sign players named in the Mitchell Report. Why would any organization want the negative publicity associated with signing Gibbons? What team wants to appear to condone steroid use? Where’s the upside?
The Atlantic League is different. It has a history of providing opportunities to former major league players who’ve messed up their careers. If his talent is still there, Gibbons will have the chance to show he can still play in the major leagues.
No doubt major league clubs will be monitoring his progress. They may not want to be the first to sign him, but if Gibbons shows he can still play, some big league club won’t have a problem with being the second team to offer redemption.
Friday the 13th: Friday’s calendar date is providing all kinds of fodder for minor league promotions. There are several Halloween in June nights, and a few more honoring the movie: Friday the 13th. The winner of MinorLeagueDugout.com’s Promotion of the Day award really took it to the next level (You’ll have to check the main site to see what it is.)