In the wake of Bud Selig publicly encouraging Jason Giambi to play nice with former Senator George Mitchell, the New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman observes the curious case of Yankee mouthpieces rushing to the defense of a player who is otherwise very deep in the organization’s doghouse.

Joe Girardi, the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network analyst, did not specifically accuse Bud Selig of blackmailing Jason (The Giambalco) Giambi, but he came awfully close.

This happened Wednesday night on YES (Yankees-White Sox, second inning). It happened right after Michael Kay (above) said the commissioner may have finally found the hammer he needs to force a player into providing information to George Mitchell’s snail-like steroids investigation.

“I just don’t like how (Selig’s) press release sounded,” Girardi said. “It’s, ‘If you (Giambi) don’t talk (to Mitchell) we’re threatening you.’ I just don’t like the way that sounds.”

“If they spent $30 million (on the Mitchell investigation) and the only guy they get to talk is Jason Giambi and find out Jason Giambi once used steroids, wow, that’s unbelievable,” Kay said on YES Wednesday night. “That’s money well spent….If they expect (Giambi) to flip, and give people’s names, I just don’t see that happening.”

Kay’s heavy sarcasm, and belief that Giambi would ultimately serve up pap to Mitchell, was echoed by other commentators. They also see Mitchell’s panel as a very expensive form of grandstanding by Selig and his cohorts. For some, Selig’s hardcore stance on Giambi is driven by a quest for a favorable legacy.

The battle of perception – not the steroid issue – has moved to center stage. For Selig and the Players Association, it seems to have taken on more importance than the real fight. In their own theater, the players and their union mobilized quickly, portraying Giambi as a victim of the process. This has become a familiar role for Giambi.

Someday Donald Fehr will present him with an Oscar.