Eric Chavez: Jeremy Giambi was safe

Forget about whether Derek Jeter was out of position on the famous flip play against Oakland in the 2001 ALDS. From Eric Chavez's vantage point -- a seat in the A's dugout after flying out to center -- Jeremy Giambi should have been called safe on the play.

"It was a great play, but there's no way he should have been called out,'' Chavez said. "He was safe completely.''

And there was no doubt about who Chavez thought was to blame. "Jeremy was the slowest guy on the team,'' he said. "(Eric) Byrnes should have been (pinch)running. That's what he did that year.''

Which points the finger of blame squarely at manager Art Howe, who has already had a tough 2011, having been portrayed as sort of a clueless oaf in the movie "Moneyball'' by Phillp Seymour Hoffman.

Interestingly, however, Chavez exonerated Giambi for going into the plate standing up, which seemed to make it easier for Jorge Posada to slap the tag on him. “Everybody said if he would have slid, he woulda been safe,'' Chavez said. "But the fact that he actually stood up and hit the plate was 50-50. If he slid, I think he would have been more out for sure.”

Chavez also agreed with Bobby Valentine that he, too, didn't believe the Yankees actually practiced the play -- until he got here last spring. "I heard they didn't start practicing it until the year after it happened,'' he said. "When I heard it I thought there's no way you practice this. But we did it last year too and I was like, 'Oh God, they do practice this.' So I guess they do."