If you’re like us (and, God willing, you’re not), then you’re utterly exasperated by the ongoing steroid scandal in Major League Baseball. You’re puzzled that the United States Congress has nothing better to do than to interrogate multimillionaire athletes who might’ve used performance-enhancing drugs. Moreover, you’re wondering why, this past Wednesday morning, no fewer than three Canadian sports networks were showing live coverage of the Roger Clemens hearing. Is it really that important?
Regardless, the steroid scandal will be an intriguing subplot during the upcoming baseball season because of its reach and its potential ramifications. In Toronto, suspected ‘roid monkey Troy Glaus was shipped off to the St. Louis Cardinals…but Gregg Zaun, the other Blue Jay named in the infamous Mitchell Report, will be back behind the plate this coming year. Yesterday in Dunedin, FL, where the team’s Spring Training is under way, Zaun vehemently denied the accusations. Unfortunately, where steroids in Major League Baseball are concerned, you’re guilty until you’re proven innocent—and even then, we suspect the stigma will never quite go away. With Zaun it’s an especially poignant irony, given his well-documented (and successful) fight against alcoholism. We’re unabashed Blue Jay fans, and we know professional athletes are as fallible as anyone else…but in the case of Gregg Zaun, who’s always struck us as a really solid guy, we hope the accusations are unfounded.
Zaun’s travails have added spice to Toronto’s preparations for the 2008 season. With the Blue Jays struggling to displace the New York Yankees and the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox atop the American League East, it’s a distraction the team probably doesn’t need. On the other hand, maybe it’ll distract Toronto sports fans from the fact that the Maple Leafs currently sit 29th overall in a 30-team league. Given that fact, Opening Day can’t come nearly soon enough.
Photo by Eric Giberson.