Bonds and the Fonz

DAVE 'CRASH' CAMERON -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:55 AM ET

As a member of the media, I deeply regret my role in making your life so miserable. Sincere apologies. Please send a cheque.

It was the collective word from baseball-player nation to the U.S. congressional hearing: "We didn't take no stereos!"

Was that Ben Johnson sitting alongside Curt Schilling, Rafael Palmiero and the gang? No, that was Sammy ("I no speak English") Sosa.

But, as a longtime Oakland A's fan, it was the human drama that had me glued to the tube beaming that day from Washington, D.C.

There was a loud silence between former Bash Brothers Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire. Canseco twitched and McGwire melted down. The former with a reputation that has nothing more to lose, the latter having his shattered. It was like the Fonz had ratted out on Richie Cunningham. And he couldn't even say "Fonzie made me do it."

You always figured Fonz had a dark side. For Richie - McGwire - darkness set in. Don't do steroids. You'll grow up to be Jose Canseco.

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The romanticisim of baseball on Opening Day has always been that hope springs eternal.

Hope that this is the year that the Boston Red Sox can finally break the curse and win the World Series.

It can happen.

So we will forget for now that the word steroid is threatening to become an official statistic. We'll forget for now that some teams have strength in number$$$ - and most don't. We'll forget all that and envision whoever it is now wearing our favourite uniforms running out onto the field in October and mobbing the guy who caught the last out. (And then wrestling him for the souvenir before contacting E-bay.)

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Some random thoughts on 2005:

NEW YORK YANKEES: The Big Unit means big plans in the Big Apple. Start cutting the ticker tape. George just bought another batch of rings. Expect big numbers from A-Rod.

BOSOX: How much blood can you squeeze from Curt Schilling's sock? Hard to catch lightning - or break curses - twice.

MINNESOTA TWINS: The best organization in the league. But still not the richest. That's why they are still replacing people, taking two steps forward and one step back. His left knee may his kryptonite, but Joe Maurer may be a young Superman. And Canadian kid Justin Morneau could be his Batman.

Now's the time for former Trapper Michael Cuddyer to settle in at third base and start putting up consistent numbers.

OAKLAND A's: Their smarter-is-better-than-richer theory will really be put to the test this year. But even if Tim Hudson and Mark Mulder were still wearing white shoes, dart-throwing B.C.-boy Rich Harden would be taking his next step to ace-dom.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS: With spunky kids surrounding silky CF Vernon Wells and solid (Canadian) citizen Corey Koskie at third, they could generate a lot of runs. But not near as many as the pitching staff will give up.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS: At last they didn't take Youppi! with them. Probabaly should have. Organization not off to a smart start by trading OF Juan Rivera and IF Maicer Isturuz for headcase OF Jose Guillen.

BEST IS WEST: Best player in baseball? Bonds? Albert Pujols? Vladdie Guerrero?

I've got one name for you (literally, one name): ICHIRO!!

NEXT GREAT JAPANESE IMPORT: White Sox 2B Tadahito Iguchi.

BEST NAME: Injured Devil Rays OF Rocco Baldelli.

GUY YOU WANT YOUR TEAM TO TRADE FOR: The D-Rays' Aubrey Huff.

CURSES: Kerry Wood's tricep, Mark Prior's elbow, the Chicago Cubs' past, present and future.

BEST OUTFIELD DEFENCE: Torii Hunter and the Twinkies.

BEST INFIELD DEFENCE: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Mets and Detroit Tigers. Ironically, Detroit may have the worst outfield defence. And if my brother Mike Cameron is injured, so will the Mets.

FUTURE STARS: Some may start in triple A, but you want to be these guys' agents - Mets 3B David Wright is the next Scott Rolen, A's reliever Huston Street is the next Troy Percival; Cleveland OF Grady Sizemore is the next Carlos Beltran and the Tampa's lefty Scott Kazmir, the next Victor Zambrano (this is a joke designed to make Mets fans ill).

'ROIDS NO, VIAGRA YES: While Raffy Palmiero himself may not be on something, his hair looks juiced.

COULD BE WORSE, COULD BE THE ILLINOIS WHITE SOX OF CHICAGO: Vlad aside, can you really cheer for the Los Angeles Ducks of Disneyland?

TEAM CANADA: Harden, Rockies' lefty Jeff Francis, Orioles prospect Adam Leowen, Dodgers' Robo-closer Eric Gagne on the mound; Larry Walker, Koskie, Morneau, the Pirates' Jason Bay at the plate ... bring on the World Cup!


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