Steroid talk all the rage in Florida

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:32 AM ET

DUNEDIN -- On our 21st annual first drive to the Bobby Mattick Complex, winter home of the Blue Jays, names of the streets, unlike the players, have not changed.

Carefree Lane.

Peaceful Lane.

Paradise Lane.

Leisure Lane.

Serenity Lane.

Continuing today in Washington, D.C. and throughout Arizona and Florida, baseball's steriod era matches on.

It's far from either carefree or peaceful.

It's not another day in paradise.

And the spring is not proceeding at a leisurely or serene pace.

"Everyone gets lumped into the same group in the steroid era, well not everyone was involved," Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay told reporters yesterday morning. "Some of this stuff (in the Mitchell Report) happened 10 years ago."

Some of this stuff was Jays strength coach Brian McNamee claiming he injected Roger Clemens with steroids on his way to a Cy Young award with the 1998 Jays.

Clemens and McNamee go one-on-one testifying before Congress this morning in Washington on can't-miss TV from Lakeland, Fla. to Tuscon, Az. and everywhere in between.

While Halladay was talking of the state of the game, catcher Gregg Zaun was not. Well, at least not about his inclusion in the Mitchell Report which stated Zaun, as a member of the Kansas City Royals, paid former New York Mets clubhouse attendent Kirk Radmonski for steriods in 2001.

Zaun said he would address the matter later in camp.

Halladay made two September starts in 1998, Clemens' second and final season with the Jays.

"I wouldn't say we were tight, but Roger was someone I admired for all he had done in the game," Halladay said. "I tried to watch him as close as possible. I admire Andy Pettitte too.

"You hope the best for everyone involved. You hope all the guys you have looked up for so long have done things the right way."

Halladay had praise for Clemens' legendary work ethic: arriving early, staying late, jogging the bicycle paths from Clearwater to north of Dunedin.

There were steroid questions inside the clubhouse yesterday like:

"What happened to the title of the hearings? Illegal Use of Steroids in Baseball. Now, it's McNamee, with zero credibility, versus a Hall of Fame pitcher? Period."

"Who is paying McNamee's lawyers?"

Halladay says things have been changed up with the new testing plan the union and management have in place. "Home runs were down (in 2007)," Halladay said, "but I don't know whether that's a lack of supplements or better pitching."

Eric Walker, a statistical analyst for 30 years and a deep thinker behind the Oakland A's Moneyball approach, has a website (steroids-and-baseball.com) with a thorough examination of the Mitchell Report and a look at the steroid era. It's worth a peak.

Halladay says it would be difficult now for a player to say "x%" of players took steroids, as Jose Canseco did when he claimed 80% of the players were guilty.

(We were wrong knocking that one as we figured bulking up couldn't help pitchers. But human growth hormones changed that viewpoint.)

"All the things that have been done (with testing) I don't think a lot of attention has been paid to the way things have been cleared up," Halladay said. "I don't see the impact of steriods on today's game."

Well, things may be cleaner, but Neifi Perez of the Tigers was suspended 80 games for a second offence.

Mike Cameron, Jose Guillen, Jay Gibbons and three others were suspended a total of 130 games in 2007.

"I have never taken a steroid," said Halladay, "I've never been offered or approached about taking any."


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