Players eager spectators

BOB ELLIOTT -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

They watched real-life reality TV across North America.

The Blue Jays in camp watched it in the lunch room and in the weight room at the Bobby Mattick Complex.

Across the bridge in Tampa, only minor-leaguers showed at the New York Yankees complex where half a dozen major leaguers had been the day before.

The Jays who have yet to arrive watched from home.

"I don't know what kind of steps they are going to take after this, but I don't think people's opinions changed that much from what I heard and saw," said Vernon Wells. The Jays centre fielder watched most of the Brian McNamee-Roger Clemens Congressional hearing from his home in Arlington, Tex.

"If you didn't believe Roger going in, you still don't believe him," Wells said, "and if you believed Roger before, you probably still believe in what he's saying."

Wells became a Blue Jay after McNamee left as a strength coach and only knows Clemens from across the diamond.

"Obviously both of them had things they'd rather do than answer questions, but they put themselves in that position," Wells said. "When you have an opportunity to prove your innocence you should do it."

Investigators for the Mitchell Report said they asked Clemens to be interviewed and answer questions before releasing the report. Clemens said he was not aware of any requests.

"Everyone had a chance to defend themselves," Wells said. "If (Clemens) had the chance he might have avoided (this) situation.

"In today's court of public opinion you're guilty until proven innocent. That's not the way it should be, but unfortunately that's the way it is."

Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan watched from the weight room.

Catcher Sal Fasano entered the Jays clubhouse around noon after watching the hearings on TV.

"It's obvious someone is lying," said Fasano. "I'd say Clemens is doing better than Mark McGwire did a few years ago."

When McGwire testified he continually said "I'm not hear to talk about the past." He didn't lie but he resembled an accused mobster taking the Fifth Amendment.

"The government is going easy on people who tell the truth," Fasano said. "Look at Andy Pettitte. He used HGH but they aren't going after him.

"It's difficult for the government to steer kids away from steroids. The kids see players signing a $7-million contract of whatever."

DEMPSTER A BOLD CANUCK

Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster of Gibsons, B.C., took on the role of prognosticator yesterday in Mesa, Ariz.

"I think we are going to win the World Series. I really do," he said.

That's a bold prediction before the start of a season that marks the 100th anniversary of the Cubs' last World Series winner.

BRIEFLY

Erik Bedard of Navan, Ont., is scheduled to start on opening day for the Seattle Mariners, who acquired the left-hander last week ... Colorado Rockies reliever Matt Herges and first base coach Glenallen Hill, who were implicated in the Mitchell Report, issued written apologies for using performance-enhancing drugs ... Right-hander Kris Benson agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

-- With files from Sun wire services


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