In an interview with Prime Time Sports on Saturday, former MLB catcher Gregg Zaun said that his 16 year career would not have happened if it wasn’t for the physical abuse given to him when he was with Baltimore.
Allegedly, veterans Cal Ripken Jr, Ben McDonald, Brady Anderson, and Chris Hoiles taped him to the training table after he hit Hoiles in the head with a throw, and proceeded to beat him in his ribcage, and dumped a bucket of ice down his shorts, among other things.
“I’ll never forget it: I was out in the stretch circle, I played catch with Chris Hoiles every single day, and I lobbed the ball to him — and he was paying attention, but he pretended like he wasn’t. He head-butted the ball and all of a sudden I had what was called “the posse” all over me. Cal Ripken Jr, Ben McDonald, Brady Anderson, Chris Hoiles, all of the above. They beat me on my ribcage, physically abused me on my way to the training table. They taped me spread-eagle to the training table, they wrote “rookie” on my forehead with pink methylate, and they shoved a bucket of ice down my shorts. I missed the entire batting practice, and you know what? Phil Regan, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, he did not care, because he knew that what those guys were doing was ‘educating me.”
The abuse didn’t stop there, as the “education” continued later in camp.
“If I had a dollar for every time Cal worked me over, physically, I’d be a pretty wealthy guy. He still owes me a suit! He told me flat-out, he said, ‘You are never to come past this point into the back of the plane, under no circumstances.’ So, I’m in my first suit that I paid for myself as a Major League player, feelin’ real frisky, and Cal says, ‘I need you to come here.’ And all of a sudden I crossed over that imaginary barrier line. He tackled me, wrestled me to the ground. They had just got done eating a bunch of blue crabs in the back of the plane, so there was nothing but mud and Old Bay seasoning everywhere. He throws me to the ground and he tears my suit off of me, and I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ And he goes, ‘Remember when I said that under no circumstances do you come back here?’ I’m like, ‘Well you just told me to!’ ‘I said under no circumstances, and that includes when I ask you to come back here.'”
While the accusations are very troubling, even more so than the Miami Dolphins hazing scandal, the most troubling part is that Zaun, who is a broadcaster for Toronto, encouraged the same behavior in today’s game.
“So, these kind of things don’t happen anymore, but they need to happen more often. And they need to happen with the backing of the management, all the way up to the front office, down to the field manager. You have to allow your veteran players to create the atmosphere that they want in the clubhouse, because at the end of the day, when guys get along and they know their pecking order, and they know the hierarchy, everything seems to work out just fine.”
Further in the interview, he says that former Blue Jay Brett Lawrie felt a sense of entitlement young players haven’t earned, and by not sending a message, Jays veterans allowed his ego grow, according to Yahoo Sports.
Zaun’s thinking seems to live in the past, where it belongs. While bullying probably still happens, it rarely reaches this extent. Said Mark Townsend of Yahoo Sports, “The game doesn’t need (this kind of behavior), and it’s something children and impressionable young adults simply don’t need to hear.”