It would have been naive to believe the cloud of steroids would never touch the Blue Jays.
Now it has, but for this club, it's more than just an issue surrounding one ballplayer.
It adds to their credibility woes.
|Troy Glaus has been linked to a Florida pharmacy alleged to have illegally distributed performance-enhancing drugs to pro athletes.|
Attendance is basically flat at slightly better than 28,000 per game, better than it was in 2004 and 2005, slightly down from '06. As much as the Jays like to complain about having to compete against the BoSox and Yankees, the fact they can't convince their own fans to turn out in consistently greater numbers cuts into their revenue base.
Team performance is similarly stagnant. At 72-70, equalling last year's 87-win record is unlikely, and even tying the 80-win record of two years ago is going to require beating Tampa Bay once in a while.
So much was promised this year, and the injury excuse can only carry J.P. Ricciardi so far as his five-year plan moves into its second five years. Even the embattled Leaf GM John Ferguson always says, "You are what your record says you are."
Ricciardi, meanwhile, looked very, very bad earlier this season with his out-and-out fibbing over the B.J. Ryan story, and Paul Godfrey's insistence on backing up his GMs verbal contortions didn't make him look much better.
Basically, the two men agreed that lying to the fans through the media was okay in their books.
Now comes the Troy Glaus mess.
Sandwiched between ugly revelations involving St. Louis outfielder Rick Ankiel and Baltimore outfielder Jay Gibbons (a former Blue Jay farmhand), with the media apparently still doing all the digging, Glaus may have been outed at the very least as a player who was in possession of steroids from the controversial Signature Pharmacy at a time when baseball had finally got around to making them illegal.
Interestingly, the Glaus allegations are getting a lot of traction in the San Francisco area when Barry Bonds is god but people now want to know if Glaus was on the juice when he won World Series MVP honors in '02 as part of an Angels team that beat the Giants.
So far, Glaus has said nothing. Ricciardi has said nothing. Godfrey, uncharacteristically, has been silent.
A stonewall? Are these guys serious? In a market that is clearly still lukewarm towards them despite all the efforts to remake the ballpark and create a new (if rather phony) team philosophy of being the Oakland A's east, this is no time for these people to go silent.
If Glaus has a case to make for himself, he should make it. The one approach that no athlete has ever really tried is just coming clean. How the fans at the dome react to him when the team returns home will be interesting. These are same folks who have booed Jason Giambi mightily and forced Rafael Palmeiro to wear ear plugs, after all.
Ricciardi, meanwhile, has to try and convince the world that he had no knowledge that he was fooled into buying a possible steroid user when Glaus was acquired. And Godfrey has to somehow spin this favourably to a Jays public that is getting rather fatigued over promises and more promises from a baseball team that used to play with the big clubs.
Go with the Mark McGwire approach if you want, boys. But for the Jays, this isn't just about Troy Glaus, and it isn't just about steroids.