Former professional baseball catcher Gregg Zaun claims that his former Baltimore Orioles teammates physically abused him, but he seemed to give them credit for his longevity in Major League Baseball. Zaun played for 16 years in the big leagues, playing for nine different teams during his career.
According to CBS Sports, Zaun’s comments come during an interview with “Prime Time Sports” on Sportsnet and 590-AM in Canada. He said he was a cocky kid when he played with the Orioles and his teammates, most notably Orioles’ legend Cal Ripken, Jr., helped him by knocking him off his pedestal.
“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, Ben McDonald, Brady Anderson, Chris Hoiles, all of the above.”
Zaun claims some of the Orioles management knew about the hazing, including then manager Phil Regan. Regan did nothing about the punishments as it was just a way of “educating me.” The former catcher, who is now a broadcaster with the Toronto Blue Jays, seems fine that the hazing happened to him and he seemed to speak in favor of it happening now.
“…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.”
According to the Comcast Sportsnet Baltimore, Zaun did later apologize for similar comments he made that also sounded as if they were in favor of hazing.
Zaun’s comments may cloud Ripken’s clean image for baseball fans, but as the abuse happened in the 1990s, it will probably never be investigated. As a recent story about Kurt Busch in the Inquisitr indicated, sports figures are under careful scrutiny now, and any wrongdoing can end their careers.
If this type of behavior is happening now, MLB needs to find out and put an end to it as it doesn’t put “America’s pastime” in a good light. This behavior also isn’t something that young players should expect from their peers when they make it to “the bigs.”
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