The Blue Jays have a long history with Gregg Zaun as a player, and now a commentator. At times, the relationship between Zaun and the players has a real, love-hate angle.
During last Sunday’s game between the Blue Jays and Angels, after Marcus Stroman put forth a complete game beauty of a performance, Gregg Zaun made it perfectly clear that he was none too pleased with the way Stroman went about celebrating the victory immediately after the final out was recorded.
As soon as the cameras had cut from the on-field coverage and went to Zaun and Jamie Campbell, Zaun could be seen shaking his head before going off on what he construed as an over the top and unnecessary way to celebrate a win. Did Stroman’s celebration go a little overboard? Yeah, it did, but in all fairness, Zaun and other old-school thinkers probably made a bigger deal of it than was really necessary.
Despite such a special performance by Stroman, Zaun made a point of focusing most of his post-game analysis on how a professional ball player should go about behaving after winning a ball game. When Stroman got word that Zaun had ripped him on national television however, he responded on Twitter with the following:
Fans of the Blue Jays can take Zaun’s comments any which way they like. And even though his response to Stroman’s post-game celebration was overly harsh, what can’t be ignored is that the Godfather of baseball, Albert Pujols, who just happens to be one of the more outspoken players when it comes to the etiquette of the game, had come to the edge of the Angels dugout and shot quite the look over at Stroman, as if to say “ease up on the celebration young man.”
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Players on the Blue Jays getting upset with Zaun over things he says about them on national TV is nothing new. It’s something that’s actually been going on for years now. And what do you expect, Zaun is outspoken, says it like he sees it, and has the ears of millions of fans tuning in to hear his opinion.
A few years back, in one of the first tiffs between a player and Zaun, then Toronto catcher, J.P. Arencibia had some choice words about Zaun for his assessment of Arencibia’s play. The strange thing about Arencibia’s comments though, other than the fact that he’d come out and publicly vent his frustration like this, was that Zaun was just saying what the majority of fans already knew. Which was that Arencibia was not the catcher the Blue Jays had hoped he’d become, and that he should no longer be starting for Toronto. It wasn’t too long after this feud that Toronto passed on re-signing Arencibia.
As fans, we have to ask ourselves what kind of baseball analyst we really want. Do you want someone who’s going to sugarcoat everything and never be critical of players (even when it’s deserved)? Or would you prefer someone like Zaun, who speaks his mind, and usually isn’t too far off the mark with his assessment…even if he does have a tendency of being a bit heavy handed at times, much like he was with Stroman this past weekend.