Mark McGwire Says The Sky Is Blue
NEW YORK — Mark McGwire finally came clean Monday, admitting he used steroids when he broke baseball’s home run record in 1998.
McGwire said in a statement sent to The Associated Press on Monday that he used steroids on and off for nearly a decade.
“I wish I had never touched steroids,” McGwire said in a statement. “It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
McGwire also used human growth hormone, a person close to McGwire said, speaking on condition of anonymity because McGwire didn’t include that detail in his statement.
McGwire’s decision to admit using steroids was prompted by his decision to become hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, his final big league team. Tony La Russa, McGwire’s manager in Oakland and St. Louis, has been among McGwire’s biggest supporters and thinks returning to the field can restore the former slugger’s reputation.
“I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come,” McGwire said. “It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected.”
He became the second major baseball star in less than a year to admit using illegal steroids, following the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez last February.
Others have been tainted but have denied knowingly using illegal drugs, including Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and David Ortiz.
This has been the least surprising news to break since Sisqo admitted he was gay. Oh, he hasn’t admitted that yet? Well, nevermind, but you get my drift. This was widely known. That McGwire picked today to spill the beans raises interesting questions. The first question I asked is “why now?” Because he got a job as the hitting coach for the Cardinals and knew he would be inundated with questions from the press on a daily basis? Probably, and the ESPN article certainly suggests that such may be the case.
I wonder, though, if any other factors contributed to his decision. If I was in McGwire’s shoes, I’d consider it this way: There was a Steroids Era and I played in it. Period. Anyone that doesn’t fully acknowledge that this was a widespread thing that touched a lot of players is probably, well, Mark McGwire prior to today. Having said that, Major League Baseball is going to have to figure out a way to move forward from all this. I’m specifically talking about the Hall Of Fame implications here.
Before I begin, let me just say that I think the Hall Of Fame should choose the BEST and GREATEST players. PERIOD. The baseball writers who make the decisions should crunch numbers and make an objective determination. That’s it. By the way, you can read an excellent opinion piece on how there are cheaters from different eras in baseball here. But more on that in a future post.
583 home runs; 1,400+ RBIs; 12 time all-star; slugged almost .600 and had an on-base percentage of nearly .400; did I mention FIVE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THREE HOME RUNS? This is first ballot stuff, and the man is on ballot #4 and he hasn’t even cracked 25%. It’s not looking good. And the clear reason–and many of the beat writers responsible for voting players in have made this clear–is the steroid cloud.
It’s not just him, either. Nobody that’s been accused of taking steroids, or had evidence presented which affirms such a charge, stands a chance. But something is happening. Remember, this was the Steroids Era! That means there are hundreds of players that were using performance enhancing drugs. Hundreds! Including great names like Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, and now Mark McGwire. There are many who I haven’t mentioned, and even more whose names haven’t yet surfaced. Too many players took part in steroid use for owners and other baseball powers-that-be to get a pass. Commissioner included. The case I’m trying to make is that at some point baseball is going to have to stop pointing the fingers at the players and accept the fact that everyone is culpable; from commissioner to player. From there, there needs to be the realization that you cannot possibly keep these MLB greats out of the Hall Of Fame because of the unfortunate steroid culture they happened to have played in.
Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.
I’m sure a lot of these players that were are saying the same thing. And I’m sure he honestly means that. What an awful time to
be a baseball player. But getting back to Big Mac, I think these factors weighed on his decision. At the end of the day, the one thing that separates him from David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez, besides that they are still playing and have an opportunity to “redeem themselves” and he does not, is the fact that they came clean (term used loosely, particularly for Big Papi) and he hasn’t. If the time comes when people who admitted to using steroids are allowed into the HOF, and I believe it will happen, who do you think the writer’s are more likely to choose? The baseball greats who came clean (albeit because their name showed up on a list that got out) or the stubborn player who, although it was common knowledge, refused to come clean? I think we know the answer. I think Mark McGwire knows the answer as well. This is the first step to not only get the questions to stop, but also to salvage his last chance into the hall.
Now if only Barry Bonds were as smart.
I also plan on going over what the legal implications are for Mr. McGwire. The man did go to Congress and put his hands over his ears every time a steroids question came up.
Oh, and… can Pete Rose get in now? No? Okay.