Apparently Mark McGwire was finally ready to talk about the past. The man they call Big Mac came clean today. Eleven years after smashing Roger Maris’ single season homer record, 8 years after retiring from MLB and 5 years after clamming up in front of Congress McGwire finally spilled the beans on the worst kept secret in sports. He used steroids for over a decade.
Stop it! No you didn’t! Next you’re going to tell me that the Tooth Fairy is a hoax and chocolate is delicious.
I think it’s fair to say that most baseball fans were pretty sure that McGwire had used steroids. I remember going to see the A’s play the Orioles at Memorial Stadium in the late 80’s with my Dad. We went early to watch the Bash Brothers take batting practice. As we stood there watching the twin behemoths (Canseco and McGwire) rocket balls out of the old ballpark my Dad and I spoke openly about how the two of them were clearly “on something” because people just don’t get that big naturally. I was about 13 at the time and not only knew that the Bash Brothers were on steroids, but that they were idiots for doing it and would either die a terrible death (ie: Lyle Alzado) or find their testicles in their loafers one day.
McGwire came clean today out of necessity. He’s now the Cardinals Hitting Coach and clearly had to address the steroid issue before becoming a circus act during Spring Training. McGwire still deflected blame by suggesting that he only used steroids in an effort to recover from injuries so that he could justify his multi-million dollar contract. How about earning the contract in the first place Mark? Or the endorsement contracts and adoration of legions of fans? Why not just come out and say “I wanted to hit home runs and make a lot of money. I did both of those things but cheated in order to do so. I shamed myself and my family and I’ll regret my actions for as long as I live.”
I think the most appalling, though not surprising, comment of the day came from Used Car Salesman/Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig when he commended McGwire for his “statement of contrition”. Hey Bud, whatever happened to the best interest of baseball? Selig should be condemning McGwire for using a banned substance and only admitting to it to get a job with the Cardinals. Of course, as the architect and one of the chief beneficiaries of the “Steroid Era” Selig is more inclined to thank McGwire than condemn him.