Blog Entry

McGwire's confession a long time coming

Posted on: January 11, 2010 4:10 pm

The most human, powerful and, yes, tragic part of Mark McGwire's eight-paragraph confession Monday was in this single sentence: "Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era."

We're lucky or unlucky by birth, some circumstances being laid out for us that either help us along the way or present obstacles for us to overcome. We can't choose our era any more than we can choose our skin color.

We can -- and must -- however, make smart and correct choices within whatever circumstances we're dealt.

In baseball's corner of the world, in this time and place, the temptation was too much for both McGwire and for hundreds of others. The 1998 season was a sham, an entire era was built on lies. The record book is warped, legends from the past have had their numbers diminished as a result and we're going to be hearing confessions like the one McGwire delivered Monday for years. The stain is permanent, no matter how many apologies -- timely or belated -- are delivered.

Five years ago in front of Congress, it wasn't time for McGwire to discuss the past.

Now, on the eve of McGwire accepting one of Tony La Russa's persistent invitations to become the Cardinals' hitting coach, times have changed.

We never knew for certain whether this day would come for McGwire, though we pretty much knew everything he copped to -- steroid use on and off for more than a decade, including during the '98 season.

The most telling thing of all was in how carefully orchestrated this entire chain of events was on Monday. McGwire doing a phone interview with the Associated Press, the Cardinals issuing his statement, the careful revelation that McGwire phoned Commissioner Bud Selig and La Russa on Monday, another St. Louis-issued statement with pre-fabricated quotes from Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr., general manager John Mozeliak and La Russa, an early evening sit-down interview with Bob Costas and McGwire on the MLB Network.

Then there was La Russa telling ESPN's Baseball Tonight that he's "really encouraged that [McGwire] would step forward. As we go along his explanations will be well received."

That, I believe is wildly optimistic. Maybe, in time, they will be. I'm glad McGwire came clean, I think it's good for both him and the game.

But he became so small during his Congressional testimony, it's going to take a lot more Monday's developments to grow back his reputation.


Since: Jan 11, 2010
Posted on: January 11, 2010 6:00 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

Surprise! It bugs me that he decides it's time for the truth. We all new the truth right Barry, Sammy, Roger?

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:57 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

We can't put it back to Babe Ruth. The guy played baseball drunk when prohibition made alcohol illigal. Therefore, he broke the law the entire time he played during that era and therefore does not deserve a record either. Breaking the law is breaking the law...

Since: Dec 13, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:49 pm

I call on Bud Selig to set the single season rec

ord back to Ruth and an Asterisk for Maris.

we don't need to wait for Bonds to come clean.  it would be a long wait.  Just compare pictures of him when he played for the pirates with pictures of him when he hit 73.  When his buddy goes to jail rather than testify I think that is enough to take the record away.

We don't need to send Bonds or Sosa to jail but we need a clean record.  Set it back and with today's testing we can have confidence in the records.

What say you?

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:46 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

First of all, the record is owned by Bonds and this article is about McGwire admitting to steroid use, not Bonds.

Furthermore, what about the Maris family and that record? When McGwire hit his 70 homers and Bonds hit his 73, people knew steroids were being used but it was within the drug policy of MLB.
Stripping Bonds and subsequently of the record will bring back the discussion on Maris' record as well. Remember his record was in the books with an asteriks for years because he broke the record but needed more games during the season and people thought that was unfair to the old record (and yes, because it was Babe Ruth).
So bringing up this discussion over Bonds does not sound like a good idea to me. Steroids or not, all those homeruns were hit within the legal limits of the baseball laws so what can you do about it? Reverse implement the drug policy? So maybe it's not all fair but as long as he did nothing wrong (technically that is, morally it's whole different ballgame of course) there's no way Bonds should be stripped.
And besides all this, even if Bonds and McGwire were both stripped of their big seasons, the record would be in the hands of Sosa with 66 because he never admitted anything and was never proven to be using steroids.
And what would next? MLB implements a salary cap and strips the teams of all their championships that were over that limit? That is of course propostourous. You can't punish a player or a team for something they did within the regulations at that time just because it's not allowed anymore at this moment.

Does it have a somewhat strange taste? Yes! Will it be reversed? Never and it shouldn't be.

Since: Nov 24, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:40 pm

It pays to be honest. But maybe to late for Mac.

It seems that everyone that has admitted that they have used steroids has been forgiven, such as A-Rod, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, and Manny Ramirez to name a few. It seems like the best thing for the accussed is to just be honest. But in McGuire's case he just admitted that he lied during oath at the house hearings in Washington. Could this case be opened up again. This could get interesting.

Since: Feb 4, 2008
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:34 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

get the lube marks goin to jail.

Since: Jul 27, 2007
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:27 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

I wish I could get my arms as big as Big Mac's.  My guess is that Glenallen Hill was only other dude in baseball with bigger arms.  I wonder if he 'roided. 

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:26 pm

How would things have played out differently . .

if McGwire had fessed up five years ago before Congress?  Would others have spilled by this time?  Would the Mitchell report have been different?  Would the Union have backed down earlier?  Would the Union have backed down on HGH?

We will never know.  What we do know is that McGwire blew his best chance for redemption in 2005.  He could have made a difference at that point.  Those 2005 hearings will forever be remembered for McGwire's obfuscation and Palmero's finger-wagging.  Images were tarnished.  McGwire's current confession is still remarkable, but only for him personally.  The opportunity to make a positive difference is long gone.

His confession does open up a related set of questions:  What did LaRussa know, and when did he know it?

Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:26 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

Before the historical 1998 baseball season. I was really down on the sport. I was still angered over the strike that cut the 1994 season short. How dare these overpaid men say they needed more. Didn't they realize they were already getting paid huge sums of money to play a kids game? A game that most of us who cannot play at a professional level would have done for free?

Then came 1998. Sosa and McGwire going toe-to-toe almost every night that summer. It seemed they were passing each other for the HR record on a daily basis. I thought it was great for baseball and it brought me right back.

I am a huge fan of McGwire. Always have been. From his early days as one of the "Bash Brothers" to lifting up his son at home plate on that historic night when he broke Maris' record. Even when the bottle of androstenedione was discovered in his locker I wasn't shocked. Five years ago in front of Congress I was disappointed. Here he had the opportunity to clear the air. All he needed to say was I did it, it was a mistake, let's move forward from here and try to fix the game.

I'm not sure how I feel about him coming out now. I have two school's of thought: First, now that he's going to be the Cardinal's hitting coach, you know he's going to be in front of the press all of the time. The media would be idiots if they didn't ask him every chance they could about his steroid use. He's basically giving the press nowhere to go. They can ask, but the 300 pound gorilla in the room has already made it's way towards the exit. My second theory involves the Hall of Fame. Last week, Andre Dawson was named as the only inductee for this year. Is he coming out now, hoping to finally get a nod? It's an interesting thought.

Hopefully something good can come out of McGwire's very late, but inevitable admission of steroid use. Maybe now other stars who have denied for so long will come forward. Maybe now, we can finally stop talking about the "Steroid Era". Because I'm really tired of it.

Since: Dec 26, 2009
Posted on: January 11, 2010 5:21 pm

McGwire's confession a long time coming

As  a fan of baseball during the steroid era, it makes me appreciate the game a little more today now that one of the guys who got me watching baseball with the HR chase, came clean.  Maybe more can follow suite and we can move on from the steroid era and let baseball move forward and maybe become a summer time treat for familys to go to again.  Good luck going forward Mark.

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