McGwire comes clean — are we supposed to care now?

The "legend" of Mark McGwire shoudn't change just because he admits steroid use.

The "legend" of Mark McGwire shoudn't change because of one admission.

Five years ago, I sat one row and six seats to the right of Mark McGwire when he told Congress, “I’m not here to talk about the past.”

Now he wants to talk about the past. Sorry, dude.  It’s a little late.

To a certain extent, we can understand why an athlete would take a pill or a stick a needle in their arm to help  them run faster, get stronger or hit a baseball 900 feet. The competitive edge that enables them to become a professional athlete — the ego, the arrogance, the drive — can be blinding.

But when record books start looking like cartoons and some of the young athletes who are emulating you are taking drugs to get stronger or faster start dying, that’s when you come clean. That was the point of those Congressional hearings on steroid use in 2005. It wasn’t merely about Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron’s home run record.

McGwire finally came clean Monday. Yes he used steroids. Well, knock me over with prescription pad.

McGwire said in a statement to the Associated Press, I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

Cue the violins.

Here’s the problem. After all this time, there is no reason to believe McGwire suddenly feels remorseful about being juiced when he broke the single-season home run record. He has lived like a hermit since retirement. He was a coward in Washington. On those few occasions he has stepped into the public eye, he said nothing.

So why is he admitting guilt now? Because St. Louis manager Tony LaRussa — who clearly sold his own soul and for years has publicly defended McGwire to anybody who dared broach the subject of steroids — hired McGwire as a hitting coach in October. This meant McGwire was going to be in the public eye come spring training. He would be exposed to the media and the public every day, every workout, every game this season.

Even cowards can only hide for so long.

This wasn’t about McGwire clearing his conscience. This was about avoiding a daily distraction every time the Cardinals arrived in a town. This was about helping St. Louis win games.

Funny. Even now in his retirement, the subjects of drugs and success intersect.

McGwire. Bonds. Roger Clemens. It’s too late for all of them. They’ve lied too long.

In July, Aaron said for the first time that he wanted all drug cheaters exposed and banned from the Hall of Fame. Good for him. McGwire hasn’t come close to being voted into the Hall since getting onto the ballot.

I doubt admitting past guilt now is going to make much of a difference in Cooperstown. He had a window of opportunity. He closed it.

130 comments Add your comment

Bravissimo

January 11th, 2010
4:34 pm

Bravissimo

January 11th, 2010
4:35 pm

McGuire suffers from the same trait as Bonds….obnoxiousism

Greg

January 11th, 2010
4:37 pm

You’re right, Jeff. This guy is a bum.

Bob Horner had sweet compact swing

January 11th, 2010
4:40 pm

I remeber where I was when McGwire broke the record….sitting in my lazy boy feeding my 3 month old daughter….now I’m divorced…paying child support..and McGwire is a fraud….it was still a cool moment…but now it’s jaded….

WonderDawg

January 11th, 2010
4:42 pm

The cheating list keeps growing. Boy, Canseco knew what he was talking about, huh?

bugman

January 11th, 2010
4:45 pm

Can we get his “record” expunged?

Scoots

January 11th, 2010
4:51 pm

I’ll always give guys like Pettite and Giambi credit for at least owning up to what they did.

I guess you’re right in that if he was never hired as a hitting coach, he probably never would have come forward. Bonds will likely go to the grave denying taking steroids.

You know the worst thing about Bonds? That a jerk like him cheated to take away a hallowed record from an upstanding individual that didn’t cheat and had to battle all sorts of odds and adversity to set the record.

Knuckle Sandwich

January 11th, 2010
4:53 pm

In other news, did you hear that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor? bada bing

Scoots

January 11th, 2010
4:53 pm

2nd paragraph referring to McGwire, if that wasn’t obvious

Hillbilly Deluxe

January 11th, 2010
4:54 pm

None of this would ever have happened, if Bud Selig were alive.

Skeezix

January 11th, 2010
5:02 pm

What a jerk! Just go away McGwire! What we are finding out is how many star athletes have little substance and are shallow fakes and cheating liars–using illicit drugs, having multiple extramarital affairs, being wasteful with their money (eventually bankrupt) ….but thru slick PR specialists, they market themselves to the public as something entirely different. In other words, their view of us is that we are naive fools. WELL, we regular fans ain’t buying it anymore! Expunge all his records, just like I have erased him from my memory banks.

Sonny Clusters

January 11th, 2010
5:03 pm

We was always juiced for a game. We had these little boxes of Juicy Juice. Sometimes we would have CapriSun in little envelopes. Nobody rubbed anything on us or shot us with anything when we was playing ball. One thing, McGwire didn’t want to talk way back when and now we don’t want to hear him talk. Just go away.

DMR

January 11th, 2010
5:04 pm

I tell my 13 year old son all the time; “Son, you should know two things. There is NO LIE you will ever tell me, that I won’t eventually find out the truth. Second, the longer it takes for me to find out the truth, the worse it is going to be for you.”

Big Mac isn’t telling the baseball public anything they did not already know. He cheated. He lied to Congress, which is just a liar lying to liars. He lied to the fans.

I think in this instance people will forgive…not forget. If Mac ever gets into the HOF, it should be on the heels of JOE JACKSON and PETE ROSE.

Rectal Bleeding

January 11th, 2010
5:04 pm

Can you blame him? MLB turned a blind eye to him and others just because they loved the excitement of a home run chase and the prospect of winning back fans. Yeah, McGwire is a bum, but MLB is more culpable for all of this. Not only did they know it, they encouraged it by doing nothing.

BravesFanLostInOhio

January 11th, 2010
5:04 pm

For those who would delete the names of McGwire and company from the record books because of their use of banned substances, I would offer this.

Leave the numbers there, for everyone to see.
Let them be an eyesore on the books.
Make people wonder what baseball would have been like if the drugs never came into the league.

And, most of all, let the numbers stand as a warning to all the future players of the game:
Your actions mean something.
When you take the field, people watch.
When you enter the boxscore, you participate
in a game that is celebrated over centuries.
And, when you soil it, we the fans will not forget.

Let the numbers stand as a sentinel to future generations, so that maybe, if people will take heed, we will never go down this road again.

FoxNoise.net

January 11th, 2010
5:04 pm

McGwire belongs in the Hall of Fame for pathological liers.

Sonny Clusters

January 11th, 2010
5:05 pm

Two baseball blogs in one day. Jeff is rounding into form. Pitchers and Catchers report next month.

Bob Horner had sweet compact swing

January 11th, 2010
5:06 pm

bugman you’ll have to settle for an asterick…..

Leon "Pooch-Kick" Trotsky

January 11th, 2010
5:07 pm

Bravo! Well said Jeff!

McGwire is like a bad rash that just won’t go away.

Bravissimo

January 11th, 2010
5:07 pm

Maybe he deserves a double dilly bar for his efforts?..is there such a thing?

"Chef" Tim Dix

January 11th, 2010
5:09 pm

He should have forgotten how to speak english like Sosa did.

Too late Mark, you’ll never get in.

falcon71

January 11th, 2010
5:10 pm

any roid user in the record book should have his stats printed in red with an explaination at the top and bottom of the list. no Cooperstown for these fakes!

Marsha

January 11th, 2010
5:10 pm

McGwire and the other juicers are disgraces to baseball. I agree with Hank Aaron that they should be banned from Cooperstown forever.

Forever.

"Chef" Tim Dix

January 11th, 2010
5:15 pm

And to clear my position on the subject, it is not that he was on the gas, it was the lying about it.

Whatever

January 11th, 2010
5:17 pm

Seriously? Did anyone ever believe him back then?

mowreck

January 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

I can see the 1st hitting coaches meeting now. Ok guys, start out putting the needle in your leg, then your butt, then etc. hehehe

Kenny Powers

January 11th, 2010
5:19 pm

Great! I am on my way back to the big leagues, baby! let’s break open a cold one!

falcon71

January 11th, 2010
5:20 pm

McGuire is a fag

Kenny Powers

January 11th, 2010
5:24 pm

like I have said before “losers are just morons who don’t have the balls to cheat!”

Akt163

January 11th, 2010
5:24 pm

Great article Jeff. You’re absolutely right about McGwire, there were plenty of times when he could have come clean about his steroid use and he chose not to, and for LaRussa to say he had no idea that McGwire even used steroids is a joke.

BubbaDaBaller

January 11th, 2010
5:25 pm

M Mac took steriods and HGH? Next thing you know someone will say there isn’t a Santa Claus (sob)

Sonny Clusters

January 11th, 2010
5:29 pm

“Maybe he deserves a double dilly bar for his efforts?..is there such a thing?” – Bravissimo

Well, Bravissimo, as the resident Dairy Queen expert we can tell you that there is no such thing as a double dilly bar but you can always buy two and eat them at the same time if you want to. That would be about as close as you can come to a double dilly bar. You can get a double cheeseburger at the Brazier, though. Your pal, Sonny Clusters

Bravissimo

January 11th, 2010
5:40 pm

Thank you Sonny…I frequent DQ quite often here in my home of Statesboro. Maybe we should send Shultz a gift card?..lol

Coach (2011 or Bust)

January 11th, 2010
5:56 pm

McGwire is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Looking back on those Oakland A’s teams of the late 80’s, we know McGwire and Canseco were juiced out of their damn minds. The thing is……they were not living in a bubble. The two of them were not the only two Oakland A’s on steroids.

And the truly nasty and devastatingly hidden true could be……one of those teammates is already in Cooperstown. That’s right ladies and germs, baseball’s Hall of Fame could already be juiced and it’s the one potential secret that could bring the game to it’s knee’s.

Cracker Jacket

January 11th, 2010
5:58 pm

Big Mac should never go in the Hall of Fame! If there was a Hall of Shame..he would go on a first ballot vote !

Creegah

January 11th, 2010
6:12 pm

Let’s purge the HOF of all players who took illegal substances. Starting with Willie Mays

just asking

January 11th, 2010
6:23 pm

Ya’ll think Chipper juiced?

Creegah

January 11th, 2010
6:28 pm

How about Davey Johnson in ‘73? Juiced?

F troop

January 11th, 2010
6:29 pm

Of course, Chipper juiced. Especially 2000-02. So did many, many others. Brady Anderson, Eric Gagne, Roger Clemens, Juan Gonzalez, and I’d go as far and say the entire Texas Rangers teams from 1994-2004. As they often say, if you weren’t cheating you weren’t trying.

Howrad Bryant’s book “Juicing the Game” sums up MLB’s attitude during those years: putting fannies in seats. They knew. They always knew.

Asheville Dawg

January 11th, 2010
6:30 pm

Let’s honor Hank Aaron by not letting the scumbags in the HOF. The ‘roid can start their own Hall of Shame. This would include Bonds, McGwire, Clemons, Arod and all the other cheaters. How can you make an example out of Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson but let these, including Arod in? MLB needs to take a stand now. No wonder that football has become the USA’s favorite sport. Baseball always is the last sport to get it. Labor issues? We’ll just cancel the rest of the season.World Series? We don’t need the stinking World Series. An All Star game tie? This sport needs a real, STRONG commissioner before it erodes completely away. How many fans really pay attention once football starts? They are losing the kids to every other sport. Ahhhh, I remember baseball when………..

StingerSplash

January 11th, 2010
6:33 pm

I am glad McGwire has finally bared his soul (as much as he did … boy that was one weak apology … Gee, Father, I’m sorry that bank had so much money. That was the reason I robbed it. I wish I never lived in the bank robbery era!).
I hope he enjoys Cooperstown. With the ticket he buys at the front door.
That should be the only way he ever gets the hell in.

StingerSplash

January 11th, 2010
6:35 pm

Bravissimo,

It’s the Queen still on the corner of Northside Drive and one of the Main Streets (because Los Boros, in its infinite wisdom, has 2, count em, 2 Main Streets)?

Bravissimo

January 11th, 2010
6:37 pm

MLB should just put ALL stats in those years in a special section, regardless of who did and who didnt.

Bravissimo

January 11th, 2010
6:39 pm

Stinger…its been moved a couple of doors down. Down hwy 80 that is.
A definite upgrade from the old one.

Joe in SOCAL

January 11th, 2010
6:45 pm

What really irks me are all the jack arses who are now “praising” McGwire for coming out and telling the truth. Selig and LaRussa are a joke and as much to blame as anyone. You will never get me to believe that they BOTH didn’t know what was happening at the time (homerun race 98) but looked the other way as it was “Good” for baseball due to the recent lock out, which by the way cost alot of owners and teams alot of money. So they saw a windfall and damn the torpedoes, they screwed the integrity of the game for all time. Take your money and fade away already!!!

DCBravesFan

January 11th, 2010
7:07 pm

Lot to be disappointed about regarding Big Mac. But while everyone is excoriating him, just remember that he had a $15M contract for 2001 that he mailed back unsigned. More to the man than ‘Roids, just saying.

Old man Schwump

January 11th, 2010
7:24 pm

what are you stupid? Of course Chipper juiced!

Old man Schwump

January 11th, 2010
7:26 pm

so did Gant, Javy and Klesko

MLB STEROID Hall of Shame

January 11th, 2010
7:26 pm

I will come clean if …….I’M HIRED AS HITTING COACH, Tony.

old fan

January 11th, 2010
7:29 pm

WHAT? REALLY? are you kidding me? He’s like the fat kid with cake all over his face. We know what you did. now to the corner and stand there.