Monday, January 11, 2010

McGwire Admits to Steroid Use

Mark McGwire, who is returning to Major League Baseball this year as the hitting coach for his former team, the St. Louis Cardinals, has issued a statement today admitting that he used steroids throughout much of his career, including in 1998 when he broke Roger Maris's home run record.

"I wish I had never touched steroids," McGwire said. "It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize." (Read the whole statement here)

In 2005, McGwire tarnished his reputation when he testified before Congress and continually refused to answer their questions about steroid use, repeating that he didn't want to "talk about the past."

McGwire before Congress in 2005

Once considered by many to be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, he has failed to get even half the number of required votes in his first several years on the ballot.

In his statement, he made clear that his purpose in coming clean now was because he is getting ready to return to the field as the Cardinals' hitting coach. But one has to wonder if he's not hoping to do a bit of damage control with the Hall of Fame too.

A lot of people that I've heard comments from seem unimpressed. One baseball fan I know called him a "loser" and said that McGwire "doesn't count now."

I have a bit more compassion. I appreciate his openness and willingness to make the admission and apologize. In my eyes, it restores his reputation. It doesn't mean that what he did is okay or that we can just forget about it now, but it does make me feel more kindly towards him now than I have for the last 5 or 6 years.

It's important not to unfairly punish McGwire for sins that half of baseball was guilty of committing in the 1990's and early 2000's. That doesn't mean McGwire gets a free pass, but it's not like he was the only one doing it.

Having said that, I still am patently opposed to him getting into the Hall of Fame. Apology or no apology, it doesn't change the fact that he used performance-enhancing drugs.

But I can at least have the compassion to forgive someone who has admitted his transgressions and apologized.


Anonymous said...

I don't particularly follow baseball or the ins and outs of this steroid drama, but my first reaction upon hearing this is to wonder how it is fair to consider him the home run record holder when he was admittedly using performance enhancing drugs at the time, and what chance do today's and future players have to top him without benefit of those drugs?

I take it that it was not ILLEGAL to use these substances at the time that he was playing, but if it wasn't frowned upon and taboo then why shroud it in secrecy at the time?

I think they should throw his record out and that of every other player in the same sitch.

But I really don't know what I'm talking about, so..... :)


Anonymous said...

Okay, now I have to recant my post a little, since the other baseball afficianado in my life just corrected some of my misconceptions.

So taking steroids was illegal in the United States, but not banned at the time by baseball???? How does that work?

And I am told he is no longer the record holder anyway, so........


I still stand by the principle of my argument though. :)


Anonymous said...

Serene Scott: you cant ban McGwire from the Hall of Fame bc there is NO WAY to determine who else used steriods during that era. I am sure some will go unnoticed and may make the Hall and some will be noticed and be banned. You can judge one and not be able to clearly tell who all took part in steroids. For a long time pitchers got a free pass (baseball pun intended -- "walk") but now we are seeing that pitchers too took steroids and received great benefits from them.

I wish we could know all that took steroids...but the fact is we can't. Rafael Palmerio is a perfect ex of a player that was a shoo-in for the Hall and no one suspected of roids -- but now we know different. The same is true for many others.

You cant ban McGwire and make him the whipping boy bc he admits it and not ban all the others that we dont know that took part in steroids.

Not saying turn a blind eye -- but Tim Kurjian stands with me on this one.

the Rev'd C. Allen Colwell said...

At least it came sooner than Pete's apology, but I'm with you. I try to accept apologies without the stipulation of how long it takes. Still, decisions have consequences, and his will surely be stiff rejections on ballots for a long time to come. BUT the whole the thing was a spiral--players juicing up to hit juiced pitchers, and pitchers juicing to try and strike out juiced batters. Owning up to whether you were one or the other, one player after another, baseball will get back to being the national pastime. Until then, Go Bruins!

Scott said...

I didn't mean to imply that I think McGwire should be officially banned from the HOF. By saying I didn't think he should get into the Hall, I was just expressing my own opinion. If I was one of the D-bags who vote for HOF players, I would not vote for him.

Luna, as far as I understand, steroids were not permitted in MLB at the time, but they did not test for them. So you weren't allowed to use them, but there was no way anyone was going to find out if you did. It was essentially a don't ask don't tell policy. There may not have been an official "no steroids" policy, but since it's against the law anyway, it's kind of a moot point. There's also no official rule about one player not killing another player, but that doesn't mean it's okay for a pitcher to pull a gun and shoot a base runner. Get it?

Anonymous said...

Well, the thing I guess I've learned from all of this is........

Mark McGwire is really ugly.

Scott said...

Really? I wouldn't think that from looking at him. He's all manly and what-not. I figured a lot of women probably think he's hot.