Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rant #170: McGwire Fesses Up

OK, we all knew that Mark McGwire took steroids. We all knew that he took steroids during this epic battle with Sammy Sosa in setting the single-season Major League Baseball homerun record. We all knew that he took steroids, even though he wouldn't let on to Congress about it.

But now, McGwire has spilled the beans--he has admitted to steroid use, and admitted to it over a 10-year period which includes his epic homerun chase.

Why did he come out now? He says that since he is now the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, he did not want it to be a distraction during spring training, which comes up next month, and the 2010 baseball season, which starts in April.

Why didn't he tell Congress about his use? He says that he feared that he would not have immunity, and feared that it would hurt himself and his family.

So now he has admitted to doing something that we all knew he did. He also said that taking these substances did not allow him to hit a baseball further, because you have to have that talent to begin with.

So, if we are to believe this, the andro that McGwire took did little more than help him get back from injuries faster, it had nothing to do with his prolific homeruns that he tallied during his personal steroid era.

Although I am not a doctor, I kind of disagree.

At the time, andro was not banned by Major League Baseball, so what he took was not illegal, per se. But I do believe what he took was akin to making his wooden bat into a metal bat. If you have ever used one, and then the other, you know that the ball travels further with the metal bat.

Well, the andro made his hits travel further. It gave him extra strength, and that is cheating, because he did not come about it naturally.

Look, McGwire is never going to get into the Hall of Fame. In spite of nearly 600 homeruns, he wasn't really a Hall of Fame caliber player, in other aspects of his game, such as batting average. This is a guy who hit below .200 a few times in his career.

But he, and Barry Bonds, are the poster boys for steroid use in baseball, or cheating by chemical means. Both were excellent players that got a big "nudge" by using steroids. But also, let it be said that when they used them, their use was not illegal, at least by Major League Baseball standards.

So, to sum it all up, I am glad that McGwire fessed up once and for all.

And again, it's not like he killed somebody. He damaged himself internally, and he damaged the reputation of baseball.

And he wasn't the only one who did this, not by a long shot.

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