Mark McGwire issued a statement today. Hold your hats, because this is shocking. No, SHOCKING. No, SHOCKING!!!
He used steroids.
Yes, it is true. Mark McGwire used steroids. HGH, too. I can’t believe it.
First, here’s the statement, which was delivered to the Associated Press:
“Now that I have become the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago.
I never knew when, but I always knew this day would come. It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize. I remember trying steroids very briefly in the 1989/1990 off season and then after I was injured in 1993, I used steroids again. I used them on occasion throughout the ’90s, including during the 1998 season.
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.
During the mid-’90s, I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.
I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.
Baseball is really different now — it’s been cleaned up. The commissioner and the players’ association implemented testing and they cracked down, and I’m glad they did.
I’m grateful to the Cardinals for bringing me back to baseball. I want to say thank you to Cardinals owner Mr. DeWitt, to my GM, John Mozeliak, and to my manager, Tony La Russa. I can’t wait to put the uniform on again and to be back on the field in front of the great fans in Saint Louis. I’ve always appreciated their support and I intend to earn it again, this time as hitting coach. I’m going to pour myself into this job and do everything I can to help the Cardinals hitters become the best players for years to come.
After all this time, I want to come clean. I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my congressional testimony, but now I feel an obligation to discuss this and to answer questions about it. I’ll do that, and then I just want to help my team.”
Where to begin? First, I’m glad McGwire finally admitted this, becauseâ€”let’s be blunt hereâ€”what he did was bullshit. Pure bullshit. Remember the home run chase of ’98? The tears? The smiles? The history? Well, the tears and smiles might have been legitimate, but the history was not. Say what you want, Big Mac defenders, but you don’t break Roger Maris’ single-season home run mark by cheating (and, yes, steroids were cheating. Maybe not by baseball standards alone, but by federal law, where possession without a proper prescription was/is illegal). You don’t hug his family with one arm while inserting a needle into the other. You don’t, you don’t, you don’tâ€”and apologists really need to look in the mirror and ask themselves why this sort of behavior continues to be defended. Because, in the context of the game, it’s indefensible. Especially in the context of the history of the game.
Second, I loathe this passage: I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids. I had good years when I didn’t take any and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.
Translation: I took steroids, but they might have not helped me. Probably didn’t. Again, bullshit. Performance enhancers are literalâ€”they enhance performance. They make you bigger, stronger, quicker. They help in recovery time and sustainability. Odds McGwire wasn’t aided by the usage: Very, very low.
I don’t know why athletes always do this, but it irks the hell out of me. They always bark about “manning up” when it comes to games and within the context of the clubhouse, but they never do in real life. How about making a statement sans conditions? I cheated, it was wrong, I’m a doltâ€”and can we please move on?
Do I think McGwire should be the Cardinals’ hitting coach? No, I don’t. I think it’s another lame allowance of something that poisoned the game. But can I see the opposing viewpoint? Of course. Maybe we need to move on; to forgive and forget. Hmmâ€”it’s a toughie.
But, overall, good for Mark McGwire. Better late than never.