McGwire Says He’s Sorry but Doesn’t Make Amends

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By Soxman

The 1998 homerun chase between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire led to baseball’s resurgence.  The thrill of watching a record fall  and the sportsmanship among two of baseball’s “good guys”  re-ignited our passion for the game and that special romantic tingle you get when “make-up” kissing your significant other for the first time after a horrible fight.

So now that one of those “good guys” comes back from baseball exile to admit what everyone pretty much knew, or at least strongly suspected all along, what possible news angle can one take to make this story worth reading?

Is anyone surprised?  Seriously, does the fact that Mark McGwire finally put a decade of hiding the truth aside and admitted to cheating really change anything?

Well  if anything, at least he’s more of a man than Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa , who continue to lie, or throw their wife, friends and trainers under the bus. What the true motivation was beyond McGwire’s admission is anyone’s guess, but aside from truly wanting to make amends with the game and its fans, he has other motivating factors.

He vanished from baseball in 2005 upon testifying to Congress that he would not comment on steroid use in baseball.  He pretty much disappeared from the public eye since then. His re-appearance during spring training as the Cardinals’ new hitting coach would surely cause a media stir that would serve as a distraction.

In two years of eligibility, he is nowhere near being voted into the Hall of Fame, despite generating some degree of worthiness.  He hit 583 home runs, tied for eighth on the career list, and his average of one dinger every 10.6 at-bats is the best in the history of the game.

While steroid speculation (now fact) has no doubt been an inhibitor to Big Mac’s HOF aspirations, his accomplishments truly leave him as far less than a lock.  While not a steadfast rule, 500 HRs have long been considered the bar for entering baseball immortality as a slugger, which pretty much defines the player McGwire was.

So while the media has now come back from a New Year’s coma to talk about something besides Tiger Woods, my position on this matter remains unchanged.

McGwire earn some credit for coming clean…years after the fact.  He earns some respect for calling Pat Maris, the wife of baseball’s true homerun king, the late Roger Maris, and apologizing personally. Despite forgiving him, it was fantastic to see the Maris family not let McGwire off the hook completely.Even McGwire himself understands why the Maris family believes that Maris’ 61 homers in 1961 should be considered the authentic record.

“They have every right to,” McGwire said in an interview with Bob Costas on the MLB Network.

Yes they do Big Mac.  Remember that Maris’ chase of this record was not followed by fanfare, parades, and love.  Many diehard Yankee fans believed it to be a slap in the face to Babe Ruth and booed him in his own stadium.  Some even sent death threats as “words of encouragement.”  So yes, protecting the integrity of this record has as much meaning and importance to the Maris family, as anyone.

McGwire loses points by trying to justify the reasons for cheating, and in trying to minimize the impact by saying he took “low doses.”  Sorry my friend, if you steal to feed your family, you still are stealing in the eyes of the law.  If you cheat on your spouse, once or 17 times, you still have been unfaithful.  Right Tiger?

So where does major league baseball go from here, and how does Mark McGwire attempt to rebuild his image and take a potential shot at baseball immortality?

Here’s my suggestion to Big Mac, Big Mac handlers and Bud Selig. While I would side with the idea of wiping these records from the books, I’m sure this will never happen.  So, let’s compromise on the following:

As McGwire himself understands why the Maris family wants his HR record protected, become the ambassador to protect it. That’s right.  Start publicly lobbying to MLB and the Hall of Fame to:

1.      At minimum, place the much-needed asterisk next to any player’s record who broke the record of Roger Maris during the steroid era.  It will show that you are not only apologizing, you are making amends.  It also sends a valuable message about integrity and fair play to the world’s youth.

2.      Toughen baseball’s morality rules point forward: Any player who conclusively tests positive for PEDs will either have a permanent asterisk next to their statistics, or their numbers barred from the game’s history.  This is the exact penalty imposed by the Olympics and Tour De France.  Why should baseball be any different?  This would send the clearest message about a “zero” tolerance policy for cheating in America’s pastime.

3.      At the next collective bargaining agreement, McGwire should lobby owners and the players union to mandate community service for any player caught using PEDs.  This should include the recording of public service announcements on the dangers of PED use.

If McGwire truly is sorry for the mistakes he has made, and truly believes steroids have no place in baseball, these actions should be no-brainers. Saying your sorry and making amends are two different things. I just threw you a fastball over the meat of the plate Big Mac.  Let’s see if you can knock it out of the park.

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Comments

  1. he’s been on the ballot 4 years, not 2.

  2. paulmbanks says

    Good pts with the Tour de France and Olympics. Not that the IOC or the French cycling governing bodies are the epitome of morality and justice, but on this idea I think they have the high road or MLB

  3. Great articale as always. Man, I didn’t know Big Mac’s was so hot!! Plus why is there a pic of Soxman here? Lol. Just kidding!! Go whitesox/Soxman in 2010!!

  4. The term “better late than never” does not apply here in my opinion… He may have admitted to it, but for “health” reasons! If you’re gonna cop up to it, might as well go full steam ahead.. And, reasons? Hall of fame, Hitting coach gig?? Seems pretty selfish to me! “at least he’s more of a man than Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa” Not even sure if that’s much of a compliment.. I’m just sayin’. ;)

  5. Melissa W. says

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news_briefs/turns_out_craig_counsell

    Did you guys see this hilarious Onion article? It’s actually about how Craig Counsell was the best baseball player in the last 15 years if you remove steroids from MLB. YAY CRAIGY!!! And, wow…Craigy… You can have both reactions…

    :) Nice job Soxman!

  6. You hit the nail on the head Soxman. Everyone did know Mac was a cheater. I was angry when they “broke” the record & I will never forgive or forget baseball’s complicity with the PED situation!

  7. “at least he’s more of a man than Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa” Not even sure if that’s much of a compliment.. I’m just sayin’. ;)

    more of a man than Roger or Barry is like saying “more macho and rugged than a Jonas brother”

    more thought-provoking and better written than a Britney Spears song

    having better abs than your typical offensive tackle

  8. my favorite Onion sports piece, was an onion horoscope that said (and this was years before he shot himself while wearing sweatpants to a nightclub,

    “now will will begin the series of events that will inevitably lead to your divorce from Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Plaxico Burress”

    thats quite specific a horoscope there

  9. Thanks 4 all the comments. It’s nice to see some action on my stories in 2010! To Amanda, I was not throwing Mac credit, I was simply reviewing the situation from a higher level. He did an interview with ESPN last night, and was asked “If you don’t think steroids helped you, why did you feel the need to apologize to the Maris family?” Mac replied “Cause that’s me and I felt bad in my heart.” Usually feelings of guilt are associated with knowingly doing something wrong. Not knowing the difference between right and wrong are how criminals get off on the insanity defense.

    You are correct, his public admission does give him much forgiveness, but it does give him more credit than those who continue to lie.

    In the South Park episode where Jimmy used steroids to win the Special Olympics, McGwire Sosa, and Bonds gave an award for integrity in the sport. It was hilarious, because Jimmy admitted using PEDs at the end and the Olympics dude said “why don’t you just admit it? If you don’t you are a liar, a cheater, a big fat stinking liar!!!!”

    The camera was on the cartoon images of the three the whole time. One of the best South Parks ever!!!

    High Five-

    SM

  10. I don’t like the term steroid era because that implies everyone in baseball took steroids, which I don’t believe. Place the asterisk by the person name that was caught and the legend beside the asterisk could say, this person used illegal drugs to achieve this goal…..PEACE SOXMAN …..Does a steroid user get in the Hall of fame????

  11. Just Fred-

    That is the big debate on the Hall of Fame. Big Mac was the first test candidate if you will and he has come no where close in voting thus far. At some point that day will come, at the very least when A-Rod’s name first appears on the ballot. Still it will be curious to see how baseball handles it when that moment is upon us.

    Peace,
    SM

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