FanDuel - WFBC

January 11, 2010

McGwire Admits Using Steroids: Mark McGwire admitted today in a statement to AP that he was on steroids when he broke the home run record: "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."

posted by tselson to baseball at 03:16 PM - 165 comments

I'm, I'm, I'm ...... just...um, ... shocked !

posted by tommytrump at 03:18 PM on January 11

drudgesiren.gif

posted by Mookieproof at 03:29 PM on January 11

*applies back of hand to forehead, rolls eyes upward*

*tries to faint, can't be arsed*

posted by scully at 03:33 PM on January 11

Didn't see that one coming...not that he took steriods but that he finally admitted to using steriods.

At least now he can move on somewhat.

posted by BornIcon at 03:43 PM on January 11

So can all you baseball experts tell me what the rule is that covers setting records while using a performance enhancing drug? Does it stand with an * or does it get erased?

posted by irunfromclones at 04:03 PM on January 11

As someone just posted on Twitter, "In other news, Jackie Mason just admitted to being Jewish".

posted by Drood at 04:04 PM on January 11

Also.

posted by etagloh at 04:19 PM on January 11

I hate anything that makes Canseco look like he was telling the truth all along. I can't handle that truth.

posted by smithnyiu at 04:23 PM on January 11

Guess he figured out that those that admitted to it were being accepted.

All those damn home titles...all of them after Aaron...ought to be wiped out. I personally could not care less about any of the records that Bonds/Sosa/McGwire/et al set, and/or, broke duing the past 15 years.

posted by dviking at 04:28 PM on January 11

So can all you baseball experts tell me what the rule is that covers setting records while using a performance enhancing drug? Does it stand with an * or does it get erased?

Absolutely nothing happens to those records.

There has never been an * on any record, and they've never retroactively removed any records or stats for any player. To do so would open up a Pandora's box.

For example: it is now known that Pete Rose bet on games where he was managing. Even though the integrity of the game has been compromised, MLB has done nothing to alter the results of the game (or stats).

If you start hacking away at the PED-tainted records, how far back do you go? 1990? 1980? What about the players that used drugs in the 1970s (like "greenies")? Do their records get slashed?

posted by grum@work at 05:00 PM on January 11

I personally could not care less about any of the records that Bonds/Sosa/McGwire/et al set, and/or, broke duing the past 15 years.

Except, of course, when you might have been cheering on those players when they were setting the records.
(I'm not saying for a fact that you were cheering on Sosa/McGwire/Bonds, but if you were a fan of the sport back in 1998, it was hard not to be excited about it.)

Regardless of how it happened, when Sosa/McGwire made that summer about the HR chase, it captivated a large portion of the sports media, and no one seemed to give a damn back then about the andro in McGwire's locker.

posted by grum@work at 05:02 PM on January 11

All those damn home titles...all of them after Aaron...

And Maris.

Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era."

I, for one, would like to see what his numbers would have been during the dead ball era. Wonder which era he woulda rather played in.

posted by mjkredliner at 05:04 PM on January 11

See, I do have a bit of a soft spot for the guy. I think this genuinely bothered him in a way that it just didn't Bonds or Sosa or even Palmeiro. I think he was actually hurt, and equally clueless.

He loves baseball, that's for sure. He's back as a coach when all it does is put him in front of cameras again. I'm certain he doesn't need the money.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:25 PM on January 11

I thought Aaron was hopped up on amphetamines, or "greenies", as were players like Maris and Mantle.

*

posted by hincandenza at 05:39 PM on January 11

See, I do have a bit of a soft spot for the guy. I think this genuinely bothered him in a way that it just didn't Bonds or Sosa or even Palmeiro. I think he was actually hurt, and equally clueless.

Wow, that is very kind of you. My whole view of him is shaped by how cranky he was during much of the record-breaking season. Eventually, I think someone told him that Sosa was charming everyone and he was coming off like an ass, so he changed his tune. Still, his career wasn't cut short from the taint of steroids, so he really has less to be resentful about. I see this as move to get into the HOF. He has to rehabilitate his image. He is working on steps 1 and 2 now.

posted by bperk at 05:48 PM on January 11

I'm glad McGwire owned up to using steroids, but it's hard to ignore how long it took him to do it. The hitting coach job and this admission look like a PR campaign to improve his chances of Hall of Fame induction.

I was curious what Roger Maris' family might think of all this, given the fact that they were gracious enough to be there in person when McGwire broke the record. They've gone back to treating Maris as the record holder.

posted by rcade at 06:02 PM on January 11

Except, of course, when you might have been cheering on those players when they were setting the records. (I'm not saying for a fact that you were cheering on Sosa/McGwire/Bonds, but if you were a fan of the sport back in 1998, it was hard not to be excited about it.)

Absolutely...heck the company I work for even had McGwire as a spokeman for a while during his home run season (we donated $'s for every home run). I was as caught up in it as anyone, however, once it became so apparent that all of them were on PED's things changed.

Kind of like my Milli Vanilli infatuation...once the dirty secrets were revealed it was all over.

posted by dviking at 06:59 PM on January 11

Kind of like my Milli Vanilli infatuation...once the dirty secrets were revealed it was all over.

I, for one, didn't much care for Rob & Fab - I just liked the tunes. Just as I, for one, was never a Big Mac fan, but I sure liked watching him swing the bat.

Great baseball is great baseball. There have always been players who were dirty - many in Cooperstown. Pitchers who threw spitters and scuff balls, batters who took greenies and amphetamines... I still think the fact that both pitchers and hitters alike were taking steroids at the same time should cancel each other out... But at the end of the day, it's a game that was more enjoyable to watch than ever during the McGuire and Sosa hit parade days.

Oh, and btw - if McGuire played in any other era, he'd be broke, and sore, and jobless.

posted by MW12 at 07:25 PM on January 11

Was McGwire taking steroids from 1987-1992? Or did he start in '95/'96? I'm not clear on that.

I think the effect steroids has on players is exagerrated. Many, many players were taking steroids over the course of the last 20 years.

posted by DudeDykstra at 07:59 PM on January 11

Mark McGwire is the reason that I am both a baseball fan and a Cardinals fan. In 1998, my family went to two baseball games, one in Chicago at Wrigley, one in St. Louis. In St. Louis, the Cards beat the Cubs on the strength of a McGwire home run, and that's where it all began in the mind of this little 8 year old.

Since then, it's been a roller-coaster ride to watch, but I never truly stopped being a McGwire fan, even through all the steriod business. I was stoked when the Cardinals signed him on as the hitting coach this year. And I'm glad he made the decision to say this now. I don't know if it will be enough to get him into the Hall, but I will hope for it.

posted by boredom_08 at 08:39 PM on January 11

Kind of like my Milli Vanilli infatuation...once the dirty secrets were revealed it was all over.

Eeek. Speaking of dirty secrets, I might have kept that one in the shoe box under the bed, my friend.

I am glad that Mcgwire has finally admitted the Juice use. He was turning into a kind of pathetic figure. Baseball has had gambling and cheating and drugs throughout it's history. In the end, this is just another thing that it has gone through.

What would be really shocking is if Mark was dying his skin brown. To kind of do the the opposite of Sosa.

posted by THX-1138 at 08:47 PM on January 11

I've simply lost all ability to be outraged about anything steroid-related at this point. McGwire now moves from the "we all seem pretty sure even though he won't say it" category to the "admitted his transgression" one, and he doesn't seem to be making a bunch of excuses or pretending he didn't do anything wrong. So I'll support him and wish him well. Whatever it does for his HoF candidacy is in someone else's hands, anyway.

posted by TheQatarian at 08:48 PM on January 11

Was McGwire taking steroids from 1987-1992? Or did he start in '95/'96? I'm not clear on that.

From the article:

"But, starting '93 to '94, I thought it might help me, you know, where I'd get my body feeling normal, where I wasn't a walking MASH unit," he (McGwire) said.

posted by BoKnows at 09:50 PM on January 11

I just watched the video in this link. It has made me realize one thing, Brian Williams is a complete A**hole. His opening line about ow McGwire has stopped lying is a bunch of crap. McGwire never said he didn't take steroids or HGH. It is the Media like tis example that can now leave this alone. Had it not been for them the McGwire thing most likely would not have dragged on as long as it did. Fifty bucks says Williams was cheering both Sosa and McGwire on the whole time in 1998. After all, who would get the credit for saving baseball according to the same media outlets that trash them now.

Am i glad he came out and admitted it, yes. Only for the fact that maybe now he can get his well deserved induction in to the hall. That way he can be where all the other great baseball players that cheated, drank and did drugs are too.

One more thing, Coach McGwire, please leave Alberts swing alone!

posted by jojomfd1 at 10:26 PM on January 11

Unlike Bonds at least McGwire never denied using them. He refused to answer questions about it. And under the 5th ammendment he has that right. At least he finally has come clean again something you will never see berroid bonds do. You do not go from being the skinny little outfielder to a bulking muscle man in the few months of the offseason the way bonds did with out taking steroids.

posted by twgibsr at 10:31 PM on January 11

if the HOF voters do not vote McGwire in then they should not vote Barroid Bonds in either.

posted by twgibsr at 10:34 PM on January 11

Was McGwire taking steroids from 1987-1992? Or did he start in '95/'96? I'm not clear on that.

From the article:

"But, starting '93 to '94, I thought it might help me, you know, where I'd get my body feeling normal, where I wasn't a walking MASH unit," he (McGwire) said.

Also from the article:

He said he first used steroids between the 1989 and 1990 seasons, after helping the Oakland Athletics to a World Series sweep when he and Jose Canseco formed the Bash Brothers.

From this article:

"I wanted to get this off my chest. We didn't get immunity. So here I am in this situation with two scenarios: possible prosecution or possible grand jury testimony."

McGwire said that those two scenarios would drag his family and former teammates into what he considered his mistake. He decided to not talk about the past.

"That was the worst 48 hours of my life," McGwire said.

He knew that Don Hooton, whose son had died from steroids use, was in the audience.

"Every time I'd say, 'I'm not going to talk about the past,' I'd hear moanings back there. It was absolutely ripping my heart out," McGwire said, his voice cracking. "All I was worried about was protecting my family and myself. And I was willing to take the hit."

In the interview with ESPN, La Russa said of McGwire's testimony: "The one thing he did not do is lie. And I don't think he ever would."

I just find him to be a selfish peckerwood. I find nothing admirable in his finally convenient admission.

posted by tselson at 11:00 PM on January 11

(I was joking about the Milli Vanilli infatuation)

posted by dviking at 11:05 PM on January 11

if the HOF voters do not vote McGwire in then they should not vote Barroid Bonds in either.

Oh, I see what you did there! You changed Bonds' first name from Barry to Barroid, to make it sounds like "steroid".

Oh, that is so very clever and original!

And your statement is so true!

Except, of course, for the fact that Barry Bonds had a HOF career (400/400 + 3 MVPs) before the time he was ever supposedly using PEDs (2000 and beyond), while pretty much all of McGwire's HOF foundation lies in the time that he's admitted using PEDs (1990 and beyond).

posted by grum@work at 11:31 PM on January 11

(I was joking about the Milli Vanilli infatuation)

It's okay. We won't judge you.

*snicker*

posted by grum@work at 11:32 PM on January 11

Another view from Tom Verducci says it's not about the Hall at all. Really good article, and who knows, it might actually be true.

posted by boredom_08 at 11:51 PM on January 11

(I was joking about the Milli Vanilli infatuation)

Brian Williams wishes you would stop lying.

posted by THX-1138 at 11:55 PM on January 11

Grum, I'm not sure Bonds would have been a lock for the HOF if you just look at pre-2000 stats, but that's not the point I want to make. While the year 2000 comes up because of his involvement with a certain trainer, I don't buy his "I had no idea what was in the ointment" story, so I don't necessarily believe that 2000 is the start of his PED use. It's just the earliest documented exposure to PED's that we have on him. If we go back any further than 2000, then most certainly loses HOF status.

Beyond the home titles, those 4-in-a-row MVP's are what made him a lock on the HOF.

(I was joking about the Milli Vanilli infatuation) Actually, I was only joking about joking about it because I don't want you trying to borrow my M.V. cd's...you never returned my Boy George tapes.

posted by dviking at 12:07 AM on January 12

Does this also mean that Todd McFarlane is *officially* an dumbass?

posted by Punkrockrat at 02:20 AM on January 12

I'm with grum regarding the Bonds comparisons. Bonds was an all-around baseball player prior to steroids. McGwire was a one-trick pony, and that one trick was 100 percent altered by steroids.

posted by dyams at 06:05 AM on January 12

Has anyone ever researched to find out how many "game winners" were dinged by these guys? Would be interesting to see that stat..

posted by wildbill1 at 07:01 AM on January 12

I'm glad McGwire owned up to using steroids, but it's hard to ignore how long it took him to do it. The hitting coach job and this admission look like a PR campaign to improve his chances of Hall of Fame induction.

Absolutely! McGwire is just doing what he needs to do in order to try to ease his way into the HoF, no doubt about it. I don't blame him for finally admitting what he's done but IMO, he should've owned up to it a long time ago.

posted by BornIcon at 07:40 AM on January 12

McGwire's admission of steroid use, complete with a live TV interview with Bob Costas last night on the MLB Network, is being managed by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer's crisis communications company.

Dude really, really wants to be in the Hall.

posted by rcade at 07:59 AM on January 12

Now that M.M. has come clean, I wonder how long it will take for Sosa,Bonds and others to also tell the truth.

posted by Doehead at 08:09 AM on January 12

It was great theater, no doubt, watching Mac and Sosa. I was in Cabo San Lucas at a hotel bar watching #70. Loved it just like a great drama. Unfortunately, that's all it was, acting. Juiced just like make-up for the scene. However actors get to wipe off the face of their character and go back to their real life. Mac and the others had to hide in bathrooms and continue their ploy to be someone they were not. It was fun but now it is sad, knowing their deception and their lies. And for McGwire to now still say he would have hit every home run without the juice is total denial even in his "truth." The show is over at least come "clean." Is anyone else a bit amazed these pock marked asses can't even tell the "real" truth when they supposedly try to? Pathetic.

posted by gfinsf at 08:51 AM on January 12

Not to excuse lying, but what else can McGwire say? If he's completely honest now and admits that steroids played a role in his home run totals, he delegitimizes his Hall of Fame bid and his public contrition tour was for nothing.

posted by rcade at 08:59 AM on January 12

Now that M.M. has come clean, I wonder how long it will take for Sosa,Bonds and others to also tell the truth.

I don't know about Sosa but Bonds has no out here. If he admits to using steroids then he'll be going to jail for purjury and he's not going to do that. He'll most likely be taking what he did or "if" he did anything at all to the grave with him.

posted by BornIcon at 09:26 AM on January 12

McGwire was a one-trick pony, and that one trick was 100 percent altered by steroids.

Putting aside the question of the extent to which McGwire's power was altered by steroids (he presumably benefited from the additional muscle, recovery time, etc., but likely would have been a prodigious home run hitter due to his build in any event and certainly had some big home run years prior to starting steroid use in 1989 and in years he did not use steroids, if he is to be believed on the timeline), McGwire was a two-trick pony, in that he got on base at a very good clip as well. That this is derivative of, or related to, his power is certainly true. But McGwire was both a power hitter and an on-base machine, and the connection between any effect of steroids and his on base percentage is probably more tenuous than the relation between steroids and his home run power.

posted by holden at 11:00 AM on January 12

Looking at some of his rookie cards, McGwire doesn't have a build I'd associate with power hitting.

posted by rcade at 11:09 AM on January 12

But wondering whether McGwire was a power hitter by just looking his rookie card is judging a book by it's cover. McGwire hit 49 home runs in his rookie season, just because he didn't look like a power hitter doesn't mean he wasn't one coming out of the gate. He just helped stay a power hitter during the latter stages of his career by taking steriods.

posted by BornIcon at 11:20 AM on January 12

Either that or he juiced from day one. Steroids were abused by athletes when I was in middle school and high school in the mid-'80s.

posted by rcade at 11:26 AM on January 12

I'm not a McGwire apologist, but if neither pro scouts nor stat freaks can figure out how a prospect's power will develop, I don't think the "He doesn't look like he'll fill out based on his yearbook photo" is a fair test.

posted by yerfatma at 11:38 AM on January 12

Something inside of me wants to believe that these athletes were either naive or desperate just to stay healthy for an entire season and were told that steriods would be able to help them stay in the game longer than they would without taking steriods...or maybe I'm the one that's being naive.

posted by BornIcon at 11:52 AM on January 12

Either that or he juiced from day one. Steroids were abused by athletes when I was in middle school and high school in the mid-'80s.

I'm confused. "Just look at him!" was the refrain when he was supposedly using steroids.

But when someone shows you a picture of him as a rookie and points out that he was still smashing home runs back then, suddenly the steroids provide the power but not the bulk?

So why does anyone use the "Just look at him!" attack if it can't be trusted?

Grum, I'm not sure Bonds would have been a lock for the HOF if you just look at pre-2000 stats...

Beyond the home titles, those 4-in-a-row MVP's are what made him a lock on the HOF.

Then I have to believe the 3 MVPs in 4 years (1990/1992/1993) would probably make him a lock for the the HOF, wouldn't it?

Or the greatest combination of speed and power since, well, probably his father and his godfather.

To suggest the numbers he put up between 1986 and 1999 wouldn't get him into the HOF is ridiculous.

posted by grum@work at 12:57 PM on January 12

In hindsight, Bash Brothers turned out to be a pretty good name for these two. They've taken their share.

posted by mjkredliner at 01:02 PM on January 12

If the hitting coach job is just a route to the Hall, why did Tony La Russa call him for the job and not the other way around? La Russa's had some great comments on this as well, and he probably knows Mac as well as anyone did during his playing career.

posted by boredom_08 at 01:05 PM on January 12

I'm confused.

1. Holden said that McGwire "likely would have been a prodigious home run hitter due to his build in any event."

2. I said, "Looking at some of his rookie cards, McGwire doesn't have a build I'd associate with power hitting."

That's all I meant to say about his build as a rookie. When he came up, he did not look like someone who was going to be a prodigious home run hitter. The assumption that he was built like one, with or without steroids, seems dubious to me.

How certain is anybody that his first season is legit?

posted by rcade at 01:11 PM on January 12

La Russa is reportedly considering playing McGwire as a pinch hitter to extend his Hall of Fame eligibility.

posted by rcade at 01:12 PM on January 12

1. Holden said that McGwire "likely would have been a prodigious home run hitter due to his build in any event."

Irrespective of the amount of muscle, McGwire did have the build (6' 5") and the swing for home runs regardless of adding bulk (which he obviously did later in his career). Yes, there are tall beanpoles who never develop home run power, but I can almost guarantee you that scouts were looking at McGwire in the mid-80's and projecting huge power development as he aged and got more experience.

posted by holden at 01:34 PM on January 12

How certain is anybody that his first season is legit?

And how certain is anyone that it wasn't?

This is going to be the never ending story with these guys because we'll continue to ask questions that more than likely will never get answered.

posted by BornIcon at 01:39 PM on January 12

Ken Griffey Jr. isn't exactly huge and he hit over 600 homeruns. Big build does not equal more homeruns. IMHO having fluid batting mechanics and a good eye are more of an asset to hitting homeruns than pure muscle mass is.

posted by HATER 187 at 01:45 PM on January 12

And how certain is anyone that it wasn't?

You still give McGwire benefit of the doubt, after everything he just admitted?

posted by rcade at 01:48 PM on January 12

You still give McGwire benefit of the doubt, after everything he just admitted?

No, I just cannot simply agree with anyone that assumes that he was on any type of PED's from the start of his career because he admitted to taking steriods thru-out the 1990's. Just because he finally admitted that he was on steriods when he broke Roger Maris' HR record, now you're going to question his entire career?

Sorry, but I won't do that because we don't know that for a fact. We could also do the same for most players that are on the list, can't we?

posted by BornIcon at 02:00 PM on January 12

There's nothing wrong with viewing people with heightened skepticism after they admit wrongdoing, as McGwire has done. The fact he was willing to cut corners to get ahead from 1998 onward suggests that he was the kind of person to do that throughout his baseball career.

NBA referee Tim Donaghy admitted fixing the point spread of games he officiated from 2006-07. Do you believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt about games he officiated from 1994-2005?

posted by rcade at 02:26 PM on January 12

If you wish to view him that way that's fine but I just won't do that. I know people who are strung out on drugs but they weren't always like that. It was a choice that was made later on in their lives just as McGwire chose to take steriods in the latter stages of his career.

What I believe about Donaghy isn't the same as what I believe about McGwire since they're two seperate instances and have to be viewed differently.

posted by BornIcon at 02:39 PM on January 12

My wife and I took our son to the Baseball Hall of Fame when McGwire was challenging Maris's record of 61. I remember they had TV sets in various places around the Hall that were tuned to the Cards' game that day when McGwire tied the record. Most who were there were excited to have been at the HoF to witness, even remotely, such an achievement. Now the memory has been cheapened by McGwire's admission, even though I knew it all along. I have no respect for the man, and I cannot wish him well.

I'm typing this with a cat on my shoulder. Does it deserve an asterisk?

posted by Howard_T at 03:32 PM on January 12

the connection between any effect of steroids and his on base percentage is probably more tenuous than the relation between steroids and his home run power.

It's all connected, and all due to steroid-induced strength and power hitting. He was walked so much because of his power.

Watching the ESPN reports earlier today, T.J. Quinn tells of the reports of how sick McGwire's use of various PEDs evidently was. He apparently used so many types of substances in various combinations, and was open with many individuals about doing it and what he planned to achieve through their use.

McGwire's admissions, coming now, are ridiculous. He avoided it all until he needed to try to worm his way back into baseball's good graces. Now that he has admitted his transgressions, eliminate all his stats/records.

posted by dyams at 04:40 PM on January 12

It's all connected, and all due to steroid-induced strength and power hitting. He was walked so much because of his power.

I find that difficult to swallow. I get that he's a bad guy for doing steroids and doubly-so for the fact he broke one of, if not the, most hallowed American sports records while cheating. That said, suggesting pitcher fear had more to do with his OBP than his batting eye is using an awfully broad brush.

posted by yerfatma at 04:53 PM on January 12

Amazing.

The guy gets pilloried for five years after rightfully telling Congress to go fuck themselves (okay, not in so many words, but that's what he meant), and then when he does come clean, he gets burned at the stake.

What the hell do you people want?

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:15 PM on January 12

McGwire wasn't hostile to Congress. His answers didn't attack the premise that Congress was wrong to be conducting an inquiry, and he didn't get on a high horse about how it was hypocritical to single him out. He showed up and dodged questions with platitudes. He told Bob Costas this week he took that approach to protect himself from prosecution.

What the hell do you people want?

A full accounting of everything he did, who he got it from, and what it did to him would be pretty nice.

posted by rcade at 05:28 PM on January 12

This is neither here nor there, but I remember seeing McGwire in 1988 in Milwaukee and being impressed by how big he was, like he could have been a tight end. It's in the eye of the beholder, I guess, because when I see that beautifully wood-paneled rookie card, the kid looks big.

posted by cl at 05:39 PM on January 12

A full accounting of everything he did, who he got it from, and what it did to him would be pretty nice.

Out of curiosity, why do you feel he owes you that?

And are you starting to grasp why maybe, just maybe guys in this situation don't feel comfortable coming forward? Hell, do you think he's in a better situation today than he was yesterday morning? Who's better in the public eye -- McGwire for coming clean or Sosa for keeping his mouth shut?

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:53 PM on January 12

When he came up, he did not look like someone who was going to be a prodigious home run hitter. The assumption that he was built like one, with or without steroids, seems dubious to me.

Except, of course, he was one.

I mean, he led the league in home runs that first year, the year you said that he didn't look like a prodigious home run hitter.

His "skinny" version hit 49 home runs.

Are you actually denying that he couldn't be a home run hitter?

Or are you suggesting his skinny rookie version of himself was also on steroids, but those roids didn't actually affect his muscles?

McGwire in 1987, the year he hit 49 home runs.

posted by grum@work at 06:08 PM on January 12

Really rcade? We're owed that? I just assume the worst. Most of them were doing it, there was tacit approval from all sides given the situation coming out of the strike and records fell. It was exactly the intended effect.

But I guess I just understand it. I have some empathy. To wit, I guess if I were to walk a mile in their shoes I may have done the same thing.

I think the fallout of the steriod era has mostly been positive to boot. Now we have better education and such and it's become something of an important period in our cultural history. Kind of like confronting our worser natures. It's been good.

Plus, you think Jim Rice is in the Hall without the benefit of hindsight? And Jim Rice should be in the Hall.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:08 PM on January 12

Out of curiosity, why do you feel he owes you that?

I didn't say he owed me anything. I said it would be nice.

He says he did a terrible thing, he wishes he'd never played in that era and he appears to want to restore his good name. If all of those things are true, a full accounting would help -- at least with me. Otherwise, the carefully worded admissions just seem like a PR strategy.

Hell, do you think he's in a better situation today than he was yesterday morning?

Absolutely. A lot of people are expressing anger with him, in and out of the media, but that will fade over time. I'll bet he's already got Cardinal Nation back in his corner.

It's been good.

The steroid era is shit for baseball. They're lucky any of us still love the game.

posted by rcade at 06:13 PM on January 12

But I guess I just understand it. I have some empathy. To wit, I guess if I were to walk a mile in their shoes I may have done the same thing.

Bingo, Weedy. McGwire said it himself -- he wished he'd never taken them and he wished he hadn't even played in the era where they were available.

I'm not giving him a clap on the back for doing it, but with what appears to be a large portion of the players similar to him doing exactly the same thing, I can't fault him either. Do you think they're weren't people telling him, "Everyone does it, it's not illegal and it will make you a better player and make you money?" Is it so hard to think you might not have made the same decision in his shoes?

And it mystifies me that the world wants to roast McGwire et al, but yet no one has the feet of the owners or the commissioner's office to the fire. If you and I knew what was going on, you think they didn't, and yet there were no harsh words until the cash cows were out of the game and the lid couldn't be kept on any longer. Why aren't people calling for Bud Selig to step down after overseeing what has to be the most widespread doping scandal in sports history?

Looking back now and vilifying McGwire and the rest while you enjoyed the games yourself knowing what you knew (and those in charge turned a blind eye) is self-serving, sanctimonious bullshit.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:18 PM on January 12

What does "while you enjoyed the games yourself knowing what you knew" mean? I didn't know they were all juicing like crazy. I bought McGwire's Androstenedione explanation hook, line and sinker. If I had known that he and Sosa were going for Maris' record with chemical help, that would've taken all the fun right out of it.

Do you think they're weren't people telling him, "Everyone does it, it's not illegal and it will make you a better player and make you money?"

I don't know. Maybe he should tell us, but you seem to be against disclosure.

posted by rcade at 06:22 PM on January 12

Well, it's under more control now, their policiing it and the numbers are coming back to earth. That's all anyone really cares about anyway. So there's another aberration in the history of baseball. Like before Jackie Robinson. And Albert Pujols is the new Dimaggio. You know that kind of crap.

But the benefit has been the discussion. Fucking baseball is just the catalyst.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:24 PM on January 12

A full accounting of everything he did, who he got it from, and what it did to him would be pretty nice.

rcade -- could you give a full accounting of all of the prescription drugs you took since 1989 and where you got them? I doubt it (and if you could, bully for you). McGwire I am sure was not keeping a journal of what he took, who he got it from, etc. dating back over 20 years ago. Perhaps the illicit nature of what he was doing seared it in his memory, but you are basically asking for something that most of the population in a similar position would not be able to recall. As far as him coming clean as to "what it did to him," that is ludicrous. I think it is practically impossible to isolate the effects of steroids considering all other factors that could affect performance (weight training regimen, surgeries, injuries, diet/nutrition, personal issues/mental state, etc.), and for a lay person (non-scientist/doctor) to try to do so would be speculative at best and irresponsible at worst. For instance, cherry-picking two years he admitted to steroid use, he could say that steroids helped him in 1998 (the 70 homer year), but should he also say that steroids hindered him in 1994 (9 home runs in an injury-marred season)?

The steroid era is shit for baseball. They're lucky any of us still love the game.

Speak for yourself. It may be a minority opinion, but I appreciate baseball as good entertainment and a unique physical feat, whether it's being played by cyborg roiders or ordinary humans. The steroid era has done nothing to temper my love for the game.

posted by holden at 06:38 PM on January 12

Well said, holden.

posted by boredom_08 at 07:08 PM on January 12

I think you overestimate what I meant by full accounting. More like "I got drug X from source A and took it from year-year, drug Y from source B from year-year, and my [muscle mass increased|hair fell out|testosterone stopped being produced|testicles shrank]." Show where steroids come from and what they did to him, and what his doctors believe the long-term consequences will be. Explain exactly how the climate in baseball made him decide to do it. Give an idea of how many other people -- including managers and baseball executives -- knew it was happening.

Those are the things of things you do if you feel terrible about juicing, hate the era you played baseball in and want to help kids stay away from steroids -- which is what McGwire told Congress he was going to do.

posted by rcade at 07:23 PM on January 12

Joe Posnanski on forgiveness.

posted by boredom_08 at 07:26 PM on January 12

I agree with this last statement rcade. Jim Rome said a similar thing today - that he wishes just one person would offer us full disclosure if indeed they are sincere about how terrible they feel. Course Rome forgets that one person has - Jose Canseco, and he got skewered for it, and is now persona non-grata around major league baseball. As for this statement:

The steroid era is shit for baseball. They're lucky any of us still love the game.

I could not disagree more. It is widely viewed that the McGuire/Sosa home run record chase SAVED the game - which unless I'm mistaken, and in spite of the backlash, is pretty much the opposite of your statement, because even those that are dismayed by the widespread usage by their heroes are still watching to see what happens next.

posted by MW12 at 07:36 PM on January 12

Do you think McGwire, Sosa and Bonds would have "saved the game" if players were honest about juicing or the people running the sport had cracked down on it back then? Shattering the single-season and lifetime home run records on juice didn't save baseball. It traded one problem -- anger over the strike -- for another.

posted by rcade at 07:42 PM on January 12

Whether people would feel differently is they were honest back then is immaterial. There will always be another problem. But now, twelve years later, they still have the fans to watch them play for another day.

posted by MW12 at 08:00 PM on January 12

Then I have to believe the 3 MVPs in 4 years (1990/1992/1993) would probably make him a lock for the the HOF, wouldn't it?

No, not necessarily. It was the second string of MVP's that made him a stone-cold lock on the HOF. Assuming, of course, that per our discussion that we're going to ignore all of his stat's from 2000 on. He'd have shownn a short-lived dominance at his position, the extra four years is what gave him a long-term dominance.

could you give a full accounting of all of the prescription drugs you took since 1989 and where you got them? I doubt it (and if you could, bully for you). McGwire I am sure was not keeping a journal of what he took, who he got it from, etc. dating back over 20 years ago.

I absolutely can give you a detailed report on any legally obtained, regulated drugs I took over my life time, it's called my medical report. We all have one, you think CVS doesn't keep records? Now, if you're asking me to provide the exact dates and sources of any illegal contraband I may, or may not, have inhaled over the past 30 years, that would be a bit tougher. But, I do know exactly which illegal drugs I did back in my late teens/early 20's. I have a feeling that McGwire/Sosa/Bonds/ARod/Clemmens/Palmeiro/et al could all give a pretty detailed list of exactly what they took and who they got it from. I remember who supplied me with weed back then.

posted by dviking at 08:44 PM on January 12

I just skimmed through Juiced at a bookstore. Jose Canseco writes that McGwire was a skinny kid with an incredible swing and no muscles whose first season was clean, but the next season (1988) was when they began injecting steroids together and talked all the time about performance enhancements. It was just about the only thing they talked about, he writes.

Whether people would feel differently is they were honest back then is immaterial.

To you, clearly. But McGwire is ashamed at what he did and ashamed of the era in which he played. And I agree with him wholeheartedly.

posted by rcade at 09:03 PM on January 12

Sorry, but I won't do that because we don't know that for a fact. We could also do the same for most players that are on the list, can't we? posted by BornIcon

Forgive me if I'm wrong BornIcon, but isn't that your general modus operandi? No matter the evidence, or logic, you won't believe anything without the player admitting it or video proof? You are certainly free to close your eyes to all evidence and logic until players admit their steroid use. You don't have to believe that Clemens or Bonds used steroids unless they admit it, or McGwire before his confession, but it seems like you're simply turning your brain off.

What the hell do you people want? posted by wfrazerjr

I don't think McGwire owes me anything, and I might have made the same choices if I were in his shoes. And I don't have any strong feelings about McGwire one way or another, and finally admitting most were convinced of anyway is definitely the right thing to do.

But I'm not sure why the admittance is that impressive either. He admitted what everyone thought when it became most beneficial to him (HOF, returning as a coach). Again, I might have done the same thing.

And the whole 'I'm admitting I did it, but it didn't help me' is lame. Just apologize.

posted by justgary at 09:06 PM on January 12

No, not necessarily. It was the second string of MVP's that made him a stone-cold lock on the HOF. Assuming, of course, that per our discussion that we're going to ignore all of his stat's from 2000 on. He'd have shownn a short-lived dominance at his position, the extra four years is what gave him a long-term dominance.

Short-lived dominance?!
That's 14 seasons.
That's 4 more seasons than required for induction to the Baseball HOF.
That's 2000 games and 8500 plate appearances.

Here is a quick list:

HOF hitters that played less than 2000 games and had less than 8500 plate appearances:
(RCAA is "Runs Created Above Average", a stat used by Lee Sinins in his Baseball Encyclopedia. It is used to show players who do better than the league average during their season/career.)


# Name RCAA G PA
1 Dan Brouthers 967 1673 7676
2 Ed Delahanty 835 1835 8394
3 Billy Hamilton 802 1591 7591
4 Joe DiMaggio 708 1736 7671
5 Johnny Mize 667 1884 7371
6 Hank Greenberg 549 1394 6096
7 Elmer Flick 512 1482 6409
8 Sam Thompson 503 1407 6510
9 Joe Kelley 502 1842 8139
10 Arky Vaughan 478 1817 7721
11 King Kelly 470 1455 6455
12 Jim O'Rourke 452 1774 7952
13 John McGraw 442 1099 4939
14 Ralph Kiner 434 1472 6256
15 Bill Terry 425 1721 7111
16 Chuck Klein 409 1753 7168
17 Earl Averill 391 1669 7222
18 Hugh Duffy 374 1737 7838
19 Joe Medwick 368 1984 8142
20 Hack Wilson 367 1348 5556
21 Larry Doby 359 1533 6302
22 Frank Chance 348 1286 5099
23 Bill Dickey 339 1789 7060
24 Kiki Cuyler 325 1879 8098
25 Jackie Robinson 308 1382 5802
26 Earle Combs 307 1455 6509
27 Buck Ewing 305 1315 5772
T28 Mickey Cochrane 303 1482 6206
T28 Home Run Baker 303 1575 6659
30 Edd Roush 294 1967 8156
31 Jim Bottomley 282 1991 8355
T32 Kirby Puckett 254 1783 7831
T32 Gabby Hartnett 254 1990 7297
34 Ross Youngs 245 1211 5333
35 Chick Hafey 244 1283 5113
36 Tony Lazzeri 229 1740 7304
37 Roger Bresnahan 225 1446 5373
38 Hughie Jennings 206 1285 5655
39 Lou Boudreau 202 1646 7023
40 Joe Gordon 161 1566 6536
41 Ernie Lombardi 138 1853 6347
42 Roy Campanella 135 1215 4816
43 Joe Sewell 124 1903 8330
44 George Kell 121 1795 7528
45 Monte Irvin 116 764 2893
46 Casey Stengel 113 1277 4869
47 Jimmy Collins 105 1728 7460
48 Bobby Doerr 96 1865 8028
49 Johnny Evers 91 1784 7210
50 Freddy Lindstrom 84 1438 6104
T51 Miller Huggins 83 1586 6799
T51 George Kelly 83 1622 6565
53 Pie Traynor 75 1941 8293
54 Tommy McCarthy 63 1275 5748
55 Billy Southworth 52 1192 4927
56 Ned Hanlon 43 1267 5563
57 Lloyd Waner 34 1993 8326

Oh, and for the record, during that time period for Bonds (1986-1999), his RCAA was 1718

That's 57 HOF hitters that had less playing time than Bonds did in his first 14 seasons. If he had retired in 1999 because of his injury that season, he would have walked into the HOF on the first ballot.

And, in case you thought he was "fading" at that time, here are the stats where he ranked in the top 10 in the NL in 1998 (his last healthy season before 2000):
Runs, Doubles, Triples, Home Runs, RBI, Walks, Stolen Bases, SLG, OBP, OPS, RCAA, Total Bases, Extra Base Hits

posted by grum@work at 10:04 PM on January 12

My mistake. Barry Bonds RCAA was 811 for that time period.

posted by grum@work at 10:27 PM on January 12

I'm with rcade on this one. Admit your "mistake", yes. But don't try to justify it repeatedly by saying you were just doing it to stay healthy, or get healthy, or be healthy. Everybody knows what a bullshit excuse that is and you disrespect fans by expecting them to swallow that line of crap.

I mean, what are kids supposed to take away from this? "I screwed up once, I wish I hadn't done it, and I feel bad for what it's done to my family." This is not a momentary 'oops' or some sort of temporary transgression; this was a deliberate pattern of behaviour that altered your performance. Trying to brush off any effect that the drugs had on your muscles, your strength, your hitting ability, or your skillset is ridiculous and makes you look like a moron for thinking we'd believe it. Admission of guilt should come with acceptance of responsibility for the damage you've done to the sport and the toll it's taken on your body... not reiterating all the health benefits you enjoyed from its usage.

Just infuriates the crap out of me to see him "coming clean" now. I don't believe for a minute that there's any lasting remorse here; this is a spin job, pure and simple, with one clear motive in mind.

Edit: I suppose I ought to clarify that I've never been a huge McGwire fan, never followed his career or his postseason activity and don't know a whole lot about the guy. I just see a big league home run hitter who juiced his way into the record books, and that fuels my ire about the whole thing.

posted by evixir at 10:31 PM on January 12

Maybe he should tell us, but you seem to be against disclosure.

No, I'm against people being more upset about McGwire not giving full disclosure than they were about Bill Clinton lying under oath.

It's fucking baseball, for Christ's sake. In the same fashion Robin Williams owes you fuckall for making you laugh at him while he was on coke, Mark McGwire owes you nothing for his transgressions. The drugs (and not even illegal drugs, and ones the masters of the game were glad to turn a blind eye to) made a man hit a ball a little farther than he would have without them. Big fucking deal.

Do I wish he'd come out and spilled the whole sordid story? Yes, I do, and maybe in time he will. McGwire is not a very public guy, and he's pretty obviously shredded over this (publicity gurus around him or not). At least he had the sac to step up and tell some of it. Cut the guy some fucking slack.

It's nothing but entertainment, period, and all this unholy hand-wringing over the soul of baseball? It hasn't had one for a longgggg time.

Finally, can I point out skinny little no-muscles McGwire his 49 home runs in 1987? 49.

Yes, clearly, it was all the steroids.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:04 PM on January 12

He called Posnanski, but didn't say much more. This part makes my head spin:

"It's my opinion," he said, "and it's something I believe deeply. With the walking MASH unit that I was, sure, steroids benefited me. They got on the field to play more games and get more at-bats.
"But I became a better hitter. If you look at the evolution of my swing change, nobody ever analyzed that. I was a back-legged hitter, I would hit these towering fly balls that went over walls by five feet. But I started learning how to drive through the baseball and create backspin. ... Hey, I acknowledged that I used steroids for health purposes, to get back on the field, get more at-bats, play in more games. It allowed my body to recover and feel like it used to feel."

It just comes off as a little comical. It didn't make him a better hitter, but it kept him on the field. You can't be a great hitter sitting on the bench. Being able to step into the batters box makes you better immediately; nothing is more important. I'm a better hitter than McGwire on the bench (though not by much).

In the same fashion Robin Williams owes you fuckall for making you laugh at him

Robin Williams owes the public for making movies and not being funny, coke or no coke. McGwire has done nothing comparable.

posted by justgary at 12:07 AM on January 13

At least he had the sac to step up and tell some of it.

Yeah right. When it was convenient for him.

"I wanted to get this off my chest. We didn't get immunity. So here I am in this situation with two scenarios: possible prosecution or possible grand jury testimony."

He wouldn't talk before because he was afraid of prosecution, now he's not afraid and he spills a bit of truth and some tears and you're all up skinny little McGwire's ass.

He took steroids because they work. He hid his use because it was illegal and cheating. He said he wasn't going to talk about the past because that statement couldn't be construed as lying down the road.

He comes forward now why? Will he take Conseco's challenge and take a lie detector about them shooting each other up? My goodness, I can't believe this but I am now convinced that Jose is the only guy with the "sac" to tell the whole truth. Not some white washed what every one wants to hear version.

posted by tselson at 12:16 AM on January 13

No, I'm against people being more upset about McGwire not giving full disclosure than they were about Bill Clinton lying under oath.

I don't know who you are having a conversation with, Frazer, but it isn't anyone in this thread. I look forward to where this is going next. Do McGwire's oh-so-sanctimonious critics care more about his lies than the Gulf of Tonkin incident? Are we treating it with more seriousness than the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand?

It's fucking baseball, for Christ's sake. ... It's nothing but entertainment, period ...

The single-season and lifetime home run records were two of the most hallowed marks in sport. They were spoiled by this clown and another guy who's still waiting for the right time to tell us why his neck grew wider than his face after age 30.

Bob Costas: "Some of the Maris family have told me that they now consider their father's 61 in '61 to be the authentic single-season record."

McGwire: "They have every right to. It's unfortunate I played in this era."

Baseball may be soulless entertainment to you, but to me it's the national pastime and the integrity of the game was lost during the steroid era. McGwire and his ilk shamed the game. Now it's up to today's players to show they care more about the game than he did.

McGwire is not a very public guy, and he's pretty obviously shredded over this (publicity gurus around him or not).

He juiced up for 14 years, according to Canseco. I think the jury's still out on whether McGwire's shredded or this is just a cynical ploy to get something he wants.

posted by rcade at 01:15 AM on January 13

That's 57 HOF hitters that had less playing time than Bonds did in his first 14 seasons. If he had retired in 1999 because of his injury that season, he would have walked into the HOF on the first ballot.

Wow, he was good. I think Bonds started juicing because less (in his view) players started taking his limelight.

McGwire and his ilk shamed the game. Now it's up to today's players to show they care more about the game than he did.

The integrity of the players haven't changed. Baseball's drug policy is all that changed. The current players are thinking of any way they can to get an edge. Searching for an edge and striving to be constantly better is the nature of professional athletes. Selig and the owners who didn't want to have a real drug policy is who you should have a beef with.

posted by bperk at 07:36 AM on January 13

In the same fashion Robin Williams owes you fuckall for making you laugh at him while he was on coke

I expected, nay demanded, drug use from comedians in the 70s and 80s. A bit different from how I felt about baseball players.

posted by yerfatma at 09:23 AM on January 13

Forgive me if I'm wrong BornIcon, but isn't that your general modus operandi? No matter the evidence, or logic, you won't believe anything without the player admitting it or video proof?
posted by justgary

That's actually not entirely accurate and I'll explain why. Rcade raised the question as to how do we know that McGwire's first season was legit while I responded with how do we know that it wasn't, that was all.

He says he did a terrible thing, he wishes he'd never played in that era..

But McGwire was pretty much the reason why the steriod era even took place. I'm sure that there were other guys juicing but no of them were hitting the ball out of the park like McGwire was doing at that time on such a regular basis and none were going after Roger Maris' HR record. McGwire was also the one who had the Maris family attend his games so that they can all celebrate together when he passed Roger Maris which is why he called them to apologize when he finally revealed the truth.

It's a great thing to have the truth out there but we all believe that the only reason that McGwire is doing this is because he wants to be able to come back to the game of baseball which he's doing with the Cardinals as a hitting coach but to also get in the good graces of the very writers who can vote for him to be included in the Hall of Fame which is important to him.

posted by BornIcon at 09:43 AM on January 13

I think Bonds started juicing because less (in his view) players started taking his limelight.

That's a story that has circulated (sorry about no source.) Rumors had Bonds speaking with Griffey about the travesty of all the lesser players taking the spotlight that rightly belonged to them. One chose one path, one chose the other and the rest, as they say, is history. I don't know if I believe it, but at face value, it's plausible (ish).

posted by tahoemoj at 10:37 AM on January 13

But McGwire was pretty much the reason why the steriod era even took place. I'm sure that there were other guys juicing but no of them were hitting the ball out of the park like McGwire was doing at that time on such a regular basis and none were going after Roger Maris' HR record.

What? The Steroid Era didn't start in 1998.

posted by yerfatma at 10:46 AM on January 13

The Steroid Era didn't start in 1998.

I never said it did. We have no actual proof to indicate when the steriod era began. The only thing we know for a fact is that in 1998, Sosa and McGwire put on a power display that we have never seen before and now we know that it was all a sham.

When McGwire broke Roger Maris' season season HR record, he became the face of the league which he didn't deserve due to his use of steriods to accomplish the same feats that we believe Maris did naturally in 1961 when he broke Babe Ruth's record.

posted by BornIcon at 11:27 AM on January 13

What I'm learning from this conversation is never admit to anything, it's a trap. The people asking for it will never be satisfied when they finally get it. Something will be a little off or it'll be too scripted or you didn't say enough, it's not worth it, don't say anything.

posted by tron7 at 11:37 AM on January 13

I don't know who you are having a conversation with, Frazer, but it isn't anyone in this thread.

It's directed at everyone in this thread who takes no pause to consider what they would have done in the same situation. Millions of dollars on the table, the tacit approval of the league, owners and fans and -- again -- it wasn't illegal. Was it wrong? In my eyes, yes, it was, and I was glad to finally hear McGwire talk a little bit about it. Do I hope it talks more? Yes, I do, but if he doesn't, it's really none of my fucking business.

This overarching need for some of you to get a "full disclosure" or pissed at the timing -- it's like you feel he owes you something. Why? Did he come shoot you up? Did he run over your dog in a steroid rage? Nothing Mark McGwire did affected you in any way, shape or form.

As for records and the Maris family, can we point out here that Babe Ruth's family never acknowledged Roger's record, and for a much better reason -- he played eight more games. Are we going back to 60?

Afraid of prosecution? And you wouldn't be? They're going to dig around in his past, make life hell for him and his family and friends -- and for what? Something he did that wasn't illegal? Yes, by all means, I'm sure everyone here would have stepped up to take that when everyone else was just denying, denying, denying.

McGwire and his ilk shamed the game.

So did everyone else who let the sham continue for as long as it did. Bperk nailed it -- blame McGwire if you like (and I do), but there's plenty more to go around, and I think to even more deserving shoulders.

It's a great thing to have the truth out there but we all believe that the only reason that McGwire is doing this is because he wants to be able to come back to the game of baseball which he's doing with the Cardinals as a hitting coach but to also get in the good graces of the very writers who can vote for him to be included in the Hall of Fame which is important to him.

It's fine that you believe that, BI. I don't, at least not in its entirety. That means you can't use the word "all" there.

I expected, nay demanded, drug use from comedians in the 70s and 80s. A bit different from how I felt about baseball players.

Good thing a lot of them were using during the same time, huh? I wonder if Rock Raines should lose a few stolen bases for being hopped up on goofballs.

On preview:

What I'm learning from this conversation is never admit to anything, it's a trap. The people asking for it will never be satisfied when they finally get it. Something will be a little off or it'll be too scripted or you didn't say enough, it's not worth it, don't say anything.

Bingo.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:40 AM on January 13

What I'm learning from this conversation is never admit to anything, it's a trap. The people asking for it will never be satisfied when they finally get it. Something will be a little off or it'll be too scripted or you didn't say enough, it's not worth it, don't say anything.

Eh, what was McGwire's rep before he told the truth? Pretty dismal.

Now he'll be able to coach and not dodge questions, hopefully (for him) gain enough votes (and the support of people that matter) to get into the HoF, and move on.

I doubt he really expected universal approval. It was a smart move and the only move.

posted by justgary at 11:55 AM on January 13

It's directed at everyone in this thread who takes no pause to consider what they would have done in the same situation.

An FBI informant told the New York Daily News today that McGwire's steroid regimen was "one-half cc of testosterone cypionate every three days; one cc of testosterone enanthate per week; the veterinary steroids Equipoise and Winstrol V, one quarter cc every three days, injected into the buttocks, one in one cheek, one in the other."

On one hand you're saying that what McGwire did "wasn't illegal," but on the other you're saying he had good reason to fear prosecution. The informant was part of a case that netted 70 convictions.

Would I do what he did in the same situation? No. If I reached the Major Leagues with natural talent, as he appears to have done, I would not take a massive cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs for more than a decade. What is the point of being a famous multimillion-dollar athlete if it shrinks your mantackle, you suffer performance loss in the bedroom, and perhaps even die early like Lyle Alzado?

This overarching need for some of you to get a "full disclosure" or pissed at the timing -- it's like you feel he owes you something.

Again, you're talking out of both sides of your mouth. You say that you hope he talks more, but when others say the same thing, we're acting like he owes us something and it sparks your outrage. No one said he owes us anything. You raised that straw man and it was immediately shot down.

The notion that you're one of the only fair-minded people on this subject is unadulterated bullshit. I wish you'd get past that. The idea that we have some kind of "overarching need" here is ridiculous. Like you, everybody else is reacting to McGwire's choice to finally admit his steroid use. He wasn't hounded -- the discussion is taking place entirely on his terms. There's nothing remotely unfair about baseball fans hashing this out and looking for answers.

posted by rcade at 12:01 PM on January 13

fraze, sorry for how this sounds, but you've taken the wrong exit for Contrarian Town and wound up in Zoinks!berg yet again.

posted by yerfatma at 12:20 PM on January 13

It's fine that you believe that, BI. I don't, at least not in its entirety.

It's equally fine that you don't believe that in it's entirety but it's safe to assume that you believe it somewhat.

I've been saying it for years, I don't really care what these guys did. They're the ones that have to live with what they've done. They're the ones that have to deal with the reprecussions of having their bodies start to malfunction due to their abuse of steriods. It may not have been illegal in the MLB but in the real world it is. They don't owe me or any one of us anything, they owe it to themselves to tell the truth if they choose to.

Plus, I really can't say one way or another what I would've done if I was in their situation. Take steriods and jack up my stats enough to get a monster contract when it's time to renegotiate or take my chances and play naturally and hope for the best.

posted by BornIcon at 12:24 PM on January 13

It's equally fine that you don't believe that in it's entirety but it's safe to assume that you believe it somewhat.

.

posted by yerfatma at 01:14 PM on January 13

It's a masterpiece.

posted by BoKnows at 01:27 PM on January 13

The problem I see with all the McGwire coverage is that he is being singled out for different treatment than others who have been in similar situations or who have done worse (e.g., Alex Rodriguez pointedly and expressly lying about his steroid use, getting caught on the list, and then having his image largely rehabilitated or even enhanced within the course of one season). That McGwire was officially transformed in the public eye into the worst person ever for refusing to participate in Congress' kangaroo court charade was largely driven by the same baseball media folks who clearly turned a blind eye to rampant steroid use during the heart of the "steroid era." And now those same agenda setters are dictating what constitutes appropriate contrition and impugning McGwire's motives in coming out with this now.

Of course McGwire wants something out of this; people rarely act in a purely selfless manner. But to suggest that this is a ploy for the Hall is speculative at best, and I think McGwire probably knew in his heart of hearts before coming clean that his chances for the Hall are minimal to none. He will not go in with this same group of writers who are pillorying him now (and who helped transform him into the worst person ever as mentioned above) comprising the voting base, and there will not be enough turnover in the electorate to get those who might apply a more reasoned approach prior to him dropping off the ballot in 12 years. What McGwire is more clearly getting out of this is the opportunity to become involved again in a game he obviously loves and to work for the Cardinals in a manner that does not make him the center of attention once spring training and/or the season starts. Is that so cynical and selfish a motivation to justify the widespread impugning of his character and motives in coming out with this? Is Michael Vick's apology for dogfighting and his commitment to supporting anti-animal abuse charities/organizations cynical because he only did it to get back on the football field? Perhaps, but unless you have had private conversations with him about his true motivations/level of contrition, it's really unknowable. Just because one stands to benefit from some act of charity, contrition, etc. does not mean that the underlying act itself becomes irrevocably tainted or suspect.

I see McGwire in some respects as being similar to Barry Bonds. Bonds never played by the media's rules and never showed appropriate deference to the media, and had image problems galore pre-steroids allegations because he never was sufficiently ass kissing to the baseball scribes. McGwire's story never unfolded the way the media wanted it to -- he did not drop the big bombshell in Congress' little play, so the media made the hearings about his inability to follow the script (even though, as pointed out above, the agenda was supposed to be forward-looking). After that, he basically would always be fighting an uphill battle with any public statement, just as Bonds would be and will be in the future because of the underlying animosity the media have towards him. So it is little surprise to me that McGwire, who has more or less been more specific about his steroid use (at least among high-profile players) than anyone other than Jose Canseco, gets ripped for what he did not say and for his motivations in saying it, while A-Rod gets to say that it was a "loosey-goosey" time and spout all sorts of other bullshit, all the while only doing so because he got caught, and basically gets away with it. Alex Rodriguez is the one who will/should be an inner circle Hall of Famer, yet gets less scrutiny/outrage than a guy who was maybe a top 15 first baseman of all time. It's just strange to me, and seems to reflect no semblance of proportionality or rationality.

posted by holden at 01:33 PM on January 13

he is being singled out for different treatment than others who have been in similar situations or who have done worse

I don't think A-Rod's a fair comparison because his scandal blew up well after the baseball's collective fanbase had become inured to new scandal. He had the good fortune to be exposed as a cheater after the game had been exposed as full of cheats. The treatment of steroid users since ennui set in has been terribly inconsistent: Andy Pettite's transgressions are almost completely forgotten because he was "honest" (which is bullshit) while Roger Clemens will never escape the allegations surrounding him (which have yet to be proved even though he's a lying, cheating scumbag*). Players who are caught now are judged based on what kind of person they were in the media before the scandal. But you can't expect McGwire to skate by on that because his story didn't begin yesterday.

A-Rod was never as universally beloved as McGwire. McGwire was bigger than the game in that season, a walking tall tale, an American legend in a way few players (if any) have been during my lifetime. There are no new stories under the sun and this is just Icarus redux. He ought to accept it and go home. There's some honor in that. If he pulls some cheap stunt to restart the HoF clock, his honor is gone and the last of his legend will leak out of the balloon.

That said, I believe both you are fraze are Cardinals fans and I'd feel the same way if the roles were reversed. I'll never really care about Ortiz's steroid scandal because he was Big Papi before that and it's impossible to synthesize the two persons, so I chose to go with the one that made me happy.

* Obligatory Red Sox fan addition

posted by yerfatma at 02:09 PM on January 13

yerfatma -- while fraze and I are both Cardinals fans, I was always ambivalent about McGwire (now, if it was Pujols, I would have a hard time being objective) and can honestly say that my critique of the McGwire coverage/outrage is universal and would apply irrespective of McGwire's team lineage. The point about McGwire's overall stature and timing/era is well taken, but I still believe that the difference in reaction between McGwire and A-Rod and Manny (to take two players whose historical accomplishments put McGwire's to shame) is disproportionate and out-of-whack and suggests that there is something bigger afoot, which I place squarely at the feet of the traditional baseball media (while recognizing that there are other, secondary factors at play as well).

posted by holden at 02:20 PM on January 13

On one hand you're saying that what McGwire did "wasn't illegal," but on the other you're saying he had good reason to fear prosecution. The informant was part of a case that netted 70 convictions.

When? When were these substances made illegal, and when were the convictions? It certainly wasn't in 1988, when McGwire is alleged to have started using them. I will say this -- the best I can find for a date when anabolic steroids were made illegal is in the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1990, which doesn't jibe with what I'd read before. Can someone confirm this?

As for not taking them, good for you -- I'm glad you're sure with the pressure all around you to take them, you could have said no. Apparently, you would have been in the minority, as evidenced by this quote from the link:

"Everybody was taking steroids," the FBI informant told The News. "You could not go to gyms and not see monsters. Drugs were available. They were cheap."

Sounds like everyone back then was making the right decision.

Again, you're talking out of both sides of your mouth.

No, you just want to see it that way. I'm perfectly fine to let it sit the way it is -- McGwire said what he wanted to say, and I'm glad he did. I'd like to hear more about how everything went down, but I'd also have been fine if he never said anything.

I'm not sure how that's in the same line as:

A full accounting of everything he did, who he got it from, and what it did to him would be pretty nice.

In other words, the apology and resulting discussion should have been done to satisfy your needs, not his. That's the tenor I'm getting from just about everyone in here, and as holden asks -- why is it that way for McGwire and no one else? When are you all going to be calling for Brady Anderson's nuts in a jar?

As for unadulterated bullshit, you're right. I do think I'm one of the only people here being honest and fair in how this is being handled. I'm not reacting to McGwire's admission now -- I'm reacting to what I see as the amazing amount of acrimony toward McGwire when it hasn't been there in other cases.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:09 PM on January 13

As for not taking them, good for you -- I'm glad you're sure with the pressure all around you to take them, you could have said no.

Because of the health risks associated with that junk, it's not a hard decision. People who juice up are morons. McGwire was married with a newborn son back when he began using steroids in 1988, if you believe Canseco's timeline. Would you have done that with a wife and young kid at home, when you were already rookie of the year?

In other words, the apology and resulting discussion should have been done to satisfy your needs, not his.

Now we're back to my "needs" again, which is completely back-asswards in my opinion. McGwire chose to go public, seeking forgiveness and support from baseball fans. I said what it would take for that to happen, where I'm concerned. This does not mean I need anything from him, Bonds or any of the other chemistry experiments. Let them all fade out of the game under a cloud of well-deserved shame, wondering where their testicles went.

As for unadulterated bullshit, you're right. I do think I'm one of the only people here being honest and fair in how this is being handled.

Don't sell yourself short. You're going way beyond fair.

posted by rcade at 04:53 PM on January 13

McGwire was married with a newborn son back when he began using steroids in 1988, if you believe Canseco's timeline. Would you have done that with a wife and young kid at home, when you were already rookie of the year?

The health point is a very valid one, but McGwire had no guarantee of career success just for winning rookie of the year. At the time, he was a cost-controlled quantity with no guarantee of ever hitting a huge payday, so perhaps the pressure to continue to produce so he could get his first big contract was an incentive. There have been ROYs who have flamed out prior to getting a big contract. For example, according to Baseball Reference, 2003 AL ROY Angel Berroa made just over $3,000,000 in his career in total, which would be a lot to most of us but fairly minimal in the realm of professional baseball. Berroa is an outlier of course (and I am sure there are few, if any, ROYs who had as big of a monster year as McGwire had as a rookie only to never land a big contract), but the salary structure of baseball is such that there is/was a large incentive for young players to juice or seek some extra edge.

posted by holden at 05:09 PM on January 13

Because of the health risks associated with that junk, it's not a hard decision.

Really? HBO's Real Sports begs to differ. To be honest, I hadn't watched this either. Pretty eye-opening stuff, and I'd suggest if you're pushing the "steroids will kill you eventually" line, you need to watch it. Even Alzado's doctor says there's no link.

McGwire chose to go public, seeking forgiveness and support from baseball fans.

I'll have to watch the clips again -- I heard he said he was sorry for doing it. I didn't here him asking for forgiveness. Two different things, but I could be wrong.

Look, you guys want to bury him for this,and you're really being harsh on the guy. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt, and I'm taking his side. I don't really understand what he did to make you all think he's the most heinous guy out there that did this, or why you're frying him for at least owning up to it, but that's your prerogative.

Or Bobby Brown's, maybe.

posted by wfrazerjr at 06:47 PM on January 13

Bobby Brown and Milli Vanilli in the same thread - I love it!

I don't really understand what he did to make you all think he's the most heinous guy out there that did this, or why you're frying him for at least owning up to it

Let's be serious - first off, people get skewered on SpoFi every day; second, McGwuire brought this attention on himself because

a) he contributed to his own pomp & circumstance by asking the Maris family to be present when he broke the record b) he made a complete and total ass of himself in front of Congress, regardless of his intentions and all the coaching/legal counsel he received; and c) the timing of his decision to come forward is fishy

Can we at least all agree that if he'd come forward sometime other than right before his return to the game that his sincerity would be a whole lot less suspect?

Seems to me the ONLY reason he came forward right now is to minimize the circus atmosphere that's going to follow him around spring training next month.

posted by MW12 at 07:23 PM on January 13

If there is one thing that Mark McGwire's admission has done, it's give people more opportunity to spell his name wrong.

I'd hate to see how many mistakes people would make if Mark Grudzielanek, Doug Mientkiewicz, or Jarrod Saltalamacchia were the center of attention.

posted by grum@work at 12:20 AM on January 14

I'd hate to see how many mistakes people would make if Mark Grudzielanek, Doug Mientkiewicz, or Jarrod Saltalamacchia were the center of attention.

I heard all of them bought drugs from current Mariner's GM Jack Zduriencik.

posted by holden at 12:35 AM on January 14

Now that the Peat Rows controversy has quieted.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:36 AM on January 14

Even Alzado's doctor says there's no link.

I'm sure that doesn't mean what it looks like it means. So now we're arguing whether steroids pose a health risk? Whether they do or they don't, McGwire will continue to get heat for using them.

posted by yerfatma at 07:14 AM on January 14

Yerfatma, you could watch the link and find out. Alzado's doctor is not in the segment, but he's quoted as saying there's no definitive link between steroids and Alzado's death.

Armen Keteyian reports and talks with a couple of doctors who say not only have there been no studies which actually link steroids to heart and liver damage in healthy men, one of them likens the hysteria to Dick Cheney and WMDs.

I don't link this as anything to do with my quixotic sympathy for McGwire. I link it because I'd never heard this, and when Keteyian says in the wrap with Bryant Gumbel that if someone wanted to point the finger for spreading misinformation, he'd be a good target, that's pretty powerful.

posted by wfrazerjr at 10:42 AM on January 14

Look, you guys want to bury him for this, and you're really being harsh on the guy.

Beyond calling steroid users morons and viewing McGwire's statements and motives with skepticism, I don't think I've been exceptionally harsh in my take here. The first thing I said was that I was glad he came forward, and I said that his claim steroids didn't help his stats was the only thing he could say if he's trying to keep his Hall of Fame chances alive.

The bottom line for me is that these steroid users tarnished an era of the game and made everything they accomplished suspect. I hate that. My interest in baseball now has a 10-15 year chunk taken out of it. I can't stand the fact that the home run records are tainted. So I focus on the present and on the pre-'roid past.

If McGwire and the others come forward and show that they are genuinely sorry, taking actions that demonstrate this, I will respect them more than I do now. He took one step in that direction. That's good. If he feels as much shame as he claims, he could do a lot more.

As for the health risk of steroids, I haven't watched Real Sports yet, but I have trouble believing they are safe given warnings like this one from the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Major potential adverse side effects from taking anabolic steroids include liver tumors and cancer, jaundice, high blood pressure, increase in LDL ("bad") cholesterol, enlarged heart, heart attacks, strokes, and flying into rages. Other side effects include severe acne, baldness, oily scalp and skin, and mood swings.

Men who take anabolic steroids may also develop breasts, have their testicles shrink, have decreased sperm count, become infertile, and become impotent.

Women who take anabolic steroids become masculinized and may also grow excessive body and facial hair, experience menstrual irregularities, have their voice deepen, have an enlarged clitoris, and have reduced breast size.

Teens who take anabolic steroids may also have their growth halted prematurely and permanently.

Jose Canseco's ex wrote in her tell-all memoir Juicy about his steroid-fueled anger and depression, and the "startling changes in his genitalia," as Pat Jordan described in his "Chasing Jose" piece from Deadspin a couple years ago. A former steroid abusing athlete like McGwire could do a lot of good for the young athletes of the world if he talked about the adverse side effects and health risks. All we ever hear about is the upside -- the gaudy numbers and the chase for athletic glory -- and the only downside is the shame of getting caught.

posted by rcade at 11:00 AM on January 14

Yerfatma, you could watch the link and find out.

I could, but it's not germane to McGwire's status and given the fact I've got a limited time on this planet, I tend to skip stuff that sounds crackpot. Put it this way: if all those claims are true, I'll probably see them in the mainstream media regardless of how corrupt and blind the members are.

posted by yerfatma at 11:27 AM on January 14

I'm sure that doesn't mean what it looks like it means.

So you're sure you know what's in the report without watching the report. Gotcha.

And "Real Sports" is crackpot now?

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:14 PM on January 14

Real Sports is the gold standard for investigative sports reporting. The only thing I trust more, as a sports information consumer, is long SportsFilter comments with lots of hyperlinks.

posted by rcade at 12:23 PM on January 14

I'm sure that doesn't mean what it looks like it means

Wha?

posted by BornIcon at 12:51 PM on January 14

And "Real Sports" is crackpot now?

I love me some Real Sports. Doesn't mean that when they do a story about how negative health effects of steroids are all conky-dink that it's true.

posted by yerfatma at 12:57 PM on January 14

Since we're back on the health issues of steroids, don't forget that much of the concern centers around young people taking them while they're still growing. If the pro's take them to get an advantage, the college and high schoolers will be tempted to do as well. I think there are valid reasons for banning them regardless of whether, or not, Alzado's heart issues were 100% to blame on them.

posted by dviking at 06:16 PM on January 14

I thought athletes weren't role models?

Doesn't mean that when they do a story about how negative health effects of steroids are all conky-dink that it's true.

So when a high-profile reporter who has been covering the steroids beat says, "Man, I may have been spreading misinformation this whole time?" that doesn't mean anything? How much more mainstream do you get than Keteyian?

posted by wfrazerjr at 08:46 PM on January 14

that doesn't mean anything

I'm not saying that. I'm saying, "Where's source #2 with the same position?"

If the pro's take them to get an advantage, the college and high schoolers will be tempted to do as well

I just can't get behind that. How is my kid's behavior the obligation of Mark McGwire, Lyle Alzado or Charles Barkley?

posted by yerfatma at 09:18 AM on January 15

We're all role models, for good or bad. Celebrities who make money endorsing products profit off this status, so it's hard for them to claim they don't care about their influence on people.

If you're famous and your actions are modeled by many other people, how can you not take that into consideration? Mark McGwire could not have been blind to the impact he had with regard to performance enhancing drugs. When he was found to have Androstenedione in his locker back in 1998, sales of the drug increased 1,000 percent.

posted by rcade at 11:15 AM on January 15

I still feel like that's begging the question. There were thousands of kids in 1998 who didn't consider McGwire a role model because their parents didn't think sports was something the kids should be interested in. How far would you stretch McGwire's obligation to a specific kid?

posted by yerfatma at 12:04 PM on January 15

Going back to when he played, if Mark McGwire is a thoughtful person, he knows that his actions are modeled by children because of his status as a famous professional athlete. I think that most of us, when put in that position, would attempt to avoid behavior that would be modeled by kids to their detriment. Some would even try to model positive behavior.

Why is this something you can't get behind? Instead of viewing their status as role models as an obligation, famous athletes should view it as an opportunity.

posted by rcade at 12:48 PM on January 15

Because, and I guess this is where I do side with fraze, put in that same spot, I can't imagine passing up a much bigger payday because of the chance my steroid use could possibly come out and then somehow cause Timmy in Podunkville to copy my actions. We talk a lot about how small the window of opportunity is for athletes to earn money and how unlikely it is to make it to the major leagues at all. If I'd sacrificed so much (and foregone educational opportunities like most athletes seem to do), I can't see sacrificing the benefits of steroids because of a theoretical kid.

I get that famous athletes are "lucky". I can even see the idea they have an obligation to the fans who make them rich. But if the deal is that you have to sacrifice in a way most of us won't to be able to be the 1% (pros) of the 1% (great athletes) and then you're obligated to worry about how your actions affect the people who didn't or couldn't make the climb, that doesn't sound so lucky.

Sorry, that last bit is a mess. I just can't hold pro athletes to a higher moral standard than my own, especially when they often haven't received (or have passed on) the educational opportunities I have. Hell, they won't even let me be the banker in Monopoly around here.

I'm also confused why other entertainers aren't held to the same kind of standard. I realize this is a sports site, but I feel like actors who have a problem get a pass because they're tortured artists, while meatsticks who crash into each other for a living are beneath us and should feel lucky to have the opportunity to teach us morality.

posted by yerfatma at 01:23 PM on January 15

Going back to when he played, if Mark McGwire is a thoughtful person, he knows that his actions are modeled by children because of his status as a famous professional athlete.

Yeah, but I don't think that is a mantle that athletes should willingly accept. They play baseball really well. That says nothing about their ability to live their life the way children should. Ideally, it would be great if everyone, athletes and non-athletes, lived up to role model status. But, in reality, it is up to parents to be the role model for their children.

posted by bperk at 01:53 PM on January 15

But, in reality, it is up to parents to be the role model for their children.

What about the kids with no parents or lousy ones? If you say that it's ideal for everyone to embrace the opportunity to be role models, why would you suggest that McGwire and other athletes should reject the mantle?

posted by rcade at 01:59 PM on January 15

I don't doubt that kids look up to professional athletes to a certain extent today, but I think that the athletes-as-role-models concept/mythology is largely a product of a bygone era, and many of those in the media who beat on the drum of that concept actually pine for that bygone era. And also, let's face it, it was easier for the Joe DiMaggios of the world to be role models when their private lives were not on display for the world to see. In many respects, the media of old was complicit in not reporting on the sordid details of public figures' lives, and I find it a little rich that the same media of today that are so willing to air any public figure's private dirty laundry express shock and outrage at the adverse effect it will have on the children.

[As an aside, a feature request/inquiry. I have really been enjoying this thread, but it will soon peter out on account of continuing to be moved down the front page. Is there any way to do some sort of margin/side frame that links to "most active topics" or "recent comments" or some such that might ensure that threads like this that take on a life of their own can continue to flourish? Feel free to move this inquiry to the locker room.]

posted by holden at 02:41 PM on January 15

I have a slightly different take on the Athletes as Role Models in terms of steroids.

I do think kids who want to excel in sports are influenced by what athletes are doing. If a teenager who dreams of playing pro baseball sees that the best athletes take steroids, they are going to influenced by this. And some of them will end up taking steroids. And, as much as a parent wants to be a role model, a headstrong teenager who thinks he knows everything may end up taking steroids.

I think public policy demands that we keep steroids out of the hands of kids, unless prescribed by a reputable Doctor.

That being said, this is as much the responsibility of MLB, the owners, agents and even the players union as much as the individual athletes.

McGwire is an adult and he made his (bad) choices. But given the atmosphere in MLB at the time, it's hard for me to single him out as a negative role model when MLB, the owners, GMs, etc. were turning a blind eye to their activities because it made them money.

posted by cjets at 04:08 PM on January 15

With great (steroid-aided) power comes great responsibility.

posted by holden at 04:14 PM on January 15

There's another thing, something you don't hear people talk about much. In fact, my old friend Buck O'Neil was about the only person I ever heard talk openly about this. Buck would get infuriated because people constantly talked about the "benefits" of using steroids to the exclusion of almost everything else. He'd say something like: "Well, people talk all the time about how they will help you hit the ball farther and pitch the ball faster. Why don't they talk instead about how you might die young? Why don't they talk about how you might not be able to have children? Why are they always telling children: 'Use this and it will make you a great baseball player... but you shouldn't use it?'"

From the awesome article by Joe Posnanski.

posted by grum@work at 04:22 PM on January 15

Why don't they talk instead about how you might die young? Why don't they talk about how you might not be able to have children?

Exactly. If a 16 year old keeps hearing how his balls will shrink, steroids will be a lot less attractive. Chicks may dig the long ball, but they don't dig the tiny, shriveled ones. Or the roid rage.

posted by cjets at 04:24 PM on January 15

Would I do what he did in the same situation? No. If I reached the Major Leagues with natural talent, as he appears to have done, I would not take a massive cocktail of performance-enhancing drugs for more than a decade.

Yeah, I don't really buy the 'anyone would have done it' angle. Even looking at the highest estimates of steroid use, there was a large percentage that didn't use. I'm sure many had the chance. That's not saying temptation isn't strong to cheat on your final exam/ taxes/ wife/ or not return the money you found, but many people do resist.

And I don't really see McGwire taking an exorbitant amount of abuse here, not compared to what A-Rod received or Bonds would receive if he made this admission. I have no strong opinions on McGwire, and I have no problem accepting this decade any more than I do baseball pre-integration (unlike, say, rcade), but I think his excuse is ripe for discussion, and should be discussed.

I think his apology was sincere. I think he's sorry he got involved. But it was also an apology that looked out for his own interests. If McGwire had said it did help him hit a baseball better, harder, further, I think his Hall of Fame chances would be zero. But he didn't say that. He's claiming his hitting was all natural, and the drugs just kept him on the field; allowed him to display his god given talents.

That almost paints McGwire in a sympathetic light. Well played sir, well played.

posted by justgary at 04:25 PM on January 15

What about the kids with no parents or lousy ones? If you say that it's ideal for everyone to embrace the opportunity to be role models, why would you suggest that McGwire and other athletes should reject the mantle?

No athlete can be a substitute for crappy parents. Hopefully those kids find a coach, teacher or relative to serve as a role model for them. I think it is ideal for everyone to live their lives well as a role model would. I don't think celebrity strangers are good role models period. Everyone makes mistakes. If you are the role model for your child and you make a mistake, you can have as much time as you wish to explain this to your kid. If you are a celebrity, you never can. Celebrity role models are expected to be perfect, and that is just unrealistic.

posted by bperk at 04:27 PM on January 15

Former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark on McGwire: "Just seeing him in uniform makes me throw up."

posted by rcade at 04:37 PM on January 15

I'd sooner listen to the Jack Clarks and Andy VanSlykes, guys who actually played in the majors. The fact they played the same game and didn't cave to this same "pressure" McGwire did in order to succeed and get their big payday tells me something. Why do I, as a fan, owe any sympathy or understanding to McGwire when other players won't let him off the hook? And now he's allowed to "come clean" so he can become a freakin' coach for gods sake? Forget it. He played, he made all his money, now keep him away from the game once and for all.

posted by dyams at 05:15 PM on January 15

So did Jack Clark have a responsibility to me as a kid to be a role model for living within your means and having a budget? Because during those two years with the Sox he was an awful example of that. I still want to own a race car because of him.

posted by yerfatma at 05:31 PM on January 15

For the record, I've never bought into the "athlete as role model" bullshit. I'm talking major league player responding to another major league player.

posted by dyams at 05:42 PM on January 15

It appears that Jack Clark has, since his playing days, been enjoying a performance-enhancing diet of donuts and self-tanner. Where is his neck? How did his head get so big?

posted by holden at 05:42 PM on January 15

That's funny, holden.

posted by bperk at 05:56 PM on January 15

I'd sooner listen to the Jack Clarks and Andy VanSlykes, guys who actually played in the majors. The fact they played the same game and didn't cave to this same "pressure" McGwire did in order to succeed and get their big payday tells me something.

How do you know that Clark didn't succumb to the pressure?

Jack Clark used to have a lot of speed in his early years, and then he suddenly became pretty much just a slugger.

Jack Clark (the early years)

Jack Clark (the end of his career)

Those forearms look HUGE compared to his early career version, and these big arms seemed to appear after a few years of injuries.

Just saying...

posted by grum@work at 01:45 PM on January 16

How do you know that Clark didn't succumb to the pressure?

I don't. How do you know Pujols didn't. How do you know Ryan Howard didn't. How do you know Prince Fielder didn't. How do you know Dustin Pedroia didn't. How do you know Miguel Cabrera didn't. How do you know Lance Berkman didn't. How do you know Dale Murphy didn't. How do you know George Foster didn't. How do you know....blah, blah, blah......

Again, I'm more swayed by the outrage of other major league players towards players like McGwire. They, of all people, should understand a player succumbing to the pressure of using PEDs. I think many of them get a little annoyed this guy can shoot every type of shit into his body, and then get this bullshit credit for "saving baseball" along with Sammy Sosa. I wonder if MLB has chemists at work this very minute concocting the next drug they'll want players to abuse next time the sport needs a "shot" in the arm (or wherever).

posted by dyams at 03:03 PM on January 16

for the record, when I made my comment a few days ago that drew the response I thought athletes weren't role models?, I wasn't referring to players as social role models. It was in line with what cjets stated yesterday.

Any player with potential to move up is going to be influenced by the actions of those ahead of him. If Bonds has to use them to be what he was, then it sets off a ripple effect that reaches all the way down to high school. The kid in school is fully aware that if he can boost his slugging performance up a bit, he has a better chance of being drafted, or getting a scholarship to a better school. If that kid saw the pro's being held accountable, and if the health dangers were discussed more, I think they'd think twice. This current situation in which guys like ARod admit to using them, and then don't suffer any real consequences is not good.

posted by dviking at 04:21 PM on January 16

This current situation in which guys like ARod admit to using them, and then don't suffer any real consequences is not good.

And if MLB can't (or won't) do anything to these guys who test positive for PEDs while they're playing, at least keep them out of the game once they're gone! As I said earlier, McGwire being allowed to come back to baseball and coach? That's inexcusable.

posted by dyams at 04:48 PM on January 16

And if MLB can't (or won't) do anything to these guys who test positive for PEDs while they're playing, at least keep them out of the game once they're gone! As I said earlier, McGwire being allowed to come back to baseball and coach? That's inexcusable.

When exactly did McGwire test positive for PEDs while playing?

posted by grum@work at 05:39 PM on January 16

Again, I'm more swayed by the outrage of other major league players towards players like McGwire. They, of all people, should understand a player succumbing to the pressure of using PEDs. I think many of them get a little annoyed this guy can shoot every type of shit into his body, and then get this bullshit credit for "saving baseball" along with Sammy Sosa.

I think you should be more pissed at the guys like Jack Clark who must have known players were using PEDs, but decided to keep quiet about it. That's why this "outrage" from former players comes across as so f*cking hollow. I can't find any articles or quotes from Jack Clark during his playing time that mention his disgust about his teammates using PED to help his team win.

I wonder if MLB has chemists at work this very minute concocting the next drug they'll want players to abuse next time the sport needs a "shot" in the arm (or wherever).

They're the same chemists the government hired to create AIDS, SARS, and help formulate crack cocaine for the CIA to distribute.

posted by grum@work at 05:43 PM on January 16

When exactly did McGwire test positive for PEDs while playing?

I never said he did test positive while playing. He just admitted it he used them.

I think you should be more pissed at the guys like Jack Clark who must have known players were using PEDs, but decided to keep quiet about it.

Why would I expect anything from Jack Clark, or anyone similar to him. Tony LaRussa is always touted as the most intelligent baseball person in the fucking world, and he managed McGwire for practically his entire career, yet still insists he knew nothing about it. If anyone out there truly believes that, I'd be amazed.

posted by dyams at 10:50 PM on January 16

I think you should be more pissed at the guys like Jack Clark who must have known players were using PEDs, but decided to keep quiet about it.

wtf?

They're the same chemists the government hired to create AIDS, SARS, and help formulate crack cocaine for the CIA to distribute.

double wtf?

posted by tselson at 11:10 PM on January 16

They're the same chemists the government hired to create AIDS, SARS, and help formulate crack cocaine for the CIA to distribute.

double wtf?

Well, dyams presented a bizarre conspiracy theory at the end of that comment, so I thought it should line up nicely with the other insane conspiracy theories I've heard.

Why would I expect anything from Jack Clark, or anyone similar to him.

I don't think anyone should expect to hear anything from Jack Clark during his career, so I don't understand why anything said by Jack Clark AFTER his career should be taken seriously. But you said you'd listen to what he'd say, and I just wanted to point out that unless he was completely blind, he would definitely know what was going on in his locker room.

It's hypocritical to accept your teammates using PEDs, but to then rant and rave after the fact when other players are caught using them.

Tony LaRussa is always touted as the most intelligent baseball person in the fucking world,

My turn:

wtf?

This guy is considered "intelligent"?

posted by grum@work at 12:17 AM on January 17

This guy is considered "intelligent"?

With regards to baseball and what goes on both in and within the game, yes, I think LaRussa is widely considered to be intelligent. I don't think a DUI takes away from the fact he pretty-much knows what's taking place in the game he has managed for many years. And for many of those many years, he was the manager for Mark McGwire.

I just wanted to point out that unless he was completely blind, he would definitely know what was going on in his locker room.

That's exactly why LaRussa claiming he had no idea steroids were ever being used by McGwire, when he was the man in charge of the team McGwire played for in Oakland and St. Louis for years, is even more ridiculous. I don't hold Jack Clark or other players responsible for bringing the steroid use of others to everyone's attention when the managers of the teams, the ones in charge, are going to claim ignorance on the topic. Accountability starts at the top.

With regards to my "conspiracy theory" I mentioned, it was really nothing of the sort. I was actually commenting on how many individuals still seem to think we should either sympathize with or appreciate McGwire (and Sosa) because of the supposed "feel good" moments they provided during their single-season home run record race, and how it came at a time when baseball needed to be "saved." My comment was only meant to point out how baseball has needed to be dragged, almost unwillingly, into complying with ridding baseball of steroids. What will they turn a blind-eye to next time the sport runs upon hard times? And I'm talking about baseball players and their desire to hit home runs with the help of various substances, not about a horrible disease such as AIDS, or the other topics you brought up in response. Yes, baseball does pale in comparison to the "real" issues the world faces. Because I (or others) get passionate about sports on a sports-related site doesn't mean certain comments have to hold up against arguments on all topics currently facing humanity.

posted by dyams at 10:15 AM on January 17

Jack Clark's playing days ended in 1992, so like Tony LaRussa, he was in a position where he must have known that steroid abuse was rampant in the game. I find it extremely difficult to believe that most people in the game didn't know anything.

So if Clark has never said anything until now -- and I don't know that's the case -- he contributed to the problem. Not as much as the players who 'roided up or the people who ran the sport and turned a blind eye, but he still can't claim the high road now.

posted by rcade at 10:59 AM on January 17

And I'm talking about baseball players and their desire to hit home runs with the help of various substances, not about a horrible disease such as AIDS, or the other topics you brought up in response. Yes, baseball does pale in comparison to the "real" issues the world faces. Because I (or others) get passionate about sports on a sports-related site doesn't mean certain comments have to hold up against arguments on all topics currently facing humanity.

I think you took my response completely wrong, or you are being deliberately obtuse.

I compared the ridiculous idea that MLB has chemists working on the next big drug for the ballplayers to take, to the equally ridiculous idea that the government is responsible for AIDS/SARS or crack cocaine. I was not equating the problems (steroids in sports vs disease in society), I was equating the idiocy to even suggest MLB would do something like produce their own PEDs to the idiocy of the conspiracy theory of the government is the cause of AIDS/SARS/crack.

I used those examples because they both involve the moronic idea of some chemists working in secret to create something terrible.

posted by grum@work at 12:01 PM on January 17

I took your response wrong.

posted by dyams at 02:35 PM on January 17

Bic Mac woos the fans, evades the questions, and shuns the press. Again.

posted by irunfromclones at 04:17 PM on January 17

In a brief appearance, he warned kids not to try steroids

Yeah, because McGwire is living proof if you use steroids you might sign contracts for millions of dollars and, when your playing days are over, become a coach at the major league level. Great lesson there.

We've heard your lame story now, Mark, so just shut the hell up.

posted by dyams at 05:37 PM on January 17

So, McGwire made a mistake in his playing days. Is he supposed to crawl into a cave and die, or is he allowed to move on with his life?

posted by bperk at 08:42 PM on January 17

Just in case anyone was curious as to how the McGwire thing is playing out with the St. Louis fans:

Mark McGwire received a standing ovation from Cardinals fans Sunday in his first public appearance in St. Louis since admitting he used steroids.

Former Cardinals slugger Jack Clark, who called McGwire a "phony" in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch story last week, was booed in an appearance on the same stage not long before McGwire's appearance.

posted by grum@work at 01:07 AM on January 18

Yeah, that's incredible the Cardinals fans would show support for McGwire at a Cardinals event in St. Louis. He's only the biggest star in recent baseball history in that city. I guess we should be shocked New York gave warm receptions to A-rod and Pettitte last year. And Clark was a good player who was never too warmly received by fans wherever he played, mainly due to his own personality.

No, I'm not saying McGwire shouldn't be allowed to move on with his life. He just shouldn't be allowed to do so in major league baseball. Baseball just continues to look the other way when it comes to players who used artificial means to ultimately alter games, standings, and records.

posted by dyams at 08:06 AM on January 18

Has anyone watched the video I linked?

Anyone?

posted by wfrazerjr at 05:42 PM on January 19

I have, fraze.

Quite interesting.

posted by tommytrump at 07:19 PM on January 19

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