March 18, 2005

Steroids- The Pitch That Struck Out McGwire

Earlier I wrote about Mark McGwire and the current steroid scandal. I said that I am a fan of Big Mac, that he seemed to be genuine and that he always struck me as a good guy and that in an age in which pro athletes are known for acts of stupidity he didn't have any. There were no stories of DUIs, beating his wife or any of the other sordid tales we hear about.

And thus far I still think that he is one of the good guys, but he screwed up yesterday when he testified in front of Congress. I have had some time to think about it and consider my position. I have had time to read some others opinions and have come to a few conclusions that I want to share with you.

I think that

Jayson Stark was correct when he wrote:

"There's a simple way to solve this," Rep. Mark Souder lectured him Thursday, "(by saying), 'I am clean.' … The American people can figure out who's willing to say that and who isn't.

"If the Enron people came in and said, 'I don't want to talk about the past,' " Souder went on, looking McGwire straight in the eyeballs, "you think we'd let them say that?"

Well, Mark McGwire didn't steal all the savings in anybody's 401K. Let's get that straight. He has such a special compassion for children that he practically broke down talking about those parents who say they lost their sons to steroid-induced suicide. And he's a good enough human being that we're even willing to take him at his word when he says he wants to "do everything I can to turn this from a negative thing into a positive thing."

So to lump him in there with Ken Lay is a little much. Sorry, Congressman."

This is not the same thing as Enron, that is an apples and oranges comparison. It is unreasonable and unfair to try and make this into a hearing of that magnitude. It is wrong and I question why Congress is getting involved in this issue. To me it seems like an easy opportunity to engage in grandstanding for votes and it ignores so many other more pressing issues.

I am not the only one who felt that way Skip Bayless said

"Some of the representatives obviously hadn't read Canseco's book and hadn't done any homework on the subject of steroids and baseball. Too often they ate up their allotted time with what amounted to grandstanding speeches about sportsmanship and role models."
That is just terrible, absolutely terrible. They work for us. The officials we elect are our employees and I'd like to see them focus their energy on affecting real and positive change. The hearings on steroids are important. I think that Jose Canseco is a slimeball and that he sold out colleagues and friends to make money without considering the ramifications of his actions. I don't think it ever occurred to him what would happen if he hadn't opened Pandora's Box. But he did; and the reality is that the hearings were conducted, the questions were asked.

The opportunity to answer the question was presented and the lack of an answer was the answer. Big Mac, I think that you were juiced up. I think that you did do steroids and I am sorry that you had to get dragged into this, but you should have come clean.


You should have come out and said that you took substances that were legal, that were not banned. That you did it consciously and intentionally with full knowledge of the consequences. You could have said that you are against steroid use in children and repeated again that you knew the risks in taking them, but that as an adult you were willing to assume the risk.

It would have been honorable. Your reputation has already been smeared and it will take time for the court of public opinion to make a decision. Based upon what I know about steroids I don't think that they made you more capable of hitting a homerun. I think that you were strong enough to hit the ball out of the park without the assistance and that just made it go that much farther.

I think that if there had been an outright ban on steroids and you violated it when others did not have access that I would be quite upset, but that was not the case. To me the issue is not that some people took them and others did not. If access was available to whomever wanted to try, well that is just how it is.

It would be nicer if people didn't use any performance enhancing drugs, but that is not the case.

You still have to hit the ball. You still have to hit a 90 MPH fastball and if you cannot it doesn't matter how strong you are, what bat speed you bring to the table, assisted or not.

But you chose not to answer and to me and others that places you under and umbrella of guilt and shame. And that is too bad.


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