The elect Mark McGwire campaign began in earnest manipulation on Monday, after all the huffing, puffing, and years of body language that screamed denial.
He says he is sorry and indeed he is — and in retrospect, so was his career.
Ten years of steroid abuse, 583 home runs, and as almost as many wardrobe changes, and McGwire is hoping this will bring him back to baseball without questions asked, and vault his Hall of Fame voting beyond the 23.7% that won’t get him any real recognition now.
“Now that I have become the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals, I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago,” he began his released statement with bold face nonsense.
Excuse me, but didn’t he have the chance to do this years ago? Didn’t he choose to hide the truth?
Why didn’t he come clean when the U.S. Congress asked him to?
Why is it he wants to talk about the past now when a subpoena couldn’t drag it out of him?
He had the chance to tell his story earlier, maybe put some perspective on his own career, but instead he again comes across as the opportunist. He is coming clean now because he is returning to coach with the Cardinals and he couldn’t go town to town in baseball and spread any more lies. He is coming clean because his paltry Hall of Fame totals are embarrassing for the eighth leading home run hitter in baseball history. And he is coming clean because he knows some people — his fans and the Polyanna types — love nothing more than apologies.
“I always knew this day would come,” McGwire said in his posted statement. “It’s time for me to talk about the past and to confirm what people have suspected. I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize ...
“I wish I 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.”
Now isn’t that rich. He was front and centre in the steroid era. If he’s not Exhibit A, he is right there alongside Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa, not just for the change in his head size, but for his inflated statistics. McGwire hit 70 home runs one season, 65 another year. He’s right there with Bonds and Sosa — the top six home run seasons in baseball history — all of them rendered questionable if not meaningless over time. The greatest power seasons in baseball tainted by words and deed while Bonds and Sosa continue their sounds of silence.
Whatever McGwire did, when he did it, certainly was covered up by people who had to know, or turned a blind eye to the obvious. People like McGwire’s manager, friend and chief defender, Tony LaRussa, who was spreading his own form of pablum Monday.
“No one on the teams I managed worked harder or better than Mark,” said LaRussa, who then leaves a question or two to chance. What LaRussa doesn’t say is that one of the qualities steroids provides athletes with is the ability to work harder and better. “And now his willingness to admit mistakes, express his regret, and explain his circumstances that led him to use steroids adds to my respect for him. I’ve defended Mark because I observed him develop his unique power hitting skill through a rigorous physical and fundamental workout program.”
Which is textbook steroids stuff.
“During the mid-90s I went on the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years,” McGwire said. “I experienced a lot of injuries ... and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries too.”
McGwire went on to say: “I want to come clean. I was not in a position to do that five years ago in my Congressional testimony.” He doesn’t say why he wasn’t in a position to tell the truth. It’s just another question left unanswered.