You would think after getting swept by the Dodgers in the NLDS, St. Louis Manager Tony LaRussa, who will come back for at least one more year, would be concerned with how the Cardinals can improve. Instead, he seems dead-set on creating a circus-like atmosphere for his 2010 squad.
If you haven't heard, Mark "I'm not here to talk about the past" McGwire will serve as the Cardinals hitting coach next season. And I thought we were heading towards our first Spring Training this decade free of steroid talk.
Why on earth would LaRussa do this? Is he now in the rehabilitation business? Will he hire Jose Canseco next? Maybe he could start campaigning for Pete Rose’s reinstatement.
And why McGwire? This is a guy who apparently needed steroids to rehabilitate his own career. Do you really want a guy who hit .201 in 2001 in almost 500 at-bats instructing your young players on the art of hitting?
The vision of a juiced Sammy Sosa and a more juiced Big Mac jumping around in ‘roid delight that September night in 1998 in St. Louis when—in front of the Maris family—McGwire broke the 37-year-old single season home-run record nauseates me to this day.
And the fact that Mac had the opportunity to clear the steroid air four-and-a-half years back in front of our elected officials and didn’t should permanently bar him from collecting a pay check from a major league team.
If Canseco is unofficially blackballed from baseball, McGwire should be as well.
The game is attempting to move on. Manny Ramirez getting busted for taking drugs that either masked his steroid use or prepped his uterus for insemination doesn't help, but welcoming the guy who, along with Barry Bonds, is the poster boy for the steroid era is counterproductive to moving forward.
Can you think of a worse role model not named Bonds than McGwire?
McGwire wouldn’t have become a household name without the juice. He’d be a Dave Kingman-like footnote in history.
Will he address his past, or naively believe he can work in baseball without saying a word?
To make this right, to clear the air, to avoid the Spring Training circus, Big Mac should call a press conference right now and address his P.E.D. past. Put it in the rear-view. And hope to move forward.
Denials or silence won’t work here.
Take the Andy Pettitte route. Address the situation and answer everyone’s question. It won’t fix everything, but it’s a start.
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