Are you happy now America? Mark McGwire has officially admitted to using steroids as a professional baseball player.
Vote him into the Hall of Fame now, writers. The ones who don't vote for McGwire have said that if he admits and comes clean, they would vote for him now. Do it, live up to your word.
Listen, I am one of the biggest McGwire fans around. Outside of his family and friends, I would probably rank first or second on his all-time fan followers. Yeah, I would be the fan that stands outside of his house and picks through his trash to find food he threw out and frame it.
What today did to me is nothing.
I forgave McGwire a long time ago. I have defended him. In fact, I even called it when I have said that he really started using in 1993 when his injuries began. Sure, he used in the 1989-90 offseason, but the way I take that, it was more of a sample like at the supermarket.
His 49 home runs for a rookie still stands as a record. His following two seasons, he totaled 55 home runs proving his power was real, just a little off because the pitchers had figured him out.
Hey, look at that, the reason he started. He wanted to get an edge on the competition.
Did the steroids really have an affect in 1990? Probably not, with his 39 home runs and 110 walks. That's just good hitting and patience, not steroids.
In fact, is there even proof yet that he took steroids? Not really. He admitted to using steroids, but this could easily be Human Growth Hormone we're talking about.
Sure, in that offseason between decades, it was most likely steroids. That was also the year that Canseco probably introduced McGwire to the juice.
In 1993, it had to be HGH. There really is no other question. HGH was in play to help him heal faster and get him back on the field. Same with 1994, even though there was a strike that year, he still missed time with his nagging injuries.
In 1995 and 1006, he had home run totals that look off based on his games played. You can also credit that to him being a pure power threat.
Let's remember this: steroids bulk you up and give you more "umph" in your swing, but it does not lead to home runs. That is the stereotype, and it is not true. McGwire's steroids led to him hitting those monstrous and titanic home runs. It did not lead to the home runs themselves.
That was all him.
In 1998, McGwire set the single season home run record while on Andro. Did he take steroids then? Who knows. He says he did, but he could easily be referring to the Andro, which is a steroid. We all knew that. Move on.
Now, he is the hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals and missed a Hall of Fame introduction for a fourth year in a row. He obviously admitted his use to get in right?
No. Grow up.
McGwire is a man, and a dignified one. Yes, this admittance tarnishes his baseball career, though not nearly as bad as before he admitted, but he is still a man. He made a mistake and owned up to it. Not everyone will, like Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds.
He admitted to using steroids and that makes him a better man before all of this. He didn't do it to be in the lime light, nor did he do it to land himself in Cooperstown.
He did it because he wants the focus of the upcoming season on the team and players, not him. He did this because he doesn't want to be the center of attention when he is a coach, not a player. He wants the players to attract the attention they so deserve.
If he gets attention for being a good hitting coach, then that's just great. He knows who deserves the attention, and that's the players. He'll take the heat for slumps, but he wants the players to receive all of the credit for good seasons and having a good stretch of games.
He knows this game. He loves this game. That's why he admitted his use. For the good of the game.
If you think differently, you are fooling yourself. He isn't a media whore, nor is he doing this for self gain. He is doing this for the good of a team that is giving him his second chance.
He admitted his past use. He gave you what you want.
Now move on and let the man coach.
Eight O'clock Addition:
I am editing this article to add to it. Basically, this is a separate article that will be too short to deserve it's own article heading.
I keep reading and hearing that steroids made McGwire who he is.
Steroids builds up muscles, and as I said in the former part of this article, it is a stereotype to think it affects your game. Yes, it will help you last a full season (strength and stamina). It will give you more "umph" in your swing, but it won't turn a double into a home run.
McGwire had 49 home runs in his rookie season. He set Little League records in his town for home runs. His first at-bat in Little League: looooooooooong home run.
High school? Challenged home run records. College? Led all college players in home runs one season.
The man was a power machine. He earned every single one of his home runs. Taint them if you wish, but he hit every single one of those home runs himself. No steroids made him a home run hitter.
And to everyone that bashes McGwire, remember that he came clean. Yes, "five years too late," but he did it. He didn't have to. He took insults and bashing for five years after his Congressional testimony, but he still came clean now.
He has more integrity than most of you, steroids or no steroids.
To round out this article, I want to direct your attention to Bob Costas, one of the best sports men around. If you don't respect him, then you have issues.
He interviewed McGwire on MLB Network a few hours ago (and thanks to my college cable, I could not see it...). Costas handled this interview with class (as I am told). After the interview was over, the "experts" bashed McGwire.
Why? It must be the thing to do today. You know, because all of those experts are perfect and haven't made any mistakes.
So the quote of the day comes from the St. Louis Post-Disptach's forums (Cards Talk to be specific). I find this fitting to what I have been saying today:
"You don't see these same people stringing up their big-market darlings like A-Rod or Ortiz, hypocrites."
Word for word, that is what the poster said. And this couldn't be more true.