In what was generally regarded as sports' worst kept secret—worse than the fact that Milton Bradley is an ass, Gilbert Arenas is crazy, and Brett Favre may be the NFL's biggest narcissist—Mark McGwire announced formally Monday that he did, in fact, use steroids early and often throughout his career.
McGwire was good enough to sit down for the MLB Network's Bob Costas for a follow-up interview last night that one could only be described as ludicrous.
"I wish that I had never played in that era. I wish there was drug testing."
Sure buddy, we believe you. Never mind the fact that McGwire fully acknowledges that his injuries suffered through the early '90s would have forced him into retirement by 1996 otherwise, sans not only international fame but the roughly $55 million earned from baseball from 1996-2001.
Mark also believes that not only was his use of steroids in such low doses that they provided little strength benefit, arguing they provided no edge in power, but that he didn't even regard it as cheating—technically, he's right, although it was certainly illegal.
When asked by Costas whether he would have achieved such lofty power numbers without the use of steroids, and to a much lesser extent HGH, he says, "Absolutely."
Evidently, the subtle nuance of intent and consequence seems to be lost on him, or at least he hopes that it's lost on you.
Even if you can accept that his use of illegal drugs was for health and recovery reasons only, you can't simply ignore the fact that side effects are extra strength, better bat speed, quicker recovery from workouts—allowing him to become even stronger—and the ability to get on the field at all. Well, you can if you're McGwire.
Read the transcripts, or even better, watch the video. While you're doing that, let me ask a few rhetorical questions.
At what point is Congress going to step in and put a major league player in jail, if not for perjury, then certainly obstruction of justice? Rafael Palmeiro? Liar. Miguel Tejada? Liar. Roger Clemens? Liar. Mark McGwire, borderline obstruction, if not outright liar.
I'll do you one better. What did the Cardinals know, and when did they know it? Suspicious that McGwire was offered employment by the organization now, given Mark's obvious desire to reenter the game. More so that the statute of limitations for the use of illegal drugs and, wait for it...perjury is five years.
Want to guess what anniversary date is coming up just before the start of the baseball season? Yeah, exactly. Is it out of the realm of possibility that the Cardinals were fully aware, or at least Tony La Russa, and planned this course of action well in advance yesterday?
The biggest question of all? How, in a situation that even Mark acknowledges as widespread use of PEDs throughout baseball, can he sit straight-faced and tell us that none of his family knew before yesterday? Or his coaches? Or his teammates? And that he never even heard the matter discussed in the clubhouse in his 17-year career?
If McGwire would like the acceptance and forgiveness of fans, in addition to the already given wink and nod from the baseball crowd, then here's an idea. Make yourself available for more formal lines of questioning and be frank with the public, instead of this shameful and transparent attempt to pee in our ears and tell us it's raining.
McGwire cried not once but twice during his interview with Costas, shamed by the embarrassment caused to his friends and family. I cry too, but for baseball—and for fans who gave their dollars, loyalty, and hearts to puffed-up, homer-happy figures of our imagination from the '90s who were merely manifestations of a bioengineering lab and a too-smooth MLB marketing department.
Hall of Fame? Please. You could make a better case for his pharmacist.