St. Louis Cardinals: Why is Big Mac Land Still Part of Busch Stadium?

Lake CruiseAnalyst ISeptember 2, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 12:  Batting coach Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals watches from the dugout during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on April 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Diamondbacks defeated the Cardinals 13-8.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Why are the St. Louis Cardinals still honoring the only admitted steroid user turned batting coach in MLB history with a land named after him? I’d certainly like to know. Would you, Cards fans?

America’s No. 1 professional baseball town certainly deserves much better, but it is what it is. With the season winding down and the Redbirds poised to miss the postseason again, looking forward to next year has become the theme. 

I’m formally asking the St. Louis Cardinals organization to please tell me what the deal with Big Mac Land in left field is. The message I’m getting and so are the children: do steroids to break Roger Maris’ 37-year-old record, and receive a section of the ballpark illuminated in your honor.

“Just say no to drugs” becomes “Just do it.”

It’s a fact that people suffer all sorts of medical problems, including death, from the effects of doing destructive steroids. Restoring honor to the Cardinals around MLB could start with killing Big Mac Land. Why not? His proposed statue is already a casualty.

After McGwire went off in 1998 on one of the greatest home run binges the world ever saw, a bronze statue was sculpted in his honor. Last I heard, it was still sitting in a St. Louis warehouse somewhere collecting dust. 

If any person knows about the whereabouts of said statue, then please let me know. I’d like to pay my due respects to it. According to a 2007 New York Times report, the Cardinals hired Harry Weber to build a statue to commemorate McGwire’s 70 homers in 1998.

But the finished project’s dedication ceremony was put on indefinite hold. Weber said that the Cardinals were willing to wait several more years for McGwire to be elected to the Hall of Fame. It’s now obvious that he will probably never be elected.

In the 2011 vote, he didn't come close to receiving the required total. In fact, his percentage of votes received is slipping. It was his fifth year on the ballot.

As the New York Times articles points out, in 2007, his first year of eligibility, Big Mac was named on only 23.5 percent of the Hall of Fame ballots. That’s a more than 50 percent short of the 75 percent needed for induction.

Weber sounds like a man who wishes he was never induced to be involved in the McGwire statue project, “A couple of people have come to me and said, ‘I’ll buy it," Weber said. “But the Cardinals own it. They paid for it.”

The owner who commissioned that statue probably feels like an inductee into the St. Louis Hall of Shame. I sincerely hope there are no plans in the works to retire this clown’s shameful jersey.

Maybe the owners and the front office insist on honoring McGwire with Big Mac Land because they feel sorry for the way he’s been treated since the steroid scandal came to light. The criticism he gets, however, has been relatively tame in comparison to the others caught up in the conspiracy.

As a scourge of St. Louis, McGwire does not deserve to have his name in lights anywhere near Busch Stadium. Everyone else connected with the steroid era has been to court or been banned in the court of public opinion.

While other players like Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa have been ostracized, taken to court and had their names run through the red mud of scandal, McGwire is assistant coaching at one of the most storied franchises in American history.  

In March 2005, he “testified” before the Congressional committee on steroids in MLB. Weber claimed he knew then that precious time had been wasted making the statue.

In watching McGwire’s blundered testimony, “I knew it was probably a goner the first time he opened his mouth,” Weber said. “He dug his own grave. It was a sad performance. “

Will the statue be resurrected? “It’s not likely to see the light of day anytime soon,” he said in the NY Times telephone interview (linked above). Weber conducted the call from his 130-acre horse farm in Wright City, Mo. So he knows something about horse manure.

Big Mac Land reminds me of it. I don’t know why it’s still a part of Busch, but it’s Bush League to keep it there. If he is not paying to have it there, then it should be covered.

Going forward, it shouldn't see the light of day or night. Replace it with “Pujols’ Property,” “Holliday’s Home,” or something similar. 

The Cardinals may as well have Gary Templeton Town behind the third base line and build him a bronze statue. He once led the world in triples. 

At least one of you, my dear readers, probably thinks I’m tripping, but I’m just a juggernaut going for the jugular in every journal.

Join me on the next episode of Lake’s Big Mac Land Report.

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