January 11, 2010, - 10:57 pm
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
In a statement to AP and a teary-eyed interview with Bob Costas today, Major League Baseball’s Mark McGwire admitted he used steroids. Currently a batting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, he admitted it in an apparent attempt to get into the baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. But it’s hardly news to anyone with eyesight, as McGwire looked like an NFL player during his pro baseball career, plus his head and hat size grew significantly. Still, I give credit to former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer for the masterful way he coordinated the admission and press coverage of it. He and McGwire are playing these guys in the mainstream sports media like Stradivarius violins.
As longtime readers know, I’m not exactly up in arms about steroids use in adults, and I don’t think it’s the end-all that others do. McGwire’s and others’ suspected steroid user Sammy Sosa gave us a home-run race that baseball fans loved, coming to Major League Baseball stadiums and ball parks at record numbers. I don’t support asterisks next to baseball record setters who used steroids because players use many performance-enhancing vitamins and pills that can be equally effective in improving hitting records. In many cases, increased muscle mass from steroids may even make it more difficult to swing the bat correctly and connect with the ball.
I’m actually more troubled that McGwire–a grown man–cried on national TV than by his admission that he juiced up.
Kids in sports on the juice–that’s an entirely different story. But adults–not a major league American problem. Too much food is actually more of a health risk, and it kills far many more Americans. In fact, there are few if any proven cases where steroids killed a pro athlete. Lyle Alzado who died of brain cancer took HGH, not the same thing as what McGwire was apparently using.
Does McGwire deserve to be in the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame? I think he does, regardless of the admission, today. But some people say his truthfulness now will actually go a long way toward getting him in. To me, that doesn’t make sense. McGwire got few votes from the Baseball Writers of America (who vote on admission to the Hall) because they thought he cheated. Since he has now admitting to using ‘roids, how is admitting to cheating an achievement? In my view, it isn’t cheating any more than any supplements or nutritionist regimens are. And it’s irrelevant. He should be in the Hall of Fame.
**** UPDATE: After reading some readers’ comments, they have a point, and perhaps McGwire shouldn’t be admitted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown because he admittedly used steroids. So, I’ve changed my mind on that. But I do think that it’s not as big of a deal–steroid use in pro sports–as Congressional hearings and other manufactured outrage would have us believe. Which is worse–Pete Rose betting on baseball or McGwire’s juicing? Does either deserve to be in the Hall in your view?
Tags: AP, Ari Fleischer, baseball hall of fame, Bob Costas, Hall of Fame, juice, juicing, Mark MacGuire, Mark Maguire, Mark Mcguire, Mark McGwire, Pro Baseball Hall of Fame, Professional Baseball Hall of Fame, roids, steroids, violins