Been a little busy so I haven’t been able to chime in on the recent, startling news about Mark McGwire’s admitted steroid use.
I guess the biggest surprise for me in this latest development was how many people actually treated this great revelation as news. Didn’t we all know McGwire was on the juice already? Wasn’t that news like 10 years ago? So what is the big deal now that a tearful McGwire sat in front of Bob Costas and finally broke his silence and admitted he used PEDs for more than a decade in the late 1980s and 1990s. Again, didn’t we already know this?
I thought the real story of this episode of “As The MLB Turns” was the timing of McGwire’s admission. Just weeks before he’s scheduled to head to the St. Louis Cardinals spring training facilities where he’ll serve under Tony LaRussa as the team’s hitting instructor, McGwire, after more than five years of silence, finally speaks out. Coincedence? Not bloody likely.
McGwire said in his interview that he could no longer carry the burden of keeping his use of steroids a secret. While there might be some truth to that, anybody can see that through smoke screen and figure out that he came clean now because he was instructed to do so. MLB, Bud Selig and the Cardinals all knew the media storm that would follow McGwire at each spring training game and the constant questions from fans and media that would likely turn into a huge distraction. So for once, MLB tried to get out in front of an issue. My theory is they felt that if they took care of the issue now, it would die down enough by the time spring training kicked in and therefore not detract from the start of the new season.
I also believe that McGwire’s new position as hitting coach was only greenlighted by Selig under the condition that he admit he used, take his beating in the media, and let the firestorm burn out well ahead of Opening Day. The whole dog-n-pony show was more better choreographed than most Broadway plays. Anybody who doesn’t see that is doing exactly what MLB did for more than a decade when the steroid era first began – and that’s turning a blind eye and hoping nobody notices.
The funniest part of the McGwire interview came when he stated that he took steroids and other PEDs to help recovery from injuries and that he didn’t feel the juice helped him become a better hitter. He also stated that he felt he would have hit just as many home runs if he had never taken steroids. We all know by now that neither one of those statements holds any water and it reminds me of a classic Seinfeld episode that clearly defines McGwire’s way of thinking. In the episode, Jerry is forced to take a polygraph test that he knows he will fail so he goes to George for advice on how to beat the poly. Well-known as one of the best liars in the business, George gives Jerry one key piece of advice before taking the test: “Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it.”
Not sure who else is counseling McGwire before his interviews but apparently one member of his team is none other than George Costanza. And hear I thought he was still working for the Yankees.