McGwire admits steroid use – yawn

Shocking news Monday, wasn't it?

Mark McGwire did what? Used steroids? Are you kidding me? Next thing we know, the finger will be pointed at Barry Bonds or Sammy Sosa or Roger Clemens.

Forgive the sarcasm. But how else should we react? With a yawn? That would be more appropriate.

Steroid use in baseball has become as commonplace as stupid quotes from Ozzie Guillen. We're no longer shocked by any of this. So, sadly, McGwire's admission doesn't evoke outrage; it evokes this reaction: "Whatever." It is simply confirmation of what we already knew: McGwire was on the juice.

His admission does explain, however, why he sat in front of a congressional committee and said, "I'm not here to talk about the past." His "inside voice" certainly must have added these words: "Because if I talk about the past, then I'll have to lie to save my tail, and if I lie to save my tail, I'll face perjury charges later." (Are you listening, Roger Clemens? Oops, too late. Good luck with that).

While McGwire says he “knew” this day would come (on his death bed, perhaps?), the truth is there’s only one reason he stepped forward now. After years of living in seclusion (and avoiding the issue), McGwire put himself back into the spotlight by accepting a coaching position with the Cardinals. He knew he would be bombarded by questions day after day after day. So he HAD to fall on his sword.

Tony LaRussa says McGwire showed courage by coming forward and telling the truth Monday. That’s courage? Give me a break. This is what courage sounds like:

When McGwire retired in 2001, he could have stepped to the podium and said, "I am here to announce my retirement from baseball. Not because I don't want to play anymore – because I love this game – but because I simply can't play anymore. My body won't allow me to. And the reason is steroids. I took them, and I was wrong. Along with giving you the ability to increase muscle mass and recover more quickly from injuries, they’re dangerous and your body may eventually pay a high price. Each one of us can give reasons for our actions, and I can deflect responsibility by saying, 'I didn’t take them on a regular basis or I'm not the only one who took them.' But the simple fact is, I'm responsible for me. It's time to own up to what I did, pay the price and make amends. I apologize to my family, my friends, my teammates and my fans, and I offer my full cooperation to Mr. Selig and Major League Baseball in moving forward. This issue is bigger than Mark McGwire; this is about cleaning up the greatest game in the world and delivering an important message to kids: Taking steroids is wrong. Questions?"

Now, that would have been courageous.

But it didn't happen. So Monday's admission changes nothing. The fact that Mark McGwire admitted taking steroids on Monday doesn’t change what we already knew in our hearts on Sunday.

His words are just words, spoken not out of courage (or even guilt) but out of necessity.

Big deal, Big Mac.


  1. GReat commenatary, Jeff. I am glad you got to it first - you are anw aesome writer. My thoughts -- He resigns from the Cardinals or is let go. He is banned from baseball. He is ineleigible for the Hall of Fame. His tears were so phony. The Cardinals do not need the distraction of McGwire - they are a great team and could become the laughing stock of baseball. Good riddance.

  2. Great piece of work, Jeff. I hope you can sell it somewhere that actually pays for journalism, but until then, we benefit.
    Now, about McGwire. Are his skills as a coach so valuable that the Cardinals felt they had to hire him? A storied franchise further disgracing itself.

  3. And Mac still says steroids and HGH didn't help him hit HRs. Gimme a break! Steroids and HGH help build muscle mass. All other things being equal, a player w/ more muscle will hit a ball harder and farther than a less-muscled player. Case closed.

  4. Yawn. If you played, you know that HGH and steroids has nothing to do with hitting a baseball. NOTHING!!!!!!! I really don't care because we all know that the pitchers were doing it as well. Let Spring Training begin!!!

  5. Bill, I agree that steroids and HGH have nothing to do with actually hitting a ball, but logic suggests increased muscle mass will drive the ball farther once hit.

  6. Does it really make a difference? I say no, maybe 5 feet, but it is all execution, bat speed, (btw, you still have to guess the pitch), and serious hand, eye, mind coordination. So what if Bonds added 5 to 10 feet to his home runs. So it went 465 instead of 450. The discussion is serious because it involves drug abuse, but every one is on a level playing field.

    I totally agree with the argument that there is no discussions of uppers, and pill popping in previous eras. Isn't that chemically enhanced? Let all of the records stand, and the guys with the numbers should be voted in accordingly for the HOF.

  7. Good points, Bill. Also as I understand the issue, what McGwire ingested was not banned by baseball at the time.

  8. the hand eye coordination he is right about, no drug is going to increase it. but there are so many kind of steroids out there, some increase your strength 35 -50% for a period of time, some more mild but nonetheless he is telling half truths. what if someone like mark grace or paul molitor got on that stuff would we be looking at same kind of numbers. its just flat out cheating anyway you slice it

  9. Carlton Fisk disagrees on the hand-eye coordination issue:

    Fisk, who caught 2,226 games spanning 24 seasons for the Boston Red Sox and then the Chicago White Sox, said McGwire's insistence that steroids did not help him total 583 career home runs is "a crock."

    "[McGwire] says, 'Well, it doesn't help eye-and-hand coordination.' Well, of course it does," Fisk told the Tribune for Wednesday's editions. "It allows you more acuity physically and mentally and optically. You are going to be stronger and you are going to be better.