Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm responsible for Mark McGwire's steroid use


I claim full responsibility.

I allowed Mark McGwire to stake steroids. Now that his hour of confession and judgment has arrived, I must stand beside him as a codefendant.

I didn’t supply Mac with the andro, HGH and goodness knows what other chemical he used, but I might as well have.

I bought the 70th home run T-shirt in St. Louis’s Lambert Airport, and walked out of the Post-Dispatch’s offices with a stack of the special editions from 1998, when he broke Roger Maris’ famed home run record.

I have the Starting Lineup figures, the commemorative Headliner with Mac and Sammy Sosa, and the All-Star Game figure of McGwire in his National League jersey.

I bought the magazines with him on the cover, and wore my Cardinal cap.

Worst of all, I cared. I got caught up in the home run chase, watching the games with great interest as he approached and surpassed No. 62.

I bought tickets to see the Cardinals and cheered when the giant strode the plate, hoping to see him bash another home run.

McGwire and Sosa are credited with bringing fans back to baseball, still struggling with the aftermath of the 1994 labor battle. I’m one of the loyalists who never left the game, and it sure was nice to hear people stop bashing baseball and celebrating the game again.

It was fun. A lot of fun. In fact, I'd say it was the best baseball season that didn't involve a Mets championship.

I liked the whole Sammy Sosa thing, too. It was neat to see Sammy charge out to Wrigley’s right field with the bleacher creatures bowing and going nuts. The home run hop, the heavenly points — they were all part of a great show.

Did I suspect that there might be chemical enhancements? In some deep, dark corner of the mind there were doubts. But I was having so much fun that I banished them to that corner.

Truth be told, I didn’t want to know.

I’m still in denial that any Mets player ever juiced, and fully suspect each and every member of the Yankees roster is ‘roided up, and also most of the grounds crew and even some of the ushers and beer vendors.

But those of us who willingly went along for the ride can’t stand here today with clean hands and condemn McGwire.

7 comments:

Edgy DC said...

Good, 'cuz I knew he was obviously a filthy cheater at the time. How could you not?

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

I was having too much fun to care. I wanted to believe.

Mary Jean Babic said...

So, then, am I responsible for the abuses of Wall Street because I have mutual funds in my IRA? I've seriously thought about this -- one way to register a protest with Wall Street is to not participate in their game, but of course I participate in their game, just like millions of others. It actually makes me feel yucky, but I also want to be responsible for myself, my children, etc. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Mets guy, I, too, have to weigh in on this mea culpa, which at first I thought was intended to be good satire, but in fact is horsebleep.

I, too, had a blast that year and collected much of the same memorabilia -- that is, when dealers hadn't made back-room deals to acquire it ahead of time, of course. My McGwire story is actually from 1999, which, when you think about it, was just an extended redo of 1998 (and the first real indication that something was awry -- wait a minute, you mean last wasn't just once in a lifetime?). I went to see the Tigs-v-Cards and made sure I was there when the gates opened 2 hours ahead of time for one reason -- to see McGwire take bp.

He started slow, hiting a few into the first deck, then one into the upper deck, then one off the roof. His next round he hit two more off the roof, then came THE MOMENT. He hit one that cleared the roof on the fly just to the left of the light tower in left-center field. Only three players have ever cleared that roof during a game, and McGwire's blast cleared it by at least 6 feet. Based on the location of Tiger Stadium, there was a very real chance that ball landed in the adjacent I-94 (though there were no accidents reported). It was by far the longest I've ever seen anyone hit a baseball. The crowd roared, the loudest ovation I've ever heard for BATTING PRACTICE. It was unreal -- and 11 years later, that's exactly the word to describe it. Unreal.

Does that make me guilty, because my attendance of ballgames and purchase of memorabilia gave McGwire and others tacit approval to cheat away? Then, as Mary Jean, suggests, we're ALL guilty of EVERYTHING bad that was preventable and happens anyway -- The Steroid Era, Pete Rose's gambling, the Expos leaving Montreal, Wall Street, Iraq, Nazi Germany, Genghis Khan, Jay Leno's continued career. At some point, those who ACTUALLY ARE GUILTY must take the fall.

I'm not one of those, and neither are you. Buck up, soldier.

YKW

Graham said...

At first, I thought you were actually going to say you were responsible for him taking steroids, like you slipped some in his drink. What you actually wrote was valid, but I would strongly encourage you to consider the other idea as well, maybe a Part 2 to this.

Billy said...

Any truth to the rumor that many ballplayers today are taking homeopathic hgh oral spray because it's safe, undetectable, and legal for over the counter sales? As time goes on it seems it might be considered as benign a performance enhancer as coffee, aspirin, chewing tobacco, and bubble gum.

distantreplay.org said...

The whole thing is ridiculous. It wasn't only the hitters who were "hopped up" on PED's. The pitcher (refer to one Mr. Clemens and one Mr. Gagne) were doing it too. It all evened out in the end and nobody cared until the most hated man in baseball broke both the single and career record. Then the blinders came off and the need to get to "the bottom" of all this came to the forefront