Sunday, January 17, 2010

When will McGwire mess fade away?

Six days after a sobbing Mark McGwire finally admitted his reported steroids use, the story continues to dominate Major League Baseball. Will it fade away anytime soon? Unlikely, with McGwire heading to spring training to serve as the St. Louis Cardinals pitching coach.

Even though the the admission shocked no one, the story continues to have a life of its own. One major reason is McGwire's unwillingness to acknowledge that the steroids helped make him a stronger hitter, boosting the power numbers that would have led to an automatic Hall of Fame entry if his steroids use never came to light. The other problem is that some baseball watchers still question why he couldn't tell the truth during the 2005 Congressional hearings, waiting until now when he wanted to get back into baseball.

Former Congressman Tom Davis said McGwire had legitimate concerns about potential prosecution, even though criminal inquiries have focused on the distributors rather than the users. But he also said legislators could not back down from asking him about steroids use. "We weren't going to let him off the hook," Davis said. "That sets a terrible precedent."
The Cardinals family has mostly rallied around McGwire, but the circus that will surround them this year is unfair, particularly to Albert Pujols. McGwire said Pujols will go down as the greatest player in the history of the game and he seemed a bit sorry that Pujols' accomplishments are questioned due to the widespread use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. "I hope people understand how great this guy is," McGwire said.

Of course, that support is not universal. Former Cardinals and New York Yankees slugger Jack Clark verbally bashed McGwire this week, calling his confession a "cop-out" and saying he feels sick at the sight of McGwire in a uniform. It's a feeling shared by many fellow baseball players and fans, who will no doubt take the opportunity to verbally abuse McGwire when the Cardinals go out on the road. Of course, that could result in a boost in Cardinals' away attendance, but mostly it extends the drama, with no end in sight for McGwire or baseball.

Thanks to Johnmaxmena via Wikipedia for the photo.

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