Mark McGwire’s admission to steroid and PED use on Monday, has brought some hotly contested issues to the forefront. Some of these debates may never be settled, while others will be decided over time. I have my own opinions on all these issues.
Jose Canseco – Mark McGwire was the lead character in the tell-all blockbuster that shockingly revealed the widespread and rampant use of steroids and PED’s in Major League Baseball. Initially, Canseco was labeled a fraud and an opportunist with an ax to grind. Time has certainly vindicated him, as one by one all the marquis players he named ranging from Rafael Palmeiro to Alex Rodriguez to Mark McGwire collapsed under the weight of hard evidence against them. The truth is that if not for Jose Canseco, the game would have never cleaned up it’s act.
61 – When I first heard about McGwire’s admission and apology, the first thing that crossed my mind after I got past the initial shock, was Roger Maris. His family has already spoken out and forgave McGwire, but not without saying that in their minds Maris was still the single season homerun record holder. Maybe it’s time to place another asterisk next to Roger Maris’ name, not to tear down his remarkable achievement, but instead to distinguish it as the one “true and unblemished” single season homerun mark. Sadly, baseball has twice mistreated the Maris homerun record; once because of sheer ignorance, and a second time because of money and greed. Baseball MUST make some amends to this remarkable player who never got his richly deserved due. They can start by creating the Roger Maris trophy to be given to each season’s homerun leaders.
Cooperstown – Steroids users like McGwire, Sosa, Clemens and Bonds will eventually find their way to Cooperstown as the taint and stigma of the steroids era subsides. We have always been a forgiving society, and that’s a good thing, but something must be done to distinguish this era from all the untainted eras. Especially in those cases where illegal drug use was acknowledged and uncontested. The argument that performance enhancers were not officially banned in baseball is an ignorant one when you consider that most of these substances were in fact illegal or obtained illegally. Do we need to officially ban rape and murder in baseball as well? Buck Weaver and Shoeless Joe Jackson were banned for life because their actions affected the outcome of a series for personal gain. Mark McGwire’s actions ripped through the fabric of the game. He completely undermined, distorted and soiled all the hallowed homerun records of our national pastime. Additionally, he did it for personal gain and he raked in tens of millions of promotional dollars for it. I accept his apology and I’ll forgive him, but in no way do I allow him to pass “Go” and collect $200 dollars. Does anybody really want to watch these guys give a Hall of Fame induction speech? If they get in, it should be without the Pomp and Circumstance. No celebrations, no speeches and no fanfare. Find the darkest corner in Cooperstown and let their plaques gather dust… far away from the magnificence of all the other plaques.
Bud Selig – Once a used car salesman, always a used car salesman. I have grown tired of all of Bud’s shady and underhanded sales gimmicks. I’m not buying the fact that he never knew there was such rampant steroid use during his watch until Canseco and Congress sounded the alarm. He turned a blind eye to the McGwire/Sosa homerun chase that saw baseball regain it’s fading popularity, and reap in hundreds of millions of dollars in never-before seen profits. Attendance was soaring and he didn’t care if Roger Maris was bloodied in the process. Instead of protecting the legacy of the game, he helped tear it down and in fact… he handed out the axes and jack hammers to do it.