Which Came First, Mark McGwire or the ‘Steroid Era?’
by Gus Jarvis
Jan 14, 2010 | 1450 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After all the crap I heard from Mark McGwire’s coming clean on past steroid use, I have just one question: Which came first, the ‘steroid era’ – as he puts it – or the steroid user?

To be frank, McGwire was better off not admitting what everybody already knew – he used steroids over and over again throughout his career and especially during the 1998 season when he beat Roger Maris’s long standing homerun record by belting 70 homeruns in a season.

As I have said before, anybody or anything that has any sort of intelligence or heartbeat, including Ophelia my smelly cat, Chopper the junkyard dog and our bumbling village idiot, Dick Cheney, knew that McGwire was juiced. We knew he spent time with Jose Canseco as a bash brother. Guilty by association. He was an OK player early in his career. Then, all of a sudden, he grew a barrel chest and hit homeruns like he had never done before.

Having accepted a job as St. Louis’s hitting coach, he had to come clean. During Monday’s admission, McGwire blamed everything but himself for his past steroid and human growth hormone use. He admitted to trying steroids very briefly in 1990, after he was injured in 1993 and “on occasion throughout the 90s, including the 1998 season.”

After confessing all of this to Bob Costas on the MLB Network, McGwire hit a grand slam with this one liner: “Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”

Oh right. I almost forgot. You played in the steroid era. You were forced to inject all that crap into your body. My bad. I totally understand now. You weren’t cheating at all. It was the game that made you do it.

I simply can’t accept this explanation. Maybe from the younger Alex Rodriquez but old man McGwire? He and his bash brother Canseco started the steroid era. They were the steroid era. McGwire was not a product of the steroid era, rather the steroid era was a product of Mark McGwire.

OK, so I got over that and continued to listen to McGwire’s tearful apology. Just maybe he would say something that I could respect. He went on to explain that the main reason he used steroids was to recover from injuries more quickly. During the mid-90s he went on the disabled list seven times and missed 228 games over the course of five years. He had a ribcage strain, torn left heel muscle, stress fracture on his left heel, and a torn right heel muscle.

“It was definitely a miserable bunch of years and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster,” McGwire told Costas. “I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.”

OK, maybe this guy is human after all. Injuries keeping a guy’s career down in the majors. I get that. He needs all the help he can get to stay healthy. Stop now Mark you are gaining my respect.

“There’s no way I did this for any type of strength use,” he continued. “…There's not a pill or an injection that's going to give me, going to give any player, the hand-eye coordination to hit a baseball.”

He lost me again. I remember a time when steroids were not regulated by baseball and not even really illegal. If the steroids were just for health purposes, like one would take a daily vitamin, why didn’t he admit to using them before? I mean it was for his health?

And then to basically say that he could have hit the homeruns without the steroids because of his gift of hand-eye coordination is a crock as well. I have been to and played in a lot of Little League Baseball games in my life. There are a lot of 8-year-old players that have the hand eye coordination to hit the ball – and they hit the ball pretty far. Steroids simply help those with the coordination hit the ball farther. Come on Mark. You used steroids to not only stay healthy but to hit the ball farther.

I could pick apart McGwire’s admission of guilt for two days, but I am not sure what McGwire could say for me to change my views on him and his career. Maybe admitting that he cheated and that his homerun record is bunk. By manning up and saying that, I could probably muster up a little respect for the guy.

Now, as it stands, this guy remains a fake that has hurt the game of baseball. I hope baseball will find a way to take away his homerun record and that he will never get enough votes to enter into the Baseball Hall of Fame. And if he does make it to Cooperstown, he had better be inducted years after gambling man Pete Rose is inducted. Rose, at least, was a good baseball player. It was what happened off the field that hurt him.
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