Just when you thought it was safe to start counting the days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training... You are hoping your favorite team is still in the market for some of the available elite free agents and will make their move soon. The hot stove is boiling and you cannot wait to hear those two words we all wait for, all winter long. "Play Ball!" Baseball fans everywhere were happy that it finally appeared we had put all the talk about steroids behind us and got back to America's past time.
Mark McGwire decided that it is now time to talk about the past. In 2007, while testifying in front of the Senate, he repeatedly said he was not there to talk about what happened in the past. Why now? Absent from the game since he retired, McGwire was hired in the fall to be the St. Louis Cardinals' new hitting coach. Looking for approval, he has now come forward with the admission that he used steroids and was using them in 1998 when he broke Roger Maris' single season home run record. Perhaps he is going the way of Jason Giambi, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez? These players also admitted using steroids, continue to play baseball and seem to be accepted by the fans.
So, here's the pitch, do we swing away or let it go by? Has this admission rekindled the talk show hosts call for asterisks in the record books? The debate continues. Does this put pressure on other sluggers to "come clean"?
Remember back to 1998. It was a great summer, filled with baseballs energized by the bats of Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire flying out of ballparks everywhere. And, in September of that year, McGwire was crowned the new single season home run champion passing Maris's mark of 61. Sosa also passed the mark that summer. The record would be short lived as Barry Bonds broke the mark just three short years later. He would also go on to break the all time home run mark previously held by Hank Aaron.
Mr. McGwire, thank you for opening up a sore that just seemed to be healing. So, what do we do now? There are three people ahead of Roger Maris' single season home run record. All three were suspected of doing steroids and one has now admitted it. There is a new lifetime home run king and he is suspected of doing steroids. There is one player playing presently who is projected to possibly break the all time home run record and last spring he admitted doing steroids. Do we need to put a section in the record books titled "steroid era"? Do we need to wipe out these records completely? That would be this reporter's recommendation. As my son puts it, "Dad, it's cheating, and it's not right." Well put for an 11-year-old who has learned to be a crazy fan like his dad. So Bud Selig, you've changed the testing, changed the punishment, it's now time to think about changing the record books.
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