Mark McGwire went on a reluctant, fake press tour of regret all so he can be the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals. If baseball had any self-respect left, it would be too ashamed to let an admitted cheat like McGwire into their clubhouse, much less hire him as an adviser and role model for their players.
What makes his interviews so galling is the fact that McGwire -- and virtually every other major player who's been outed as a cheat (other than Jose Canseco) -- continues to lie, prevaricate, stretch the truth and play down their pathetic cheating and breaking of the law. Bud Selig is doing much the same thing.
MARK MCGWIRE'S CONTINUED LIES
1. McGwire insisted that the steroids and HGH he used for a decade didn't help. That's right, he broke the law, risked his career and reputation and health all for something that didn't help. The numbers tell the truth. McGwire was a good baseball player (despite a rookie year in which he bashed a ton of HRs). His numbers exploded during the decade when he cheated. Drugs can't help you hit a home run. No, they just help you to cheat in the weight room, cheat and get more power, cheat and recover more quickly from injuries, cheat and give you an advantage over pitchers who don't cheat and so on. Alex Rodriguez made the same pathetic claim.
2. McGwire says Canseco is the liar -- Yep, even though one by one every player Canseco pointed to as a cheat has been forced to admit it, even though McGwire now admits Canseco was right about McGwire in general, we're supposed to believe Canseco is lying about the two of them injecting steroids together? That's how desperate he and others are to distance themselves from the only bum among them to tell the truth.
3. McGwire used steroids because he was injured and in a slump -- This is the same argument Andy Pettitte and others have used. They just did it to recover from an injury, which isn't really cheating, except that it is. McGwire cheated for a decade and he was just an average player before and a beloved superstar afterwards. This wasn't about weak heels. This was about lying to kids all over the country and soaking up adoration he didn't deserve and would have never received if he hadn't been a long-term cheat.
4. McGwire can't remember the names of the illegal drugs he took for a decade -- Really? Every interviewer should have laughed in his face when he said this and said, "For God's sake, get real." This is all part of the denial. The fewer facts you give out, the fewer facts you're forced to admit, the sooner you can put this all behind you. So when McGwire was cheating for a decade and going to sleazy gym rats and back alley dealers, how exactly did he ask for the illegal drugs he was procuring and didn't know the name of? Give me that... stuff? And how often do I inject that... stuff? And what sort of cycle should I use for that... stuff? And the other... stuff? Really, it's just idiotic and an insult to the idea of coming clean to suggest he doesn't even know the drugs he put into his body. You can't use them properly without knowing what it is you're using. McGwire is lying. Again.
5. McGwire told the New York Times he used extremely low dosages because he didn't want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno -- See, he was using low dosages so it wasn't really cheating anyway. And the guy nicknamed Popeye, the guy whose arms were the size of a Little Leaguer actually thinks he DIDN'T look like the Hulk? Try looking at some photos, McGwire.
6. McGwire made a fool of himself in front of Congress to protect his family and friends -- See, it wasn't his own diminished reputation he was protecting, it wasn't his own sad lack of character, it wasn't his own fading chance at the Hall of Fame that forced McGwire to not tell the truth. It was merely his desire to protect his family and friends. How noble of him. Except it wasn't. His family and friends were defending him to the world, standing by him, believing him and he made fools of them and the Maris family and everyone else, not just himself.
7. McGwire insisted no family member had ever DIRECTLY asked if he had used steroids -- This is the saddest lie of all. His family and friends, his father and children, took McGwire at his word and believed him when he told the world he wasn't a cheat. And McGwire is hiding behind a Clintonian parsing of words to suggest he never lied to them either. Your family shouldn't have to cross-examine you to get the truth, McGwire. Every day in every way, they demonstrated their faith in him and their belief that the accusations against him were lies and jealousy, not fact. McGwire lied to them every day in every way.
BUD SELIG'S CONTINUED LIES
1. Selig referred to the "so-called steroid era" -- There's nothing so-called about it, Selig. At least, AT LEAST 30% of all major league baseball players were breaking federal law, cheating their opponents, cheating their teammates and cheating themselves by using steroids and HGH and other illegal drugs. When one out of every three players is shooting up literally or figuratively, there's nothing "so-called" about it. I like to call it the Selig Steroid Era, just to make clear the players were working hand in hand with owners who looked the other way while all this was going on. Selig's refusal to face facts even now is EXACTLY why the steroid era happened in the first place. Many of the biggest stars of the era have been outed as pathetic cheats: Roger Clemens, the biggest pitcher of the era; Mark McGwire, the biggest home run basher of the era; and Alex Rodrigues, the biggest hitter and over-all talent of the era. In what fantasy world can all the big names be cheats but it's wrong to refer to their time as the Selig Steroid Era?
2. Selig said the steroid era is over -- As long as baseball insists on policing itself and refuses to let an outside agency handle the testing, as long as baseball refuses to employ Olympic-level standards, as long as baseball allows cheats like Mark McGwire to work for major league teams, as long as cheats like Alex Rodriguez and so many others can break federal law and thumb their noses at the idea of decency and fair play yet be treated as admirable, as long as these people clearly fess up to the minimum amount of facts and avoid telling the whole truth, the steroid era will be with us. And steroids and Selig will be forever linked. The worst commissioner in baseball history -- if you care about the game as opposed to quarterly profits -- continues to shame himself with out and out lies. Just like his favorite players.
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