â†µStop the presses. This just in. Breaking news. Pete Rose admitted he bet on baseball. â†µâ†µ
â†µWait, wait. It's not that. Oh, here it is. Shoeless Joe Jackson conspired to fix the 1919 World Series. â†µ
â†µNah, not that one either. Oh, here we go. Per the AP, Mark McGwire admits to using steroids 'off and on' for nearly a decade. Now can we let all three of them into the Hall of Fame? â†µâ†µ
â†µWait, before we get to that, let's parse this statement from McGwire. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥"I wish I had never touched steroids. It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era." â†µâ†µSo the era made you do it, eh Mark? Why not just come out and say it was Jose Canseco's fault? Just say that Jose held you down in the locker room and shot you full of horse drugs until you morphed into the homerun king we came to love? And let's not forget, America loved McGwire. The guy saved baseball. Okay, saved is a strong word, but he sure as heck brought it back to relevancy in American sports. People always suspected he was on something and when he 'refused to talk about the past' that was as much an admission of guilt as this brief statement put out to the Associated Press today. â†µ
â†µWhat rubs me the wrong way is that he "truly" apologizes. Like living a lie for the last two decades can be forgiven with one line that you're now "truly" sorry about things. The fact of the matter is, nobody should find this is shocking in any way. Sure it's huge news, but does anyone really care that McGwire is getting out in front of the barrage of media that undoubtedly were prepared to swarm upon spring training for St. Louis this year? It's so hard to imagine any players not being on something at this point that an admission after the fact really doesn't change much. â†µâ†µ
â†µWell, except the fact that McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame.
â†µAnd no, I am not one who believes that an admission of guilt is the final act of Hall of Fame contrition and he can be absolved by simply saying four Hail Mary's – wait that's football. Maybe a few sacrifice flies? â†µ
â†µI digress. McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame. So should Rose and Shoeless Joe and anyone who ever played the game and made enough of an impact to warrant discussion this long after their careers ended. Could you imagine a Hall of Fame without McGwire or Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens? Add in most of their contemporaries and we are really looking at a time in the next ten years where nobody is going to get voted into the Hall of Fame. So let them all in and make this terrible era in baseball – the same era that made McGwire famous and the same era he's now blaming for making him so good at mashing the baseball over a fence – where it belongs in baseball history. We're so caught up on the purity of the game and rewarding 'the right people' to get elected each year. Guess what, the more closely we look any of these guys, the more warts we can find. Nobody is perfect. And nobody has to be. Baseball is America's pastime, after all. â†µâ†µ
â†µNow, should we laud McGwire for coming forward now? Absolutely not. The guy is a coward who had ample chances, including that famous time in front of (hello!) Congress, to admit this. Maybe he has a book coming out. Maybe Tony La Russa made this a part of the deal for him to come back into the Cardinals organization. Or maybe he thinks the voters will forgive him in a few years and he can get the clock started ticking toward Cooperstown. â†µâ†µ
â†µAt any rate, this is news, and this is huge. But it's not surprising in the least. And it shouldn't really change anything, other than maybe now McGwire can look himself in the face every morning. So good for you, Mark, you got a 20-year-old monkey off your back. Let's just hope the monkey wasn't shooting up too, because that'd be one huge monkey. â†µâ†µ
This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.