so, mark mcgwire admitted that he used steroids. i found this out when i awoke from a four hour nap this afternoon. and i applauded.
painful as it was to hear mcgwire's tearful confession, anything's better than the memory of him sitting before congress five years ago, telling the world that he was not there to talk about "the past." i still cringe when i think of that day.
mcgwire was another one of my baseball heroes. the first major leaguer i followed from the beginning of his career to the end. i remember vividly the debate i had with my father during big mac's rookie year about whether he was going to pass hank aaron for the alltime home run lead. i was about fourteen, and my dad told me he had a lonnnnnnnng, long way to go.
eleven years later, during the famous 1998 season, my dad called me up in the middle of the week, leaving a message with my roommate. he said, "oh, i just wanted to talk a little mcgwire with him." i called him back as soon as i could and took a great deal of joy in the thought that we both sounded like teenagers.
i turned 33 in 2005. much too old to be heartbroken about mcgwire's performance before congress. it was embarrassing to have been disappointed, in fact, because that meant admitting that i was naive enough to have believed the man in the first place. but i was disappointed. i did believe him, and i wanted to know the truth.
tony larussa, his manager with the a's and the cardnals, was interviewed on espn a few hours ago, and was talking about the critical reaction mcgwire got before congress. he said, as opposed to some of the men on that stage that day, "at least the one thing he didn't do was lie."
well, yes. sure. i mean, technically, by avoiding the question altogether, he did not lie. but... put it this way, if, when i was a teenager, i stole my dad's car and got into an accident? and, when, at the police station, he asked me what the hell i was thinking, i responded by saying, "dad? i'm not here to talk about the past." ...??? do you think he would have been satisfied by that answer?
no. my dad would have drop-kicked my ass into another town, into another state-- somewhere as far away from my beloved williamstown, new jersey as mark mcgwire is now from cooperstown, new york.
will he ever be there? will mark mcgwire ever be a hall of famer? i don't know, of course, but i don't think so. and i'm more than okay with that. as a matter of fact, i hope he doesn't. and here's why...
in his admission today, mcgwire stated, "the Man Upstairs only gives you things on this earth you can handle." he said this (i guess???) in reference to the media scrutiny that will follow him from now on. understandable, except this was not something that God laid at his feet. this was not something that God gave to mark mcgwire as a hurdle to leap over-- this was something mark mcgwire gave to himself.
the hurdle came years before. the hurdle was a stellar career that was in jeopardy of being over too soon because of the injuries that plagued him. but instead of leaping over that hurdle, or coming to terms with it being something that he could not climb over, he found a way around it.
he took steroids, and, in doing so, he spat in the face of people like ken griffey jr. and mickey mantle. roger marris, and hank aaron. people like my cousin in west virginia, who, if you asked him if he would trade four of his five senses and the ability to walk for a half a season in the big leagues, would seriously consider it for about a day. and then, he'd say no. only to change his mind a few days later.
mark mcgwire admitted taking steroids. he came clean, and finally got the monkey off his back. good for him.
seriously, i am happy for him. it's good that the truth is out there. he's probably not a bad guy at all, and i'm glad the weight is off his shoulders. i do applaud mark mcgwire, but i'm not a kid anymore. and i'm no longer giving him a standing ovation.
the five things i fell in love with today...
1) babe ruth.
2) willie stargell.
3) ted williams.
4) john kruk.
5) hammerin' hank.
song of the day...
"deep dark truthful mirror" by elvis costello
movie of the day...
"while you were sleeping"