Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Big Mac on the Grill

So, Mark McGwire finally confessed and the baseball world has been abuzz ever since the press release and subsequent Bob Costas interview on MLBN.

Some thoughts:

Can we really say McGwire couldn't have been as great w/o steroids? He had two seasons—yes, two—where his HR total was exorbitant (70 and 65, in '98, '99, respectively), but this is a guy who hit 49 HRs in his rookie year and 42 in his last "clean" season. (Judging by Costas' post interview comments you would think McGwire hit 60+ HRs every year for 10 years. Until you look at McG's numbers, that is.)

The dirty little truth, that those writers who feign moral outrage will never admit, is that there are tons of players who did PEDs and whose baseball careers never amounted to ANYTHING. [crickets chirping] Yeah, I know, that would involve the kind of fair-minded assessment most of them are incapable of. (And how do we make judgments about numbers during the steroid era without knowing if supposedly juiced hitters were or weren't facing juiced pitchers, for instance?)

And let's not get into the hypocrisy of the supposed pulchritude of the game: JC Romero, not some scrub, but the Phillies' setup man during their '08 championship season was soon after caught and suspended for a PED violation and NO ONE said a word. Where was the outrage then, if it's all about the sanctity of the game?

Regarding the MLBN panel who covered the pre and post interview segments, as MLBN's own Harold Reynolds later stated, they made it seem as if McG comes off much worse than he actually did; not like he painfully 'fessed up to what he did but as if he had flipped everyone a big middle finger during the interview. No, the MLBN guys didn't rubber stamp McG's statements; they actually went out of their way to kick dirt in his face.

For the record, I don't condone what he did and wish he hadn't done it. I'm disappointed in players that have decided to take the steroids route, including faves of mine. But, I was so appalled by the petty and hypocritical way the vast majority of the baseball press conducted themselves during the A-Rod PED scandal that I have come to believe that Manny Ramirez's non-chalant, disrespectful brush-off, when openly confronted about his own steroid use—“It's not like I killed or raped anybody”—is every bit the treatment these hacks deserved. (Yes, they'll have their revenge on him when it comes time for Manny to make reservations for Cooperstown. But I would bet top dollar he gives not a fuck.)

In other words, are the writers going to change their minds and grant McG their Hall of Fame vote now that he's finally given a confession/apology which they tirelessly demanded? No, right? They're too busy attacking the confession. (Damned if you do...)
And btw, why the hell do writers get to select the HoF inductees? They are the baseball equivalent of Ellen DeGeneres as a judge on American Idol, for Pete's sake.

So I say, let the self-righteous, irresponsible and trifling scribes harp on about what McG did or did not say Monday night. Meanwhile, players are the only ones to take the fall for this kind of mess when EVERYONE in baseball—MLB, ownership, agents, writers etc, etc, etc—all benefited when it happened. Whatever. Let me just say, good luck to Big Mac and the Cards in 2010.

Enough already.