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No, Bonds, Sosa and Clemens aren't going to apologize

Jan 12, 2010, 7:26 AM EDT

I have head-full of other Mark McGwire thoughts driving me insane this morning, but those will come later. At the moment let’s address a sentiment I’ve heard over and over since yesterday afternoon, and that’s that now McGwire has offered up his mea culpa, it’s time for Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens to do likewise.  Interesting thought, but if you think that’s going to happen any time soon, you’re dreaming.

Let’s dispense with Bonds and Clemens quickly:  they can’t and won’t for legal reasons.  Barry Bonds is still being prosecuted — however slowly that prosecution is going — for perjury related to this denial before a grand jury of knowingly taking steroids. Due to the non-cooperation of a key witness and the fact that the feds have had a huge portion of their evidence against him tossed out, he has an excellent chance of skating on the charge. Why on Earth would he do anything at this point to screw that up?  If Bonds ever talks — and it’s not a given that he has the slightest desire to do so — it will come years from now.

Same goes for Clemens. He’s embroiled in approximately eleventy-seven variations of the same civil lawsuit against Brian McNamee, each of which depends upon him either proving that he didn’t take steroids or defending charges that he did.  Add to that the fact that the feds still purport to be investigating him for perjury in connection with his Congressional testimony and he has every reason to either stay quiet about this or to keep claiming that he’s as pure as the driven snow. If Clemens ever admits to using PEDs it will be under pain of torture or, given that he seems to be something of a delusional whack-job, from the top of a clock tower while holding a sniper’s rifle or something.

Sammy Sosa is a more interesting case. He has no legal reason preventing him from coming clean. As I’ve said before, his congressional testimony bordered on brilliant in terms of how he was able to mislead without technically lying (and the only reason he was able to do this is because Congress refused to ask even the most basic of followup questions).  Still, there’s nothing really compelling him to admit to anything now either. His one foray into the public spotlight recently resulted in something close to a p.r. disaster, turning him into more of a joke than a figure poised for some kind of redemption. He’s not a candidate for any coaching jobs or any other official position with baseball. McGwire is the canary in the coal mine for Hall of Fame juicers, so whether Sammy Sosa ever makes it to Cooperstown is more dependent upon what happens with McGwire than himself, so there’s no reason to come clean in the interests of lobbying.

Still, he’s Sosa and Sosa is kind of weird, so I could see him holding some Canseco-esque press conference that no one clamored for and offering up details of his life that no one truly wants.  It might be fun actually.

Mark McGwire came clean and apologized for one reason and one reason only: he wants back in the game of baseball, and given his particularly troubling Congressional testimony in 2005, baseball won’t accept him — and frankly, he couldn’t perform his job — unless he said something about it.

Bonds, Clemens and Sosa don’t have that sort of thing staring them in the face, so don’t hold your breath waiting for them to say anything about anything any time soon.

  1. Peter Calestino - Jan 12, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    What a bunch of cheats; and to think 50 years ago they added an asterisk next to Rogers record; I say lets place A gold star next to Rogers record with the NO STEROIDS USED HERE phrase!! What kind of devious example are these so called heroes setting for our children; At the very least they could have come clean when they were caugth years ago!! At least the kids would have been taugth honesty by this mess!! Hall of Fame– Hell NO– Hall Of Shame is more likely for the entire lot of them!!!

  2. YANKEES1996 - Jan 12, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Kip- Hello, yea cheated, steroids were not against in the rules in baseball but they were illegal unless prescribed by a doctor for some type of medical problem. Not gaining muscle mass quickly enough and bolstering your production numbers is NOT a medical problem!

  3. Kitty D - Jan 12, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    I do not believe there has been any wrong doing…why? because Major League Baseball & all baseball fans across America ignored all the signs that were there because the game was fun to watch. Who didn’t love the McGuire/Sosa competition? Or watching Barry Bonds hit 73 run? We all loved it until… they say we can’t have our cake and eat it too. Something had to give, it is just very sad how this has all played out. Oh and anyone who followed MM’s career knows how many times he was hurt. And I have friends who use steroid based medications for their illnesses as well. We just need to move on and get over ourselves.

  4. YANKEES1996 - Jan 12, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Kitty D – So you believe there was no wrong doing, I guess it would be o.k. with you if the players were jacked up on Meth or LSD when they played the games as long as the home run race was good! Give me a break that is most likely the damn dumbest thing I have ever read. The nights that McGwire hit numbers 61 and 62 were sad nights indeed because he disgraced a record that was set by one damn fine player by the name of Roger Maris (see post above by Peter Calestino). I for one did not care at all about McGwire or Sosa or Bonds they are all in the same group of cheaters and liars. To compare the players like Maris, Mantle, Williams, Musial and all the others to todays cheaters and liars disgraces some of the greatest players that have ever stepped on a diamond!

  5. Bill P - Jan 12, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    MLB banned steroids for a reason (you choose the reason)
    Bonds, Mcguire, Clemens, etc were taking something that they knew was banned whether certain people chose to ignore it or not.
    The did this because steroids gave them some kind of advantage over the other players that didn’t use them (strength, durability, bounce back, again you choose)
    The other players, who they were competing against, played by the rules …. is it fair that these athletes are deemed lesser because they didn’t use steroids and didn’t have the pluses listed above?
    Holding these guys (and their records) up promotes cheating as other players will see this as a way to achieve fame, declare innocence (if caught) and never suffer any consequences.
    Is this the way we want this game to be really played????

  6. Phil Cook - Jan 12, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    All this bs about who took ‘roids, when tehy took ‘roids, and what type they took.
    Yet Pete Rose is banned from Baseball because he put his money where his mouth was and bet on his team to win in Baseball. Even Shoeless Joe got a second chance, give Pete his.

  7. AJ Gallo - Jan 12, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    Yes, cheated. In my opinion, they cheated, nothing less. Anything else is spin doctoring. You want to look at this in a vacuum, you can certainly go ahead and do so. Not me. There are no degrees of wrong. Wrong is wrong.

  8. Jay - Jan 12, 2010 at 7:56 PM

    I agree with Don. The only reason Mac comes clean now is because everyone in baseball knew he was dirty. He’s trying to regain some respect, and empathy from the players he is supposed to coach. If he wasn’t trying to come back and coach, he would’ve never admitted a thing.
    How many game outcomes did he affect hitting home runs? How did those hits change the outcome of the seasons, and the other team efforts to reach the World Series? How is this form of cheating, different from Pete Rose gambling on his teams?
    Both are baseball felonies, and should be treated as such. EQUALLY!
    C’mon Selig grab a glove and get some balls.

  9. Nate - Jan 13, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    You are aware that he’d already won 3 MVPs by then and was robbed of a 4th?

  10. oneopinionofmany - Jan 13, 2010 at 6:30 AM

    I’m pretty sure a banned list would not exist at all except for the fact that players have taken advantage of every opportunity to gain an advantage. The “spirit of the game” is the spirit of competition which assumes dynamically adjusting to the environment you are in. It happens in every sport. It’s not just relegated to sports but can be found in almost every noom and cranny of our society. Look in the mirror before espousing to be perfect. I think if anyone needs to be attacked for cheating and violating the “spirit” of things should be the wonderful folks on Wallstreet or take advantage of the system for personal monetary gains and laugh selflessly at the unsuspecting public as we drown in debt and a revolving door of refinancing to stay afloat.

  11. Jeff - Jan 13, 2010 at 8:32 AM

    Anabolic steroids were developed in the 1930s. Dianobol was approved by the FDA in 1958. Immediate “off-label” use was by body builders. widely available in the 1950s. Acne and premature baldness are common side effects. During Roger Maris’ unusually productive year in which he broke Babe Ruth’s record, many newspaper accounts reported on how the stress of the chase” was causing his hair to fall out and his face to break out in acne.

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  13. Idan Solon - Jan 14, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    Bonds was “really an average player in the early 90s” when he won NL MVP awards in each of 1990, 1992 and 1993? Really? I mean, really? Good God. The only reason you don’t think Bonds was greater than anyone else in this generation is because you’re not very well versed in baseball history. No one in this generation has been able to do what Barry Bonds did. No one even came close! If Bonds was great because of steroids, how come none of the many thousands of baseball players in this country who took steroids were close to the greatness of Barry Bonds??? Bonds was great because he worked harder than anyone else, and his work ethic was well documented by anyone around him.
    Phil Cook: Rose didn’t just bet on his team; I’m pretty sure he bet against his team too. And anyway, if Rose was betting on his team some nights, he could’ve manipulated the pitching rotation on other nights to make sure his team had the advantage on the days he was betting on the Reds. I think there’s no greater damage to the game done than by a person whose sincere effort to win can be put in question.
    Bonds, Clemens, McGwire and the rest took steroids. Some pitchers used spit balls or scuffed balls or hitters put extra pine tar on their bats, or stealing signs or whatever. But all of that is in the class of bending or breaking the rules to win, which IMO, can be more readily forgiven. Look at Gaylord Perry, who doctored balls throughout his career–he’s in the Hall Of Fame. Just one example.

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