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McGwire and steroids: Won't somebody think of the children?

Jan 19, 2010, 10:25 AM EST

The New York Daily News’ Denis Hamill wants you to think of the children. His own, who allegedly had this conversation in the back seat of his car on the way to basketball practice the other day:

These kids, who will be playing on the same Little League team in a few
months, were representative of the trickle-down effect on this boy’s
game of another baseball giant admitting he’s a lowdown fraud . . . “I always thought McGwire used steroids,” said Liam. “After A-Rod [Alex
Rodriguez], Manny [Ramirez] and Big Papi [David Ortiz] last year, I
don’t trust any of them. I think Albert Pujols and Ryan Howard are
dirty.”

“The worst is Barry Bonds, who topped Hank Aaron’s lifetime homer
record,” said Peter. “On juice. How do you think that makes Hank Aaron
feel? I read about Hank Aaron. He hit all those home runs by using his
wrist power. Bonds beat him by cheating with juice.”

Liam said, “As far as I’m concerned, Roger Maris still has the most
homers in a single season. He hit 61 in 1961. McGwire broke that with
70. Then Bonds hit 73. Both of them were on juice, so they don’t
count.”

How fortunate for Hamill that his kids are able to speak in such narrative-propelling, context-supplying language like that. And that Hamill was able to jot them down as exact quotes despite the fact this conversation was happening as he was “driving the kids to basketball practice.”

And how about that Liam and Peter!  The two future little leaguers — which makes them somewhere between 11 and 13 years old — “always thought McGwire used steroids.” I wish my own kids were able to form such strong opinions when they were between two and four years old, which is what Liam and Peter were when McGwire retired. My poor dumb kids couldn’t even calculate a simple batting average at that age.

And their takes on Maris and Aaron?  Hamill must be so proud that his children, unlike any pre-teen I’ve ever met, revere the players of their fathers’ youth rather than that of their own.  How wonderful for Hamil and his story!

Unless of course . . .no, couldn’t be.  Forget I even thought it. I mean, if a writer for a major daily newspaper simply invented a conversation like that in an effort to communicate some tired and hacky ideas in a fresh new way he’d probably be disciplined.

  1. Kevin - Jan 19, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    “his children, unlike any pre-teen I’ve ever met, revere the players of their fathers’ youth rather than that of their own…”
    The thing is, the media narrative at this point is strong enough that there are young people (though maybe not pre-teens in particular) that do feel this way, because it’s all they read from middle-aged columnists. I’m a freshman in college and was reading over a classmate’s essay, and the theme of it was essentially that it was better to be a fan of baseball in the “golden age” (~1960′s) – even though she is two generations removed from seeing those players. Leaving aside all the reasons why I would disagree with this claim (better players, MLB.TV, and the exponential increase of media outlets, to name just a few), the most interesting thing to me was that she would even consider, not to mention wholeheartedly believe, that the game she watches is not as good as it was fifty years ago.

  2. Tony A - Jan 19, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Yeah, when the andro story broke, I hot footed it over to my local GNC to price some, thinking I might be be in line for something like that as I got older. Got outlawed before I ever tried it. Now, well, we all have that that “What if?” game about what’s the 1st thing we’d do if we had a time machine. Unlike all the people that want to talk to Jesus or see dinosaurs, I always figured I’d hop back to New Haven in the 60′s and get some decent pizza. At my current age, and after this latest cold snap we had in So Fla, I’m beginning to think that a trip to that GNC for a case of Andro might take precedence…

  3. Raymond Lineweaver - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:49 AM

    Interessanter Post, vielen Dank.

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