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

Jan 19, 2010, 10:25 AM EDT

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

“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

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. Old Gator - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:29 AM

    I dunno, Craig. Have you checked the children?

  2. (Not That) Tom - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:42 AM

    I always thought life would be much more enjoyable if we all spoke in Victorian-novel structured sentences.

  3. Ross - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:43 AM

    And this is where the Smell Test comes in. In this case, I smell cow manure.

  4. YankeesfanLen - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:46 AM

    I wonder if DEE-nis took the kids to Macy’s Parade to watch their father and Lupica’s balloons go down Broadway?
    I’m sure the kids can have a National Review conversation on health care as well.

  5. Man In Blue - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:47 AM

    I’m still waiting for one of these hacks to admit that they, too, “blew” the story in 1998… the “Andro” hiccup was just that; not only was it legal to have and use in ’98, one could get it over the freakin’ counter!

  6. Jonny5 - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Well of course they never mentioned Tex,Damn Yankees fans are even bastards at that age huh???? ;>P

  7. Charles Gates - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    Peter and Liam: “Daddy, what’s steroids?
    Mr Hamill: “Steroid are bad. But they’re also the gravy train. I can keep writing the same old story about them without putting any thought into what I’m doing.”

  8. Andrew in Rochester - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:49 AM

    Clearly you never saw the last season of The Wire.

  9. Jacob - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Great tags, Craig.

  10. J.P. - Jan 19, 2010 at 10:58 AM

    What does Sammy Sosa have to do to get some recognition? He broke Maris’ record in three different seasons! Have some respect for your elders.

  11. David - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:04 AM

    As my 1-year-old son would say, “Doo-doo!”

  12. Evil EmpirE 2010 - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    Aye Yai Yai …….

  13. Jay Gargiulo - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    “Great tags, Craig.”
    Indeed. “Shameless Sockpuppetry” was especially excellent.

  14. Adam - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    I’m trying to remember the last time either of my kids (12 and 16) used the phrase “as far as I’m concerned”. And I wish my drives to practices were filled with such literate, compelling conversations. Ours usually focus on the latest shooter game on XBox and/or who cracked the biggest fart in chemistry. Clearly I’m not nearly the parent Denis Hammil pretends to be.

  15. Rays fan - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Absolutely correct. It’d also be nice if they’d start acknowledging that steroids were being used by major leaguers at least as far back as the 1970’s, that “greenies” were soubiquitous even in the 1960s that there was a slang term for the players who did not use them (“naked”), and then start pressuring MLB and the MLBPA to institute HGH testing. (So far MLBPA has refused since the test is a blood test–cry me a river. Of course, I’m sure Bud Selig believes nobody’s using them. Right.)

  16. Doc McCalla - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:50 AM

    The children The children The children. Did anyone tell the children that mommy has been taking estrogen, progesterone and testosterone for years? What a double standard. This is nothing but you know what. Stop using our children for you self serving, ignorant agendas. If a doctor prescribes this hormonal stuff to a women to improve her performance… it’s o-k. However, if a man seeks to improve his hormonal balance; he’s a cheater. Get Over it.

  17. Fast Eddy - Jan 19, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    All this fuss over a little medicine! Such discussions. And of course the children. Lets think of them. Then, there is always Rodney. Remember: “Can’t we just all get along”. Is there nothing more important to write about? It is almost Feb. The pitchers will be reporting soon!

  18. Denis - Jan 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    So you are basically calling Hamill a no good, low down, rotten liar.

  19. Craig Calcaterra - Jan 19, 2010 at 12:20 PM

    I can’t pass on whether he’s good or how low he is. If he’s trying to pass this column off as a genuine conversation he had with his kids, however, yes, I believe he’s lying.

  20. Mark - Jan 19, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    You are so right. What a great argument. All of the PED users should step forward and say what the F man.”I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Taking PEDS since HIGH SCHOOL and proud of it. All my baseball career with no side effects. But I didn’t take them so I could break home run records. Just trying to take care of some childhood weaknesses. Like lack of size, lack of strength, lack of talent. Just trying to even the playing field between myself and those with real talent that work hard.”

  21. Tom - Jan 19, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    Isn’t fabricating quotes cheating? Therefore, isn’t this column the same thing as McGwire (and everyone else) using steroids? I guess Denis Hamill’s excuse would be that it’s just a literary device used to enhance his column, making it better and easier to get his point across.

  22. YANKEES1996 - Jan 19, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    If these kids had such insightful revelations into something like steriod use in baseball at that young of an age, President Obama may want to talk to them about any number of problems facing him and this country.
    There is a strange odor emanating from that story, the odor is familiar put I can’t quite identify it…. oh, yea it’s BULLS***!!

  23. motherscratcher - Jan 19, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    So I asked my 15 month old what he thought of the whole McGwire thing. He just looked at me and got a big smile on his face. Then he stumbled over to Elmo’s grill and picked up a fake plastic fried egg and handed it to me. Either he didn’t understand the question or he’s functioning on a whole other plane than me.

  24. Dan in Katonah - Jan 19, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    What an amazing coincidence. Yesterday I was driving my two daugthers (6 & 8) and they engaged in a similarly intelligent discourse on geopolitical struggles in the Mideast. Of course it was a more generalized conversation, something like “you’re on my side!” “quit it!” and “stop touching me!”

  25. Curmudgeonly Old Gator - Jan 19, 2010 at 2:41 PM

    Children are horrible.

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