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When is Ron Villone going to apologize to Mark McGwire?

Jan 22, 2010, 7:34 AM EDT

Ron Villone headshot.jpgEventually people will start playing baseball again and all of this will be forgotten. Until then we’ll have old timers like Fergie Jenkins saying silly things like this:

Ferguson Jenkins says Mark McGwire owes an apology to all those pitchers who gave up his home runs. The Hall of Fame ace sent an open letter* to The Associated Press
this week, telling the former home-run king: “You have not even begun
to apologize to those you have harmed.”
“How many pitchers do you think he ended their careers by hitting numbers of home runs of them?”

“You have yet to apologize to all the pitchers you faced while juiced,”
Jenkins wrote. “You altered pitchers’ lives. You may have shortened
pitchers careers because of the advantage you forced over them while
juiced. Have you thought about what happened when they couldn’t get you
out and lost the confidence of their managers and general managers? You
even managed to alter the place some athletes have achieved in record
books by making your steroid-fueled run to the season home run record.”

Best tidbit from the story: STATS LLC researched and found out that 51 pitchers gave up  homers to McGwire in what
turned out to be their final major league seasons, including Bert Blyleven and Donnie Moore.  I can only assume that Murray Chass and that crowd will now change their Hall of Fame vote for Blyleven and start blaming Donnie Moore’s suicide on McGwire.

Of course what STATS LLC has not done is analyze how many home runs McGwire hit off pitchers who were juicing.  For example, he hit two dingers off of Roger Clemens in his career, so I assume he need not apologize there. He hit five off Ron Villone, who was named in the Mitchell Report. Other Mitchell Report alumni who served up home runs to McGwire: Kevin Brown, Jim Parque, Darren Holmes and Steve Woodard.

Given how cursory and incomplete the Mitchell Report was, and given that pitchers have, if anything, been overrepresented in positive PED tests since 2004, there are no doubt many, many more to whom McGwire need not apologize. I’d compile a list of pitchers who should apologize to McGwire — ‘roiders who struck Mac out and prevented him from hitting home runs — but that would be a pretty extensive undertaking.

How about this: instead of wasting our time telling everyone who should apologize to whom, we just drop this pathetic, sanctimonious game, accept that the era in which Mark McGwire played was rotten with steroid users and figure out how to put it all in historic context?  Or is that too immature?

*Open letter?! Arrrrgghh!

  1. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    …I was going to say that CC is probably as tired of the McGwire stories as anyone else, but then again maybe I am wrong there–it does make for blog fodder other than what some bench warmer settled on instead of going to arbitration…
    Helps fill the time until pitchers and catchers report, anyway.

  2. Motherscratcher - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, pick a handle and stick with it. I’ve been responding to you on the assumption that I’m talking to the same person because you seem to be rational and have well considered responses. But, when you start responding to my comments with my own handle it just gets confusing.
    I have no problem with players calling out McGwire. I have a problem with players calling him out and using hypocritical, poorly researched, and fault logic to do it.
    You’re assertion that you aren’t convinced that McGwire would have hit a “hell of a lot” of HRs is reasonable. Your’re right.
    Like others have said, I don’t think McGwire lied. He quite obviously believes what he said. It’s idiotic to think that, but he does. McGwire would have been lying if he had said that he DID think that PEDs helped him hit the HRs because he doesn’t believe that.
    I would have been “happier” if Fergie hadn’t commented at all without something more reasonable to say. I don’t think that pointing out the flaw in Fergie’s (or anyone’s) argument misses the point at all. I think it’s necessary that somebody do it. Because if Fergie’s point was to say that he doesn’t like that McGwire used PED’s…well…join the freakin’ club.
    I hope you’re reading Rays fan’s comments because they are much more articulate than mine.

  3. Gohare - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Who dies from steriods every year? You said cheating at a sport is the same as drink driving. So either you are trivialising drink driving or taking steriod abuse too seriously. And please don’t resort to petty name calling.
    You still haven’t addressed the fact that there is a difference between actively opposing testing and calling people out.
    I think the problem with Canseco is that he’s Canseco, a bit of an asshole by all accounts.
    So you agree that the clean players should have done more? They didn’t and now they are part of the steriod era. There’s no point complaining about that now.
    Is there like a limited amount of blame? I agree that the cheaters were the problem and deserve to be criticised. But the actions of silent majority allowed the cheaters to stay hidden for longer than necessary. This is something the clean players have to think about. And it is why Craig is right in saying that this era was rotten with steriod users

  4. Mr. Resume - Jan 22, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    1) If you’re lumping all drug users in one category, and that is what qualifies as “hypocrisy” in your world, then fine. Pretty myopic, but whatever floats your boat.
    2) Congrats doc. I too hold a doctorate, but am not an MD. Then, I know a great deal of MDs who are poorly informed and bad at their jobs. If you were being honest, you’d surely agree. In the future, save your resume for those who care. Your status as a drug reviewer doesn’t impress me, and it certainly doesn’t make you an expert on performance enhancing drugs.

  5. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:05 PM

    Sorry about the responses. Ive never been to this site and am posting for the first time after reading the article. I’ll my name from now on.
    We really aren’t terribly far off in our assessment here. The only real disagreements I have with your post is the importance (or lack thereof) of calling out Fergie Jenkins comments, and the fact that Mark McGwire isn’t lying.
    Mark McGwire was doing steroids in the bathroom with Jose Canseco. The notion that he wasn’t taking them to get stronger and gain an advantage is completely ridiculous. If you believe that, you probably also believe that he “can’t remember” what steroids he was taking.

  6. Motherscratcher - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    Until presented with any other evidence I’d have to say that Rays fan’s resume of “MD and drug reviewer” is light years more impressive than your resume of “not an MD but know some bad doctors”.
    Also, if you think that the PED’s used today carry the same risks and side effects as the ones that killed Lyle Alzedo, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Then again, I’m not an expert either. I’ll defer to Rays fan. You know, the guy with the MD.

  7. James Hall - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:19 PM

    Ohhhh the humanity.
    My goodness the utter stupidity surrounding the “topic” of drugs in our society [and yes I am writing about ALL drugs and if I have to explain anything about “the war on drugs” and/or the “u.s health system” and/or the effects of coffee, soft drinks and/or genetically alter biosystems then…]is aiding in the “total” destruction of any/all common sense that reaches beyond the topic itself.
    Given that every friggin’ system [legal, financial, educational, governmental, health & welfare, entertainment, information, religion and thus by extension every and all subsystems {baseball punditacy being a righteous example}] is soooo badly corrupted [and thus broken {well except for those “in control”}] gives our reality a whole new dimension [delusion comes to mind].
    So given that we are playing this game [opinions are like…] in a vacuum Craig is more than correct in his OBSERVATIONS.
    Futhermore until every baseball fan [well those with an IQ above room temperature] truly understands the that the players themselves are NOT the foundation [upon which all else sits] of the “current” PED horseshit [as Joe Schultz used to yell] then a;most anything said and/or done is a waste of every resource [time, money, yada, yada, yada… including my rant but heck I have nothing but time to waste] this matter entails [and this would be all those systems mentioned above].
    Attention should be focused on the “MASTERS” of the game [baseball being one of the many, many subsystems].
    However our masters just love this sort of crap as it keeps everyone totally off-balance. This entire exercise is just part and parcel of the “bread and circuses” theory that helps make up the human condition and the control and manipulation of same.
    Humanity having forsaken compassion and reversed/transformed the 7 deadlies is wandering about in a stupor of total self interest, a total sense of false entitlement and a total loss of community.
    Time and nature are a-comin’, at a fantastic pace, to collect their dues based on our very, very poor record. I view it as the fulfillment of our total love/lust for self abuse.
    Hopefully everyone is gettin’ off ’cause this is the only real and true reason to engage in self abuse. However “gettin’ off” is soooooo fle…fle…fleeting, now ain’t it ?
    Enjoy the 20 10 season, one in which more players will hit the DL for “personal reasons” than ever before. Another indication that our systems are dyin’ as they should given the conditions in which we allow them to thrive.
    But of course everything we do is “FOR THE CHILDREN” which is a self indulgent manner of saying “doing the correct things for a better future of all”.
    What a crock so much so that even the rats no longer give a rat’s ass and rats are a very self centered species not unlike humankind.
    Oh well, eh ?

  8. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:24 PM

    Dear Mr. Angry about the comparison,
    I didn’t say it, Andy Van Slyke did. I quoted him.
    And regardless, every year more and more deaths are attributed to steroid use/abuse. Google it, you’ll find plenty. The point is, your fake little outrage over the comparison is very, very lame. Nobody is cheapening anything about drunk driving, but if the comparison is just too much to handle, just imagine he said “speeding down the highway” instead.
    The players union actively opposed testing, and have been called out on it many times. Doesn’t change the fact that the bulk of the blame belongs on the shoulders of those who were cheating. There is plenty of blame to go around here, but surely you can handle the fact that blame doesn’t deserve to be spread equally.
    Call Canseco an asshole if you want, but without him, we would be a decade behind this debate. Whether or not you admit it, he was blackballed as a direct result of his “outing” fellow players.
    Nobody said the era wasn’t rotten with steroid users, but it is pretty clear that the article chooses to ignore the fact that the majority of players in this era were very likely clean, instead asking us to get over the fact that McGwire was a scumbag because he hit against some other cheaters along the way.

  9. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:27 PM

    1) Okay, I’m myopic.
    2) If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t respond.
    3) Absolutely, you are as likely to find an icompetent doc as you are an incompetent stock broker, lawyer, professor, cab driver, etc.
    4) I hope you’re having as much fun as I am. This is certainly helping to liven up the off season. I personally find arbitration and the hot stove league a bit tedious.
    The “Mr. Resume” handle–that was a good one, gave me a laugh, really. [Of course, I only mentioned my background after being accused of knowing nothing on the topic. Being a certified drug test reviewer does require studying and passing a test on numerous drugs of abuse, to include PEDs, so it does at least imply a certain level of knowledge.]

  10. Motherscratcher - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    I was talking about my rug.

  11. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Be impressed by someone who claims to be a physician if you want. I’m not. And really, I could care less. I was more pointing out the fact that playing the “I know more than you do because I’m a doctor” card is pretty pathetic. Especially when he has NO IDEA what my education consists of. To be honest, I’d be more impressed if he were a vet, as I’ve read that one of the steroids McGwire was known to have taken was equipoise… a drug with NO indications for human use in the US. Its a veterinary drug.
    “Also, if you think that the PED’s used today carry the same risks and side effects as the ones that killed Lyle Alzedo, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Then again, I’m not an expert either. I’ll defer to Rays fan. You know, the guy with the MD.”
    They are more similar than you know. In fact, many are the exact same anabolics taken by guys like Alzedo. Today HGH is far more commonly used because its light years safer, when used properly than anabolic steroids. The fact that you can’t adequately test for helps as well.
    You don’t need to be a doctor to understand these drugs. They aren’t all that complicated, really. Google or a library card will get you all the information you need on the subject.

  12. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    Well put Mr. Rays fan… =)
    And yes, I’m enjoying the conversation as well. Home sick with the flu today… I’ve watched the same damn Sportcenter over and over all morning, and at this point, this conversation is the only thing keeping me going!

  13. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    You are correct. I would not call any newer steroids “safer.” Time may even prove them worse. Yes, the most common ones 30 years ago are still the most common ones today. I, too, am certain HGH is widely being abused in baseball since the only currently feasible test is a blood test and the MLBPA won’t go along with that.
    It was not my intent to imply that I am more intelligent than you or anyone else. I was only responding to the “know nothing” about PEDs part of the first post labelled “If you think cocaine”… If I stated my own case in a manner you found offensive, oh well.
    “Especially when (you had) NO IDEA what my education consists of.”

  14. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:11 PM

    Yeah doc, more a misunderstanding than anything. My comment…
    “If you think cocaine and amphetamines had remotely close to the same effect on the game as steroids, you clearly know nothing about PEDs.”
    …was pretty harsh. Apologies.
    The point wasn’t to say that you knew nothing about steroids, rather that the effect of cocaine on performance was clearly in no way similar to the effect of steroids. I guess I worded the original statement poorly.
    Rather than direct it at you, I should have said…
    “If a person thinks cocaine and amphetamines had remotely close to the same effect on the game as steroids, they clearly know nothing about PEDs.”

  15. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Sorry about the flu, man–happy to help pass the time. The same Sportscenter being repeated 3-4 hours in a row is cruel and unusual punishment.
    Get well!

  16. Motherscratcher - Jan 22, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    I don’t think that Rays fan played the “I know more than you do because I’m a doctor” card at all. He was, in my view, responding to a comment that he “clearly know[s] nothing about PEDs.” His response more of a logical “well, I do know about PED’s and here’s why” sort of thing than a “I’m a doctor so I’m better than you” sort of thing. That’s how I took it anyway.
    Anyway, Rays fan has left a lot of comments on this and many other threads in this forum and they all seem to be well thought out. At least they are much more logical than the vast majority of comments here (mine included). So, I guess I took him at his word because he’s never tried to beat anyone over the head with his resume before, and I don’t agree that he was doing it this time either.
    No, I’m not overly impressed by someone on the interwebs saying they are a doctor, and I know that you don’t need to be a doctor to understand these things. But, since I took him at his word, I thought it unlikely that he DOESN’T have an understanding of PEDs.
    As far as the safety of PEDs is concerned, I stand corrected. I was wrong about that. If I was more articulate I would have phrased it different. I guess what I meant is that we probably KNOW a lot more about the effects of PEDs now than we used to. If used correctly, and under the care or direction of a physician or other informed party, the side effects and risks of use is probably a lot less today than it used to be. I think buying some steroids from the douchebag at the gym and injecting yourself is probably a lot more risky than to get information on proper dosaging and cycles and whatnot. I guess I could be wrong about that too. I’ll admit that I’m underinformed on the current risks. I just know that steroids are used very safely by doctors and patients for other things. We talk about how bad they are in relation to baseball because that’s the topic we are interested in. But, they probably make life a whole lot better and heathier for a lot of people who aren’t being whipped in public square for using them to hit a ball farther.

  17. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    There are steroids with medical use in humans, as well as steroids with no use in humans.
    Both kinds are used commonly by bodybuilders like McGwire’s brother, and athletes like Mark McGwire.
    The point I was tying to make by citing one such commonly used steroid, equipoise, is that it isn’t one that any doctor would give you an Rx for, ever. Unless of course your name, of course, is the fabulous Mr. Ed.
    Your doctor, assuming s/he didn’t purchase their medical degree from Dominica (which shockingly enough, does happen), is probably at least somewhat versed in a number of drugs that they would never actually use in practice. They however, don’t really have access to any information on these drugs that isn’t readily available to you as well. Your doctor didn’t invent the compound, likely isn’t a chemist, and as such shouldn’t be trusted blindly in matters of your health in this day and age.
    You articulate your points just fine, Motherscratcher, you’re obviously intelligent. I understand that you trust Rays fan from reading his posts prior to today, and that’s just fine. That said, I’d always encourage you to hit the google machine and do a bit of independent drug research before taking something your doctor prescribes, or forming opinions on specific drug types/uses ect.
    Judging my credibility (an anonymous internet poster home sick with the flu) as more or less credible than Rays fan (an anonymous internet poster who claims to be a doctor) is a pretty scary thing to do. It won’t kill you when it comes to discussing Mark McBacne, but I do hope you don’t trust your own health to the same credibility judgment process. I’m sure you don’t.
    *** Please note, I’m not doubting Rays fan is in fact a physician… just making a point.

  18. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Its painful!!!
    Care to write me an Rx for HGH doc?? I hear it does wonders for the immune system!!

  19. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Or perhaps you could write me a script for some anabolics… Mark McGwire tells me they’re great for helping active people feel “normal” again!
    After all, I don’t want to use them to get stronger, I just want to “stay on the field”.

  20. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Surely you believe me… right?

  21. Motherscratcher - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:29 PM

    You’re right. I don’t “trust [my] own health to the same credibility judgment process” that I just displayed. You’re right that I jumped too easily to the conclusion that your opinion and knowledge would be less than Rays fan. Won’t happen again.
    My only defense is that, and you’ll probably agree, most commenters come across as somewhat…moronic (obviously present company excluded) so after a time I am probably operating from that assumption until proven otherwise. Maybe I shouldn’t do that.
    I admittedly have very little knowledge about steroids other than something like decadron, so I’d probably be better served just keeping my pie-hole shut about them, lest I run across someone (such as yourself) who knows enough to make me feel foolish.
    I am surprised, relieved, and (honestly) a little disappointed that this thread lacked all of the “Craig is a fraud who doesn’t get it and hates the children” comments that I love so much.
    All that being said, I like your style, dude. (How do you get all of those wonderful spaces between you paragraphs?)

  22. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    “(How do you get all of those wonderful spaces between you paragraphs?)”
    Hit the return button
    3 times
    before the next line. :)

  23. Motherscratcher - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Far out, man.
    Far F***ing out.

  24. Rays fan - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:50 PM

    Naaah, just eat some steak–beef’s full of steroids!

  25. Matt - Jan 22, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Agreed on all points.
    Especially the one about me being a newbie to the site who hasn’t yet mastered the art of line spacing.
    I post on a college message board frequently, where I have the whole process down pat. That’s actually how I found this article… discussing the same topic and googling “McGwire news” to find the latest internet updates.
    I’m very interested in not being “that guy” who writes unreadable posts with no paragraphs… yet every time I post, the format pushes it all together. Is there some code you can turn me onto that might fix this problem? If so, I’d sure use it!

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