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The dump-McGwire campaign intensifies

Jan 26, 2010, 7:57 AM EDT

McGwire crying.jpgYesterday Ken Rosenthal gave Mark McGwire an ultimatum: repent or resign.  I had missed the fact that, earlier in the day, Peter Gammons had thrown a log on that same fire, calling McGwire a “distraction,” questioning whether his presence on the Cardinals is sustainable and, as a grand finale, saying “McGwire, La Russa, Mozeliak, DeWitt and Selig had better sit down and
think it through, because less than two weeks into the return of Big
Mac, this has all the feel of Tom Eagleton.”

For you kids who don’t remember the 1972 Presidential campaign, Tom Eagleton was a U.S. Senator from Missouri who was picked to be Democratic nominee George McGovern’s running mate.  He was forced off the ticket, however, when it was revealed that he had been hospitalized for serious mental health difficulties, had suffered from manic depression and suicidal tendencies and had been prescribed anti-psychotic drugs.

McGwire = Eagleton?  Really Peter?  A hitting coach who took some PEDs a few years ago inspires a comparison to a man with potentially debilitating mental health problems being a heartbeat away from the presidency?  Sure, why not.  But unlike Rosenthal, I’m willing to give Gammons a greater benefit of the doubt on this sort of thing because his commentary tends not to skew hysterical. To that end I’m assuming that Gammons is referring to the media circus that is developing around McGwire and isn’t making some sort of moral or psychological equivalence.

But of course there will be a media circus when spring training starts. Of course McGwire will be a “distraction,” to use Gammons’ term. But it’s not because there’s anything relevant left to report about Mark McGwire’s steroid use or anything else he should be obligated to add. It’s because everywhere McGwire goes, people like Rosenthal and Gammons will fulfill their own prophesies, jumping up and down, madly pointing and shouting “Look! A distraction!”

  1. pedman - Jan 26, 2010 at 10:52 AM

    Pharmacist for 40 years jkaz

  2. pedman - Jan 26, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Ahhhh Perfect, The reasoning makes sence, Blame the Comish, sure ok.. I think there all paying the price, but send the message that you cheat at a game, and get rewarded by going into the HOF sends a great message to the kids. wonderful…

  3. -z- - Jan 26, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    You want to stop a certain behavior? Make the cost prohibitive. This is just the public compensating for MLB’s wimpy drug policy.

  4. YANKEES1996 - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    The media will ride this story for as long as possible because of ratings not because they necessarily have anything relevant to add. McGwire made a mistake he apologized and now he wants to simply move on, was his apology honest? I don’t think so, was his apology full of ego, yes, I think so. Did his apology come close to full disclosure?, absolutely not! Mark McGwire admitted his mistakes because LaRussa got him a job and that is the only reason. He appeared before Congress and announced that he was not there to speak about the past, well, why the hell was he there.
    If you are a fan of the game full disclosure and an honest, forthright apology from anyone connected with baseball about Steroids is something you will never get. Manny, David Ortiz, A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro it does not matter, will never offer that type of apology. The leaders of the game, Bud Selig, the owners, general managers and managers all knew what was going on in the locker rooms and they turned a blind eye to all of it and they will never apologize to the fans either.
    If they and the media and all the fans want the game to truly heal and put this dark period in the history books then do this, release all the remaining names on the list and lets discuss them all at once and then close the book on the “Steroid Era” forever. Testing is now in place and hopefully it will keep this type of thing from ever happening again. If the names are permitted to continue to leak out one or two at a time the end of this debate may not come in my lifetime.
    Here is the bottom line on all these players admissions, you simply have to decide on your own if their apologies are good enough for you, if they are, then forgive that player for what he did, if the apology is not good enough then do nothing to support that player or his team or whatever punishment you decide on. The media will continue to run these stories and throw in their two cents worth because that is what they do best.

  5. sjp - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    Gammons and Rosenthal are being foolish, myoptic, and hypocritical. Why should McGwire be held to a different standard than Pettite, ARod, Ortiz, Manny, Tejada, or any other current player that has been outed? Shouldn’t all of those guys retire because they are distractions? No, they are not distractions, and McGwire himself also is not a distraction. What is a distraction is the media witch hunt mentality…a media, BTW, that can’t even bother to inform itself about the effects of steroids.
    Feel free to list all of the current or former players that have been more forthright about their PED use than McGwire. There have been none. Thousands of players used PEDs during the 90s, 1000s used before the 90s….of all of those players NONE have been transparent about their activities and 99.9% have not admitted to anything. And McGwire should be held to a different standard because…why?

  6. Talex - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    What McGuire did was tantamount to cheating or throwing a game every day that he played in a game. If it’s sacrilegious to throw a game why isn’t it sacrilegious to falsify stats, records, and wins by cheating?
    So if the St. Louis Cardinals want one of the great cheaters in the history of the game to represent them: they should go for it!

  7. Joey B - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    “1. Why does McGwire, who had been asked for years to simply admit what he did, now have to “repent”?
    2. Even if he does have to repent, why does he have to repent to the media? Why is it their dissatisfaction, as opposed to that of, say, Cardinals’ fans or the team or Major League Baseball, that has to be addressed?”
    I didn’t address the repenting part, just the idiotic suggestion that an ex-player, with no motivation to take PEDs, has now repented because he no longer takes PEDs. He doesn’t take them because it no longer supplies an advantage, no more, no less.
    IRT the repentence, I didn’t read the article. I’m not against the Cards signing the guy, I’m just against the inclusion in the HOF. You can’t punish a guy forever, but you also can’t reward him for stats attained with an unfair advantage. If your kid lost a spot in an honors class to a kid that acknowledged cheating on the exam, or if your kid lost a spot on the FB team to a kid that acknowledged taking PEDs, would you object? Or would you tell your kid it’s okay, that other kids cheat and take PEDs?
    My guess is that the biggest ire with the ‘repentence’ is the style. Have you ever had someone apologize with no intent. I’ve seen kids apologize that didn’t give a rat’s ass, they just didn’t want you to bother them. A true apology is a wonderful thing, but if a kid doesn’t even bother looking up from the PS2 when he says ‘sorry’, it’s probably got very little intent.
    McGwire went down the Pettitte/ARod road. I did it because I was injured, and they didn’t do anything to help me.
    The reality is that he was 30 years old, with 238 HRs and a .250 average. He was the statistical twin of Dave Kingman who had 252 HRs and a .241 average at age 30. Now he wants to steal a spot in the HOF. But he can’t get acknowledged with the apology, and he can’t acknowledge that he was just another minor star withput PEDs, so he admits taking PEDs, but says they didn’t help him go from to 1 HR/14.0 ABs 1 HR/8.25 ABs.
    Can you see how lying during an apology makes it seem superficial?

  8. sjp - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Wow, using HR and BA to make someone a “statistical twin”, wanna compare OBP?
    When evaluating HR rates, you might want to look into changes made to MLB ball composition starting in mid-1993, the changes had huge effects….indeed, much larger effects than steroids did, unless everyone started using the same day in 1993.
    FWIW, McGwire did admit that steroids helped him hit more HR because he didn’t think he’d be on the field as much without them, what he said was they didn’t help him hit the ball farther. He’s probably wrong, but that doesn’t make him a liar.

  9. Fast Eddy - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    I think this thing is crazy. Why must every writer in the country think he has something to say about this? Why don’t they stick to home ground? Gammons should report on Boston problems. Why not get Ortiz to admit he is on the juice, and get him drummed out of baseball. We know that Manny was using when he played there. It was rumored that Big Pappi was using too. Who else on that team is dirty? Why not get an investigation going to uncover that story? Why do these nuts like Gammons and Rosenthal think they know best for everyone? They know nothing and probably never picked up a baseball bat in their life.

  10. Charles Gates - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Please explain how and why shredding the Constitution will make us, and baseball, better off?

  11. Shely - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    I don’t know of a single person in Cincinnati that believes this is a reason to drum Mac out of baseball. If the writers would not keep the story going, it would be dead out here in the sticks. The guy admitted he did wrong, so lets move on. Even a Felon has the right to a job after he serves his time.

  12. Fast Eddy - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    The writers are in this for name recognition and to make big money. There is nothing that says Gammons opinions are more important than yours or mine. They are in it to protect our families? Come on grow up and get some brains.

  13. Chuck - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    Ah, the answer to all this is really simple. If the baseball pundits want to punish McGwire for what he did 10 years ago, then let’s ban every baseball player that the “list” for ever. This will help us quickly forget the steroid issue. After all, everyone else is perfect and we don’t need to worry about what everyone else does or did.
    BTW, since we are on that track, let’s ban Tiger, Kobe, Vick, soccer player Henry (for the handball), and the myriad of other athletes that do something wrong.
    Come on guys, get real! If we can’t forget past mistakes, no one will be able to do anything.

  14. Nick C - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    sjp – You nailed it. No one who has “apologized” has been honest and forthright and yet no one has been destroyed by the media in the same manner that McGwire has been. The only conclusion I can come to is that McGwire is associated with Tony LaRussa, who is hated by the media and the fans.

  15. smsetnor - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    Not to mention, no way that Peter Gammons (with his connections) didn’t know that players were juicing. Him playing outraged ignorant baseball guy is a laughable as LaRussa not knowing.

  16. Jonny5 - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    The fact that you can be banned for sports betting in baseball, but not for using banned drugs tells you something doesn’t it??? IMO ban them for life from here on out. That oughta get their attention.

  17. PadresFan - Jan 26, 2010 at 11:54 AM

    The only reason McGwire came clean is he was offered an MLB job. McGwire should not be allowed to hold an MLB job until he talks with Selig and Bud should suspend him. Now, I am not a big fan of Selig either but the ONLY reason for admitting to steroids was the offer of a job by LaRussa. The MLB and the Players Association need to realize the only way MLB gets back on track is to come clean with the 2003 list of positive samples of drug tests.
    Finally, to all of you who think steroids is not a big issue, why are you the same people that got upset when communist countries like East Germany in the 70’s were using steroids, especially with the women athletes.

  18. celery56 - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:00 PM

    The problem with McGuire is although he admitted using steroids he still insists it didn’t help him- he said he still would have hit 70 home runs- BS BS BS- that’s not reality. He, Bonds, Sousa and one or two others looked like the hulk when they were using-
    to say that the added strength didn’t help is just a lie.

  19. YANKEES1996 - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    Where in the post did you see anything in reference to the Constitution?

  20. Charles Gates - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:14 PM


  21. RickD - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM

    Greenies and betting aren’t the same as steroids MarkFD. Greenies just make you stay awake and run your mouth for a long time and betting is just a hands off game of chance. I wish the steroid appeasers would stop trying to continue to make the comparison.

  22. bunbun - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:23 PM

    trash is trash dump mcgwire. When mac said lets do steroids he was saying to himself, MLB and the world ” I am not good enough to compete, produce, or prevail without chemical cheating. Spineless maggot. Dump mcgwire.

  23. rlb1130 - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    I get tired of hearing abt the kids! I don’t need some athlete who has not proven to possess any other skill set beyond physical abilities to set an example for my children. Teach your children these guys are entertainers. They do not perform miracles of science, they do not heal people, put out fires or even produce a tangible consumable product! To be honest..How many kids even watch baseball anymore? Maybe baseball needs to think to the future and offer a few more kids seats and a few less luxury boxes if they are worried abt the kids??

  24. YANKEES1996 - Jan 26, 2010 at 12:55 PM

    Charles – I think your off and running here and I’m not sure where you are running to. Once the court battle and all the you did, we didn’t and legal posturing is over I believe the best thing is simply to publish the list and then let the whole issue fade into history.
    The legal wrangling is not what I was commenting on. I think it is in the best interests of baseball to simply fully disclose what happened during the “Steroid Era” and move on. The names on the list are going to come out at some point so why should they be leaked out one or two at time by scumbag journalists or lawyers that won’t be punished for the invasion of privacy anyway, or just honestly disclosed by MLB so the anger can subside and the game can move on. I am just a baseball fan that is tired of the whole “Steroid Era” issue and constant debate.

  25. sweeny - Jan 26, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Get off his back, there’s another 100 baseball players who tested positive, at least McGwire has admitted it.
    Baseball writers are a bunch of sanctimonious a-holes.
    Once spring season starts there’ll be other things to write about, until then we have to listen to this dribble, and yes, that includes ‘Mr whiter than white perfect’ Gammons and Rosenthal, and all those hall of famers who lived a perfect life.

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