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Mark McGwire speaks

Feb 17, 2010, 3:20 PM EDT

Earlier today he showed up. A few minutes ago he spoke:

He spoke about the “learning curve” he’ll have with the hitters,
specifically expanding his pool of pupils from two or three hitters to
the 13 or more that he’ll have to work with here in spring. He spoke
about the “regrets” he has from his playing career and steroid-use. And
he stressed that he is ready to “move on” from his admission, even as
he understands the questions will linger.

Asked how long he will be asked these questions, he responded:
“That’s up to you guys. I’ve accepted responsibility. I can’t tell you
how many times that I’m truly sorry. It’s a very, very regrettable
situation that I put myself in. I’m just ready to move on, and I hope
everybody else can. It would be a better place if we move on and make
this a positive thing.”

McGwire also said — again — that insofar as they allowed him to play more often, yes, steroids helped him hit home runs. He stuck to his guns, however, and said that the ability to hit home runs was his own. Which is a perfectly legitimate and understandable opinion for McGwire to have of the matter. If anyone wants to continue to take issue with that it strikes me that they need to bring some actual scientific evidence regarding the effects of steroids on hitting. If they don’t, they’re complaining about McGwire’s opinions of himself, not his candor.

At any rate, it seems that at this point there is nothing more we can expect the man to say on the matter of his own personal steroid history. He has a job in baseball, and he’s trying to do it.  If “questions linger” it’s only because the writers wish only to talk about the past.

  1. Old Gator - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Can’t agree with you more.
    Well, that’s not true. I can. But it would cost you.

  2. willmose - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    Craig thanks again for being a voice of reason on steriod usage. I’ll even think about rooting for the Braves.

  3. smsetnor - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:44 PM

    Yeah, but he cheated and is tainting the real baseball champions of yesteryear. Since they aren’t here to be offended for real heroes Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. I’ll hear that on certain nights in Cooperstown, when the moon is just right, you can see tears on the faces of Cobb’s and Speaker’s busts. What a shame.

  4. smsetnor - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Yeah, but he cheated and is tainting the real baseball champions of yesteryear. Since they aren’t here to be offended, I’ll be offended for real heroes like Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker. I hear that on certain nights in Cooperstown, when the moon is just right, you can see tears on the faces of Cobb’s and Speaker’s busts. What a shame.

  5. Jonny5 - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    Well ,I think steroids did make the difference between a fly ball out and a home run. Of course it wouldn’t help his contact ability, unless you’re a person who feels a quicker stronger swing helps with contact, and it’s reasonable to say so i guess. ;>P. I don’t feel sorry for the guy though, He took an Illegal substance to help his game, he knew he could be arrested for it, but it didn’t stop him. He gets this attention because of his actions. Is the attention super over hyped attention? Maybe, but it is his attention to own now because of his choice to be a user.

  6. chris - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Agree with Willmose…..except for the rooting for the Braves part.

  7. willmose - Feb 17, 2010 at 3:57 PM

    I was in Cooperstown last summer. During a beautiful crystal clear night with the full moon glowing I heard the spirits of Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson laughing at what people like you think is cheating and tainting of the real baseball champions.

  8. Ice Berg - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    “Mark McGwire”
    …Stopped reading right there.

  9. NaOH - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    The study linked below suggests that a 10% increase in muscle mass (from PEDs or otherwise) could reasonably lead to a 3% increase in batted ball speed. Using 380 feet as a baseline for home run distance, the increased batted ball speed leads to a 4.3% increase in batted ball distance.

  10. Rays fan - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    Your point would be made better if you didn’t refer to Ty Cobb as a real hero. One of the very best ball players, yes, but also a well known bully, a man with no compunction about cleating the infielder covering the base he was trying to steal, and a particularly virulent racist.

  11. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    That could very well be true, NaOh. My point isn’t that steroids didn’t help, though. It’s that it’s not likely McGwire knows that, nor is it likely that even if he did, that his athlete’s ego can be expected to admit it. More to the point: writers who bash McGwire are more able to obtain and process that info than he is, and if they want to make the case that McGwire’s home runs were PED-fueled, they should start there, not by trying to get McGwire to make some admission to that end.
    I’d totally accept a well-researched article from anyone that says “McGwire may have had as many as 200 extra home runs because of steroids” than one that says “McGwire won’t admit that he may have had more home runs because of steroids, so he’s a big lying fraud.”

  12. NaOH - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Agreed, Craig. And while my thoughts are the same as yours on this, that clearly wasn’t evident from my earlier comment.

  13. Rays fan - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    You had a post earlier today about Joe Mauer that also had the explanation for much of the virulence directed at McGwire:
    “…sportswriters — ‘either despite their cynicism of because of it’ — …desperately want to believe that athletes are heroes and saints until the very moment that they prove not to be, and then they feel betrayed.”
    McGwire’s no saint, so a lot of writers and fans feel betrayed. Were it not so, many of his accomplishments would still be tainted or even discounted, but there would be a lot less acrimony.

  14. YANKEES1996 - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM

    You know what is really a shame about this? If he had sat in front of Congress and admitted his transgressions years ago when given the chance this whole situation would not be going on now.
    You blew it McGwire, the first time when you used the drugs and then again when you were given a chance to put an end to the charade a few years ago! I hope you have to field and answer those type of questions until you leave the game again. Feel sorry for him in anyway?, hold on let me think…….. not no, but hell NO!!!!!!!

  15. Robb - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    The only problem is that we don’t really know how many current era MLB players were using some form of steroids or other forms of performance enhancement drugs. What happened to the list of 103 players who possibly were users? And, it wasn’t just the big guys like McGwire and Bonds;some of the guys that were 175 lbs were also hitting a lot of home runs. Cheating is cheating and that cannot be removed or ignored. However, after they fess up, apologize a zillion times, and stop using, they should (like paroled inmates), be allowed to move on with their lives.

  16. smsetnor - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    Generally I giggle when subtle sarcasm flies over people’s heads. I’ll throw this out there to defend my imagined internest honor: Cobb and Speaker were well known cheaters who are in the Hall. That’s why I referenced them. We’ll call it mock outrage.
    @Rays Fan: That is exactly why I used Ty Cobb. Cheaters come in all sorts of shapes and colors and do all sorts of the neatest things. We rage at steroid users for tainting the game while we quietly ignore past player discretions and romanticize about how the game was always pure, gentlemanly and full of sportsman traditions.

  17. Charles Gates - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    So you’re suggesting that Mac should have admitted to crimes, that he wasn’t charged with, in front of Congress?
    And it’s not the fact that he’s being asked questions. It’s what questions he’s being asked. Unfortunately, for McGwire and the rest of us, they’re the same old, lazy, illogical nonsense that it seems writers only spew because it’s an easy way to make deadline.

  18. Rays fan - Feb 17, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    My bad–sorry. Should’ve gotten your angle and failed. With that clarification for my slow-to-catch-on self, I completely agree.
    Now I’ll go bone up on Tris Speaker.

  19. archilochusColubris - Feb 17, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    “Asked how long he will be asked these questions…”
    And they say there are no stupid questions.

  20. YANKEES1996 - Feb 17, 2010 at 5:29 PM

    Yes Charles, that is exactly what I am suggesting! The statute of limitations was up on any possession charge they would have hit him with and all he had to do was tell the truth. That I guess was way too much to expect from a cheater.

  21. sjpresley - Feb 17, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Okay, say that McGuire’s HRs traveled 4% farther than they otherwise would have….how many of his HRs landed within 12-16 feet of the wall? A few, yeah, but not many.

  22. willmose - Feb 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Sorry I missed the satire. I guess it is too early in the morning for me.

  23. Charles Gates - Feb 17, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    I’ll just have my, well, a lawyer refute that argument on my behalf:

  24. Old Gator - Feb 17, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    I know what you mean about giggling when people miss the sarcasm. I’ve had to tape my ribs since I began posting here.
    Having said that, I missed yours completely. Willmose is right. It’s too goddamned early.

  25. Rays fan - Feb 17, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Okay, I’ve looked up some stuff on Tris Speaker, and now I’m really impressed.
    Most of the stuff I found was pretty positive, including helping prep Lary Doby for MLB (which would make him very unlike Cobb on the race front), but then ran across a report of a scandal in 1926 implicating both him and Ty Cobb in gambling on baseball. Judge Landis apparently decided not to ban them when their accuser wouldn’t come to his office (although no proof didn’t stop his banning the “Black Sox” including Joe Jackson). However, both their teams forced them to resign from their managerial positions and then cut them.
    Smsetnor–I now see you paired Cobb and Speaker for this allegation since gambling on baseball cuts straight to the heart of the integrity of the sport. You’re my new hero.

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