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In Missouri, opium not as bad as steroids

Mar 1, 2010, 9:21 PM EDT

Let this be a lesson to you children: If you take steroids, you will never have a highway named after you.

In the wake of Mark McGwire’s admission that he took performance enhancing drugs, the Missouri Senate has decided that the stretch of I-70 in St. Louis – which runs near a stadium named after a beer company, by the way – should no longer be known as Mark McGwire Highway.

The bill, which would also name sections of other highways after noted (and presumably non-doping) Missourians, was passed by unanimous vote on Monday. It will now move to the House to waste yet more taxpayer dollars.

The hard part of this whole endeavor, of course, will be deciding whose names to put on all these highways.

Republican Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia asked if those getting the honors were alive or dead. Schaefer says it might be wise to name roads only for the deceased, because they can’t do something worth changing the name over one day.

So there is a ray of hope for McGwire should he turn his life around in his remaining days on Earth. It’s also a practical plan, as dead people rarely go out of their way to ruin reputations, including their own.

The Senate proposes that the McGwire Highway should instead be named after Mark Twain, the legendary and beloved writer who was … ummm … also known to … err … frequent opium dens in San Francisco.

*Awkward silence*

Uh oh. Crap. Now what? Don’t tell anyone about that.

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  1. Old Gator - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    And Twain continues to deny that opium helped make possible some of his weirder writings like Letters from Earth or Pudd’nhead Wilson (and what is “Pudd’n” really code for anyway?).
    .
    I don’t suppose there’s more than mere coincidence to the fact that Twain’s real name was…Clemens?

  2. Jack Marshall - Mar 1, 2010 at 11:47 PM

    False equivalency. McGwire is losing his honor because the reason he got it was acquired through cheating. Twain’s opium use didn’t make him a literary genius. It’s irrelevant to the reason for the honor.

  3. Martyks - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:18 AM

    What a stupid comparison. By this way of thinking, you would decide that doing opium (which Mark Twain insisted he did not do, btw) is not as bad as betting on baseball, since Mark Twain never did get banned from baseball like Pete Rose did, or plagerizing, since those who copy other’s work never get highways named after them… It’s got to be one of the worst examples of false logic ever to make print.

  4. PalookaJoe - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    You may be the one shining exception to this, but I’m hearing an awful lot of “what McGwire did was a crime”. Or, if we’re comparing him to players from other eras: “Mark McGwire’s felonies are much worse than the misdemeanors committed by other players.” For a lot of angry people, McGwire’s sins are a large, flexible and constantly moving target. It’s a convenient way to maintain their outrage, but for the rest of us it’s exhausting.
    .
    I understand. Compared to the illusion of Mark McGuire, the reality is a disappointment. But that doesn’t make him a villain. It doesn’t even make him unusual. For a lot of us (and by “a lot of us” I mean “me”, but I’m sure I’m not alone) it’s tough to work up much anger over a person we’ve never met and who’s never hurt us personally. He’s apologized to the people he did hurt, and they’ve accepted his apology (Hank Aaron’s response was both eloquent and kinda inspiring). If they don’t want to bear a grudge, I’m not going to do it for them.

  5. u kant spel - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:42 AM

    Here’s a thought, try using a spell checker once in a while. Then you might find out how to spell “plagiarizing.” Of course, if you knew to do that, you might also have noticed that Bob Harkins’ comments about Samuel Clemens were tongue-in-cheek.

  6. Rays fan - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    I agree completely.
    .
    It also seems pretty silly to name a bit of road after someone just because he can hit a ball hard. Your tax dollars at work.

  7. Lawrence From Plattekill - Mar 2, 2010 at 8:59 AM

    Craig, if you expected awkward silence in response to this post, then you having been reading your own blog.
    Awkward grammar, maybe, but awkward silence?? Not a chance.

  8. Lawrence From Plattekill - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    And typos, too. I meant “haven’t been reading…”.

  9. onesweetworld - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Hey Missouri state senate….WHO FU**ING CARES!?!??

  10. Joey B - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    Craig, you’re starting to melt down. Your daily defense of McGwire’s cheating is now a twice-a-day defense. And instead of defending Mac’s cheating on its own merits, you’re now accusing two great Americans (Twain and Mays) of using drugs, without a shred of evidence. To be honest, it is starting to get amusing trying to figure out what kind of justification will come next.
    BTW, I admit to using alcohol before I reached legal age. I guess no more highways for Joey since having a couple of glasses of wine, on my own time, is now the moral equivalent to someone cheating to attain records that rightfully belonged to someone else.

  11. Lawrence From Plattekill - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    I understand. Compared to the illusion of Mark McGuire, the reality is a disappointment. But that doesn’t make him a villain. It doesn’t even make him unusual.
    OK, but no one’s asking for him to go to jail (no one I’m taking seriously, anyhow). No one’s (same caveat) saying he has to give back all the money he made. All I’m saying is he shouldn’t get honored as one of the greatest players ever. Seems to me the punishment fits the crime just about perfectly.

  12. PalookaJoe - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:22 AM

    If you look carefully, I think you’ll see that this article was written by Bob Harkins, not Craig.
    .
    I’d also go easy on the “without proof” thing. It sounds suspiciously like early arguments in favor of McGwire and Bonds. If everyone switches arguments now, the universe may just collapse into a swirl of recreational outrage.

  13. madhatters - Mar 2, 2010 at 9:47 AM

    This seems to be one of the more ignorant posts ever. Twain did what most other writers did. Furthermore the laws against opium were flimsy at best and specifically in San Francisco was not illegal.
    You’re talking about a guy who sullied his sport by getting a leg up on competition and a guy who wrote several pieces of classic American literature.
    – I guess the Ravens shouldn’t be named for a poem written by an Opium eater and Absynthe drinker who died in a gutter?
    Make a more contemporary comparison to Mac and not with some guy who lived 200 hundred years ago. Or maybe we could Sully some names in literature.
    I hear Emily Dickinson was a tranny
    This is bullish!

  14. Chipmaker - Mar 2, 2010 at 11:28 AM

    Cincinnati still has Pete Rose Way on the map, and he’s actually banned.

  15. Rays fan - Mar 2, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Craig didn’t write this post, so it’s not his presumed meltdown.
    You can put the tar and feathers away for now.

  16. Edward, Los Angeles, CA - Mar 2, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    Mr Harkins, I understand that you’re comparing the state of Missouri’s view of Mark McGuire with Mark Twain. I think most comments here are ignoring that stance.
    However, comparing the public perception of a baseball anti-hero (villain?) to a literary writer and each’s use of any illicit/illegal substance is flawed. We ostracize an athlete for taking a banned/illegal drug, but we do celebrate artists (like Bob Marley, the Doors) for the drug-induced (or -inducing) music they have created.
    I do see your point that Missouri appears to be applying a doublestandard with athletes, but it’s rather tenuous.

  17. Charles Gates - Mar 2, 2010 at 12:33 PM

    Twain did what most other writers did.
    You say this is ok, yet Big Mac used steroids just like a lot of other player, and this is different?
    @ Edward, Los Angeles, CA
    We ostracize an athlete for taking a banned/illegal drug, but we do celebrate artists (like Bob Marley, the Doors) for the drug-induced (or -inducing) music they have created.
    You’re right there is a double standard, which is exactly why Bob made that point. We treat artists one way and athletes another. Why is that fair?

  18. madhatters - Mar 2, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    You say this is ok, yet Big Mac used steroids just like a lot of other player, and this is different?
    How did opium put Twain at a greater advantage as a writer? Opium is simply a drug. Winston Churchill drank a bottle of whiskey a day. FDR used opium frequently during his life. It’s comparing Apples to Spaghetti. Additionally w/ or w/o drugs Twain remains an American hero. W/ the drugs Mac is a dirtbag and a liar; and w/o the drugs he probably would hardly be remembered.
    It isn’t logical at all to compare a writer who used recreationally and a ballplayer who used to essentially cheat.
    There aren’t highways named after Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose for a reason. It’s an insult to American intellect to even mention Twain and Mac in the same breath
    Bill Clinton smoked weed, George Bush was addicted to cocaine and both have federal and/or goverment buildings named for them. Mistakes in peoples’ personal lives are often forgiven or overlooked. But something done in professional vanity is vastly different and not forgiveable in the sense that you would honor their work in the field.
    I mean is that a reasonable answer?

  19. Joey B - Mar 2, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    “If you look carefully, I think you’ll see that this article was written by Bob Harkins, not Craig.”
    Are you implying that I need to actually look at the author’s name before lambasting him?
    Alright, alright, I apologize to Craig.

  20. Joey B - Mar 2, 2010 at 5:10 PM

    “You’re right there is a double standard, which is exactly why Bob made that point. We treat artists one way and athletes another. Why is that fair?”
    1-When an athlete takes PEDs, it gives them an unfair advantage.
    2-When an artist drinks a bottle of scotch, passes out, and wakes up with a blinding hangover, it is a disadvantage.
    The comparisons are not even remotely close. They’re not in the same universe. It’s like the team I’m playing shows up with corked bats and I’m getting drunk after the game, and somehow it is the same thing.

  21. Bob Harkins - Mar 2, 2010 at 7:28 PM

    The point is not whether taking steroids is worse than taking opium, or vice versa. You could make a convincing argument from either side.
    The point is that people are flawed. Even the great Mark Twain. If you’re so worried about the name of your freeway that you’re going to spend valuable legislative time arguing about it — and taxpayer money to change the signs — maybe you should name it something really safe like “Mother Theresa Highway,” or “Bob Harkins Highway.” (Kidding, folks!)
    Or if you really want to make a statement on steroids, how about “Roger Maris Highway.”

  22. Enrique Ukena - Mar 3, 2010 at 7:26 AM

    I know a few people that will love this site, I’ll definately let them know.

  23. Joey B - Mar 3, 2010 at 9:03 AM

    “The point is that people are flawed. Even the great Mark Twain.”
    1-I’m not sure I consider the alleged use of opium by Mark Twain to be a flaw. Though I don’t take any of the outlawed drugs, I don’t see a huge difference between me occasionally throwing back a couple of 6-packs and someone else occasionally spending time in an opium den.
    2-Even if we consider it a flaw, it is still 100% than steroids. Without beer, I’d still be pretty good at my job. Without opium, Mark Twain would still be a great writer. Without steroids, McGwire would’ve been a guy with 400 HRs and a .250. Just a very good player, with no parades, no highways, and no HOF. All that stuff, that was stolen.

  24. madhatters - Mar 3, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    good point. I don’t think i could have said it better myself

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