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Jeff Pearlman wants to ban Mark McGwire from baseball

Aug 8, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Mark McGwire

UPDATE: I missed this, but apparently Pearlman wrote this up a couple of days ago.

Jeff Pearlman went on Brian Kenny’s radio show this morning and he took the retro-PED-discipline craze to new heights. He’s not just content to give Alex Rodriguez discipline mulitple-times greater than the sanctions currently in place call for, but he wants to go back and penalize Mark McGwire for taking PEDs 15 years ago when he broke Roger Maris’ home run record. The form of the discipline: fire him from his current job as Dodgers’ hitting coach and ban him from baseball.

Keep in mind, of course, that McGwire retired two years before there even was drug testing in baseball.

So why the ban? Because he “did some amazing damage … to the record book.”  He broke a “sacred, sacred” record. And he was kind of a jerk to the media.  Really. “He was not exactly the most gracious guy that summer … he was a pain to deal with.” That’s the argument.

Kenny didn’t go there, but I’m curious if he would ban all players ever associated with PEDs from the game or just the ones who broke records and weren’t nice to reporters. Whether this is about the ethics of cheating or merely the ethics of cheating in such a way as to make reporters feel foolish after the fact.

Give a listen:

  1. jfk69 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Sacred..When did the GAME of baseball become a religion?

    • thinkfirstthenspeak - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      “I believe in the Church of Baseball. I’ve tried all the major religions, and most of the minor ones. I’ve worshipped Buddha, Allah, Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, trees, mushrooms, and Isadora Duncan…”

      1988 if not before.

    • scotttheskeptic - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      The late 1800’s.

    • Old Gator - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

      You need to watch Bull Durham again. Annie was the Marie Laveau of the Temple of Baseball, remember?

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        We ALL should watch Bull Durham again. Ohh! Craig, can we have movie night? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeease?

    • juicejuicer - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      Baseball is like Church; Many go but not everybody understands.

      • Old Gator - Aug 9, 2013 at 12:20 AM

        Baseball is the opposite of church. Attendance at ballgames is increasing. This only proves that superstition can be sold after all.

    • spursareold - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:46 PM

      “I know things. For instance, there are 108 beads in a Catholic rosary and there are 108 stitches in a baseball. When I heard that, I gave Jesus a chance. But it just didn’t work out between us. The Lord laid too much guilt on me. I prefer metaphysics to theology. You see, there’s no guilt in baseball, and it’s never boring… which makes it like sex.”

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    When can we start banning reporters who were complicit in the drug-fueled 90’s and early aughts? Can we ban SI for making McGwire and Sosa co-sportsmen of the year in ’98? Can we ban guys who simply failed to muster outrage back then, or so they have to have actually praised the dirty cheaters? Really, if there are any whispers about them ever appreciating a Canseco or McGwire blast, even in the absence of evidence, I think we should ban them just to be safe.

    • heyblueyoustink - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Totally with you, they should be relegated to covering high school tennis.

      / dusts off pitchfork and straw hat.

    • jfk69 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

      Wait don’t do that. I will issue an apology in a well crafted retraction. I will then instruct my editor to place it in a section of the paper that no true sports fan would read.
      Hmmmm ..agggh yes..Right next to Dear Abbey

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

      Can we ban SI for making McGwire and Sosa co-sportsmen of the year in ’98

      Is there anyone more hypocritical than Tom Verducci?

      [said in ’07]
      Unlike Bonds, Rodriguez has never played under suspicion that his performance was enhanced by drugs, and he is not expected to be named as part of the Mitchell Report.

      Moreover, the Yankees are negotiating approximately $25 million in bonus money for Rodriguez to reflect the additional revenue he will generate if—or when—he chases and breaks Bonds’s record. Let the anticipation (and the home run countdown) officially begin. As The United States of America v. Barry Lamar Bonds became a reality, so too did baseball officials’ hopes for a new face of the game. In A-Rod they trust.

      [now, a conversation that apparently took place in ’02 but recounted in ’13]

      “In 2002, after one of Rodriguez’s teammates, Ken Caminiti, detailed to me about the prevalent scandal of steroid use in baseball, I visited Rodriguez at his hotel room after a game in Chicago…

      I asked Rodriguez about steroids, the worst kept secret in baseball. He looked at me with wonder. Steroids? What do they do? Why would players take them? It was chilling to listen to his feigned ignorance. He had played in two especially dirty clubhouses in Seattle and Texas and by 2002 steroids were an open secret in the game, and yet here was Rodriguez asking me questions about steroids. Of course, by his later admission, at the time he was loaded to the gills on Primobolan, a steroid favored by bodybuilders that can be taken orally or by injections.

      His years in Texas, all of them dirty, made for the worst investment in baseball history. Rangers owner Tom Hicks paid him $150 million for three years (including $71 million to just go away) in which the Rangers finished in last place every year and Rodriguez didn’t play a day clean.”

    • 1908wasnextyear - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      This is the best suggestion I’ve heard in a while.

    • beearl - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Yeah, certainly Pearlman wasn’t one of those guys enabling the steroid cheats back in the late 90’s/early 00’s. Nah…couldn’t be.

      Oh wait…

      Highlights of the June 2000 article include Pearlman’s only mention of Bonds’ bulkier physique as “He has added an extra helping of stuffing in the cheeks and jowl…”

      And this wonderful quote from Shawn Estes: “He still has bat speed,” says Giants lefthander Shawn Estes, “but five, six years ago he was a lot quicker getting to the ball inside. He may have to cheat more now.”


      But Bonds was nice to him. So that must count for something. Ugh…

  3. skids003 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Jeff Pearlman. Did McGwire stuff him in a locker like Kingman did Lupica? He should.

    • Old Gator - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM

      I didn’t know Kingman did that. Wonderful. Just….wonderful.

      • skids003 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        OG, he had written some not so nice things about Kong, then jumped him in front of his locker. The story goes that Kingman stuffed him in the locker, pulled up his chair, lit a cigarette, then just sat there and stared at the terrified twerp. I wish I’d had a ticket.

    • Stacey - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

      Kingman stuffed Lupica into a locker? That’s tremendous.

  4. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    Basically “This guy who doesn’t even remember me because I’m not that important was mean to me once, so I’ve decided to go after his lively-hood for doing something that was totally not against the rules at the time.”

    If Major League Baseball were to decide to ban players from getting Lasik eye surgery, should they then go back and ban all players who had Lasik 3 years ago?

    • dan1111 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      I see this claim repeated a lot, but actually it isn’t true: steroid use was against the rules in baseball even back then.

      Yeah, it was an open secret, and there was no testing, so the rule had no teeth. But still, it was not something like laser eye surgery that nobody even thought was wrong.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:03 PM

        McGwire confessed to taking androstenedione,an over-the-counter muscle enhancement product that had already been banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency, the NFL and the IOC.

        At the time, however, use of the substance was not prohibited by Major League Baseball and it was not federally classified as an anabolic steroid in the United States until 2004.

        I’m sure he took other, illegal substances, but the only record we have is of him taking something that was legal at the time.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        I see this claim repeated a lot, but actually it isn’t true: steroid use was against the rules in baseball even back then.

        No it wasn’t. Words from the commissioner’s own mouth:

        You wrote a famous memorandum to all MLB clubs in 1991 warning about steroid issue. It stated, in part: “The possession, sale, or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance by major league players and personnel is strictly prohibited. Those involved in the possession, sale, or use of any illegal drug or controlled substance are subject to discipline by the commissioner and risk permanent expulsion from the game.” Your whole basis for the memorandum was the violation of federal law. You’re a lawyer. And yet it was utterly ignored. Why? And, had it been heeded, how would the sordid history of the past two decades be different?

        The letter was ignored because it didn’t affect the players. They were thoroughly protected by collective bargaining. But I wanted to make a moral statement to them and legal one to everyone else. The union told them to ignore it. The only way a change could be made was through collective bargaining. The union argued that testing violated players’ civil liberties. The union had strong, bright lawyers who concocted a bulletproof legal argument.

        I knew the memo would be ignored. But even more surprising was that no one in the press covered it. It turned out to be right, though. Federal law, much later, would assert itself.

  5. jgillmeister - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

    If we’re going to ban anyone from that era, make it Dusty Baker and Tony LaRussa. Both of them were the biggest enablers of the “anything goes” PED era. Canseco, McGwire, and Bonds were using under their noses. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were actively encouraging it.

    • timothynoble41 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:15 PM

      They may have even orchestrated it.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:25 PM

      The old market inefficiency?

  6. stevem7 - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Jeff Pearlman is the poster child for why the BBWAA should be removed from voting for the HOF. Here is an irrational, out of control pseudo reporter taking stands that cannot and should not be supported. Ask Jeff this, should we go back and punish all the people who decided that Prohibition would be good for this country? Nothing better than Sports Writers attempting to portray that they have integrity.

    • The Common Man - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

      Actually Pearlman doesn’t have a BBWAA membership. Which I find profoundly hilarious.

  7. buffal0sportsfan - Aug 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Is it because he beat the crap out of the diamondbacks coaching staff?

    • Arods Other Doctor - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:48 PM

      Turner Ward got in a melee with about 6 Dodgers players and got roughed up a bit as their were pushing him over the railing. Steroid Freak was about 30 feet away at the time. Trammell got pushed down by Mattingly. Again that was away from Steroid Freak. Steroid Freak and Matt Williams spent about five minutes yelling and staring at each other. Who, exactly, did Steroid Freak ‘beat the crap out of’? Was it Kirk Gibson? Matt Williams? Charles Nagy? Who?

      I mean, I’m sure with his roid rage (nice for him that coaches don’t get tested) he could go hulk on someone but what you say happened didn’t actually.

      • cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:42 PM

        Steroid Freak and Matt Williams spent about five minutes yelling and staring at each other

        ” Matt Williams, a five-time All-Star who played 17 seasons in the majors, purchased $11,600 worth of HGH, steroids and other drugs from the Palm Beach clinic in 2002. Williams, the cornerstone of the San Francisco Giants’ infield for a decade, was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks at the time.”

        So, why exactly is Mark McGwire “steroid freak” yet Matt Williams is just Matt Williams?

  8. riverace19 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Only in baseball does a player’s personality weigh as much as their actions

  9. thekingdave - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM


    I recall this pretty clearly

  10. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    Not really sure what’s so shocking about this Craig. If anyone knows about changing the past it should be Pearlmann. He’s all about hiding his stupidity by editing blogs he’s written:

    Take this column:

    Then look at the last comment, and notice Jeff’s response

    • thinkfirstthenspeak - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

      I love it.

      Can we just say,”Lighten up, bud. It’s just sports …”
      in response to “did some amazing damage … to the record book.” He broke a “sacred, sacred” record. And he was kind of a jerk to the media. Really. “He was not exactly the most gracious guy that summer … he was a pain to deal with.”?

    • cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Pearlman’s got the right idea!

      My bold predictions for the 1969 Baseball season.

      1. The Mets….yes, the Mets will in it all
      2. Reggie Jackson will look like a threat to take down Roger Maris’s single season home run record, only to completely wiener out with 10 in the 2nd half.
      3. A Seattle Pilots player, probably Jim Boutan, will spend the write about the season’s events and it will turn into a legendary book.
      4. Boston shortstop Rico Petrocelli will become just the 2nd SS in baseball history to hit 40 home runs in a season.
      5. Reds first round draft pick Ken Griffey will have a son of the same name, who will go on to become a baseball legend.

      I know…I know…my predictions were pretty accurate, weren’t they?

  11. 0fahrvergnugen - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    It gives me great pleasure to picture a flock of obsequious reporters chasing around a bunch of frauds….only to have those frauds crap on them. If they’d done their jobs properly this may have been exposed much sooner. Something could be amiss when Incredible Hulk steps to up the plate…. duh.

    My favorite is Sammy Sosa though… he not only used PED’s but caught with a corked bat as well.

    • auminer96 - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      My family is from St. Louis and we are die-hard Cardinals fans. The year that Sammy Sosa got caught with that corked bat, my sister was dating a Cubs fan (which was a minor scandal in my family, let me tell you!). For Christmas that year, my dad concocted a fabulous gift for the Cubbie-loving boyfriend…he cut the end off an old wood bat in a replaceable fashion, hollowed out part of the middle, filled it with cork and reattached the end. To top it all off, he forged Sammy Sosa’s signature on the bat. When the boyfriend opened it, he thought we had really given him a Sammy Sosa signed bat…until we took the end off an showed him the cork. He was not amused, but the rest of us laughed so hard!! The boyfriend is long gone, but that’s still one of our favorite stories to tell!

      • 0fahrvergnugen - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:17 AM

        Attention to detail is essential for a joke/prank. Well played.

  12. bgrillz - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Pearlman is a tool!

  13. rbj1 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    Pearlman is right. Let’s throw out all those who used substances that are now banned, including greenies. Sorry Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Roger Maris, et al., you are now no longer part of baseball history.

    And racial discrimination is illegal now too, so all those who benefited from facing weaker opponents who were white are now also out of baseball history. Sorry Ruth, Matthewson et al., (not so sorry about Cobb & Hornsby) you’re out too.

    Which means MLB history goes all the way back to. . . 2006? 2013 with the aftermanth of Biogenesis?

    • clemente2 - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:44 PM


  14. vegagreenleaf - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:39 PM

    Ban Pearlman from speaking. Cause, you know, he’s kind of a douche.

  15. missingdiz - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    Lots of people have said hitting a baseball with a bat is the hardest thing to do in sports, but I’d nominate being nice to reporters for the title.

  16. ThatGuy - Aug 8, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Well to be fair, its been about 3 years since Pearlman wrote a book smearing someone. He’s already crossed Bonds and Clemens off the list.

    He is just setting up some outrage for his upcoming unauthorized Mark Mcgwire bio.

  17. cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Umm…wow. Retroactively insert punishments on players for using steroids when said punishments didn’t exist at the time?

    (Extreme example alert!)This is like deciding…say…pickpockets should get their fingers cut off, the retroactively finding all the people who were pickpockets before this punishment was in place and cutting off their fingers to. IE, it’s fucking asinine.

    Secondly, why should McGwire get punished more than every single other player to ever use PEDs? Because you don’t like him personally?

    I think Jeff Pearlman has just shown himself to the biggest jackass who gets a paycheck for writing about sports.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      Secondly, why should McGwire get punished more than every single other player to ever use PEDs? Because you don’t like him personally?

      Works for Arod!

  18. cohnjusack - Aug 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    How typical irrationally angry people act.

    MOB: McGwire needs to admit he did steroids and apologize before we let him back in the game!

    MCGWIRE: I did steroids, and I apologize.

    MOB: Did you hear that? He admitted he did steroids! Ban him from the game forever!

  19. Kevin Gillman - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Who is Jeff Perlman?

  20. yahmule - Aug 8, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Say what you want about Perlman, but nobody can say he had his head in the sand while this was happening.

    • jwbiii - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:03 PM

      So you’re saying that he doesn’t have sand up his ass?

      I don’t even want to think about how you would come by that knowledge.

      • yahmule - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        I’m saying he has been pretty consistent in his views. Some people (not everybody) want to paint this picture about how everybody loved steroids during the McGwire/Sosa HR chase and then a bunch of hypocrites changed their minds. Total bullshit.

  21. Walk - Aug 8, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    The easiest way to avoid a mob with torches and pitchforks is to grab a torch or pitchfork yourself and join them.

  22. tripleg3 - Aug 8, 2013 at 10:30 PM

    OMG the media and reporters overhype steroids so much today. They act like steroids are like the end of the world. But really the players don’t really care if a player uses, they just want the MLB to do something about it. Cause really they can talk all they want about how they want to clean up the game but if they really wanted those players out they would stand up and not let them on the field. Just because you use steroids doesn’t mean your a horrible person and your gonna go to hell for using them. Remember you still have to work extremely hard to see results from steroids. I’m just saying the media is just trying to ruin these players lives and are trying to make them a villain.

  23. The Grand Occident - Aug 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Pearlman? The same lying Jew Pearlman that said Belichick hated Tebow?

    • yahmule - Aug 9, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      Somebody actually upvoted this asshole comment?

      • The Grand Occident - Aug 10, 2013 at 9:05 AM

        The truth hurts!

      • yahmule - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:44 PM

        Go slither back under a rock, shitbag.

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