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We’ve all had times in our lives when we received shocking news. You know the kind I am talking about. Like the time you found out that were either being hired or fired. Or maybe when you discovered that you were getting a tax refund or perhaps the moment came when the doctor said the word “twins.”
All of these times brought about a different range of emotions. I would venture to say that when the news came down that you probably remember where you were and maybe even what the weather was.
I heard some pretty stunning news early last week involving a former baseball player.
His name is Mark McGwire. The former Oakland Athletic and St. Louis Cardinal admitted last week that he was taking steroids while he was playing the game.
I thought he had just really worked hard in the off-season to make himself look like the red-headed version of the Incredible Hulk. You mean to tell me that he was cheating. I am stunned.
Well, actually I am anything but stunned. Like so many others during the late ’90s, McGwire was on the juice. Everyone knew it then and I can’t imagine that many people are surprised to hear him finally admit to it. I would dare say that if you can honestly look back and think he was not using something to hit 500-foot home runs, then you probably also think that you can jump into a swimming pool without getting wet.
What makes the admission so upsetting is thinking about how his use of an illegal substance helped change the baseball record book. It is disappointing that guys like McGwire and Sammy Sosa – who were such fun-loving characters and embraced the attention that came their way – were cheaters. And it is disappointing that we overlooked the fact that both of them were cheating.
As baseball fans – and even non-baseball fans – got wrapped up in the history and drama of the home run chase, either we did not want to admit that baseball had an underlying problem or we just did not care. I hate to say it, but I think it may have been the latter.
One thing McGwire said last week that made me somewhat upset was the fact that he said he did not believe that steroids were helping him hit home runs. Really? You cannot be serious, Mark. You were practically hitting baseballs into orbit. You honestly think that the steroids had nothing to do with that? Not only is that just wrong, it might also be delusional.
Now what? What do we do with Big Mac and his records and his legacy? Does he go into the Hall of Fame? Is their an asterisk beside his name?
When the dust settles, I think ultimately McGwire and others will get in the Hall of Fame. It may take a while, but eventually I think voters and fans will forget about the steroids and the admissions and just look at the numbers.
The travesty is that McGwire and Sosa, and even Barry Bonds, were each Hall of Fame worthy without having to cheat.