Let's be honest, I don't think anyone is surprised by Mark McGwire's admission of steroid use. It's not a shocker - it didn't need to be said - it was just known. But, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about what I think this really means and break out a few things that McGwire said.
First: "This has nothing to do with the Hall of Fame," he said. "This has to do with me coming clean, getting it off my chest, and five years that I've held this in."
I do believe that he has had this monkey on his back since 2005, when he said he wanted to tell the truth at the hearings. I do believe this is a burden he's carried with him that has worn on him daily. It's hard to imagine keeping something of such importance for so long from everyone around him, his wife, his parents, his son – not just baseball fans and the general public.
I believe his "tearful" admission and discussions on the issue were heartfelt. But, that doesn't make it right, or forgivable.
Now, here's where I diverge from the "poor McGwire" stance.
McGwire waited too long, he's past the point of no return. While fans and the media may admire his admission, the issue will linger much longer for him than for others like Andy Pettitte or A-Rod.
Second: "There's no way a pill or an injection will give you hand-eye coordination or the ability or the great mind that I've had as a baseball player," he said. "I was always the last one to leave. I was always hitting by myself. I took care of myself."
My interpretation of this makes me think that he's just fooling himself. Sure seems like he's sold himself on the idea that his talent was God-given and steroids didn't taint that. But, the real truth is steroids have tainted his "hard work." It's just a fact, God-given talent or not.
"My first hit as a Little Leaguer was a home run. I mean, they still talk about the home runs I hit in high school, in Legion ball. I led the nation in home runs in college, and then all the way up to my rookie year, 49 home runs."
NCAA home run leader and as the 1987 AL Rookie of the Year – it's true, but it doesn't matter, it's still all tainted.
Third: "I did this for health purposes. There's no way I did this for any type of strength purposes," he said. And, "getting paid a lot of money to try to stay up to that level."
There are several players out there that have been injured that don't use steroids. There are also plenty of players that perform and get paid millions of dollars without steroids. This I'm just not buying. Sure, maybe it was in a different "era" or got bad advice, but it still doesn't make it right.
So overall, where do I stand? I think McGwire is entering a new era of his own, one without steroids. Hopefully he can put this behind him and show his players how hard he works and build respect as the hitting coach. Whether his statement was contrived or not, he has a new chance to prove his true God-given talents. Let's just see what he does with it.
In the meantime, he said it best –
"I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids.
I had good years when I didn't take any, and I had bad years when I didn't take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn't have done it and for that I'm truly sorry."
Let's just move on already.