Big Mac Finally Comes Clean
I did not see that one coming.
Mark McGwire finally admitted what we've all known for a very long time today, issuing a statement confirming his use of steroids at various times for the better part of a decade. It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, of course, but to hear it from the man himself, after so many years and so many replays of his Congressional testimony, is almost surreal.
So now we know for sure. Big Mac used steroids. Now, the more important question: do we care?I do wonder whether people will now forgive McGwire and sing his praises for the player he was in a dark era for the sport of baseball, or if they will continue to hold him up as the symbol of the steroid years, the man who refused to talk about the past in order to save his own hide. As for myself, I've written in the past about Big Mac and my feelings toward him, and I feel more indifferent to his steroid use all the time. More and more we've come to see the 90s were absolutely rife with the use of various forms of PEDs, and I frankly just can't bring myself to care about one individual, no matter how great his achievements.
I will say this for McGwire: his admission seems much less calculated than I expected. I thought there would be a full-court publicity press from his camp, issuing statements carefully crafted to try and get Mac off the hook while admitting to the least offensive possible permutation of steroid use. Instead, McGwire admits to not only long-term use, but use during his signature moment, the Great Home Run Chase of 1998.
Just as surprising, to me at least, is the timing of this statement. I would have expected McGwire to do this before the Hall of Fame vote last week, in an attempt to garner some positive feeling from the Hall voters and boost his vote total. But no, he waits until the week after, when not only is it too late to gain anything this year, but it's also the longest possible time from now until next year's vote. Either McGwire is being sincere about this and didn't try to exploit the timing at all, or he has just the worst publicists in the history of anything.
There will be plenty of time in the coming weeks (and months and possibly years as well), to hash, rehash, and finally make soup out of all the sordid details of the steroid era once again, from The Chase in '98 to Barry Bonds to Roger Clemens and A-Rod, but for now I'll say this: hearing McGwire finally admit to what we've all known for so long is a step in the right direction.
Now, let's see just how far down this road he's willing to travel.