Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thoughts On Mark McGwire's Mea Culpa

Seeing Mark McGwire’s mea culpa with Bob Costas, I must confess to mixed emotions. On one hand, I do think it is good he has admitted to his use of steroids and Human Growth Hormone, and sincerely apologized for it. On the other, I’m not accepting of his reasons for using the performance enhancing substances. Nor do I buy his notion they were more about mind over matter. It’s clear McGwire’s career almost ended because of injury. Then, a much bulked up McGwire, had five of the greatest seasons in baseball history. It was like magic. That doesn’t happen without performance enhancing substances.
While they can’t make a bad hitter a good one, it’s clear performance enhancing substances do help injured players get healthy, and make top hitters fly off the charts in terms of power.
We saw it with McGwire and Barry Bonds - and many other hitters during the so-called steroids era.
I haven’t voted for McGwire for the Hall of Fame to this point. I am not sure what kind of bearing his admission will have on my voting in the future. It won’t hurt the possibility I will vote for him, but I’m not sure it will help, either. I don’t have to make that decision for nearly another year. Best to see how it plays out before making any definitive decisions.

Random Thoughts

- Has to be just a matter of time until Richard Hamilton or Tayshaun Prince - or perhaps both - are traded.

- Charles Woodson has been a wonder for the Packers, not only this season, but since he signed with Green Bay at a time when his career appeared to be on the downside. Good for him for receiving the AP Defensive Player of the Year award. It is deserved based on his regular season. But did he ever get scorched on wild card weekend by Kurt Warner and the Cardinals. The timing of the announcement wasn’t necessarily the best in that regard.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

I watched the backlash from his admission on ESPN yesterday and I just found it amusing to watch the commentary. First of all there was John Kruk with his comments about how he was natural through his career and maybe he could have been a superstar like Big Mac had he been on "the sauce". Kruk made 3 all-star teams with a diet/training regimen of eating hot dogs and drinking beer. Perhaps he would be a perenial all-star had he picked up a weight and a protein shake every now and then. If we're going to use the term cheater, does it matter who is cheated? Maybe Kruk didn't cheat the game, but is that any better than the fact that he cheated himself of taking advantage of his natural abilities? Then Buster Olney had the audacity to make the claim that he felt bad for guys like Wally Joyner who he claimed was a "much better" player when they were younger. I mean come on, Wally Joyner was never in McGwire's league as far as talent goes. McGwire hit 49 home runs as skinny rookie and Joyner's highest total ever was 37 and he never came close to that number again. Also, I dont recall Joyner ever winning a world series title either. I swear I'm going to rip out all of my hair if I hear another one of these guys talk about how Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron didnt use steroids. Well, neither one of these guys or any of the ball players in their time had access to weights, nutrition, supplementation, technology, the tightly wound ball, miniature ballparks, wood composite bats, etc. THE GAME IS NOT THE SAME AS IT WAS BACK THEN. Steroids have played a role but these other factors make a major difference as well. Guys like Gayle Sayers didnt compete against 250lbs linebacker who run 4.4 forties like LT does today, and that doesnt diminish what he was able to accomplish oes it? If you were to bring back the same player, with the same skills, same training of their time into today's game against these freaks, would they have the same results? NOPE, but that doesnt diminish the accomplishments of yesterday, it just means that their accomplishments were great for that time period. Is today's NASCAR drivers less than those of yesterday because they have machines that perform better? Is Tiger Woods no where close to Jack Nicholas or Arnold Palmer because he has the advantage of technology and is obviously a greater physical specimen? Baseball people need to get over their hallowed, beloved statistics and evaluate how the players compare in their current times. McGwire played in "the steroid era" and in that era he was one of the top homerun hitters that walked the earth during that time, period. I watched his interview with Bob Costas and this guy was almost in tears over the fact that he took steroids (which increased his ability to play more and train harder) and because of this there is debate whether he should be in the hall of fame, and then their is Michael Irvin who is found in a hotel room with cocaine and hookers and this guy is a first ballot hall of famer. How can anyone debate that McGwire "cheated" the game and Irvin didn't? This debate is ridiculous

5:10 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would give you my opinion to never vote for McGuire for the Hall of Fame ... period!

I blame Selig for his Ostridge 'head in the sand' for this nonsense to crank up the fledgling game.

It ruined the statistical integrity of the game.

Not only is he dishonest but now gives us this crap about how it didn't really help his production.

My god, how stupid does he think the baseball purists are?

7:34 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Pat,

There is no going back to erase the past. And we all have to live and pay for the mistakes we made. I have mine, you have yours (an assumption I making - please don't confess it though - and not on network TV sobbing falsely to gain public relations gold stars) - and McGuire and a couple hundred - maybe more big league players made theirs.

Time passes and we can't go back.

But how the sam hell do you move forward?

Steroids wrecked baseball by destroying all of its integrity - not just the ability to write a row of statistics beside their name. This is what the critics of the 1890s worried about when players started getting paid.

Please vote Pete Charlie Hustle Rose in before you ever consider McGuire, Sosa, Bonds, A-Rod, I-Rod, or any other nim-Rod in.

Rose was the definition of a real ballplayer in the 70s.

But who knows - Rose wants in the HoF so bad he may see McGuires confession - and go confess to doing roids himself - the sports world has taken some crazier turns.

Meanwhile Tiger Woods is adrift on his Yacht in full orgy mode.

Role models. Right.

7:35 AM 
Blogger Core Contrarian said...

Pat,

Why can't we ever just get an apology without qualifications?

Instead we get:

*I wish I never played in the steroid era. Poor me.

*I did not do it to play better.

*It didn't help me anyway.

Geez.

You can do what you want with your Hall ballot but knowing you I would be surprised if you ever vote for him.

8:26 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Funny post. I agree with the tone it, if not all the substance. John Kruk was a classic example of how hitters are born, not made. But there is little doubt that when player has that ability, PEDs really are a great benefit to production.
Caputo

11:07 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Couldn't agree with you more about Bud Selig. And here is welcoming back McGwire with open arms...
Caputo

11:08 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I am totally with you on Rose. People don't like him. He is rogue character. And he did bet on baseball and lie about it. No doubt. But come on - he had more hits than any player in the history of the game. He did nothing wrong while accomplishing that feat. He didn't cheat like these steriod guys.
Caputo

11:10 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Core Contrarian,
Yeah. What was with the tears? Woe is me. At times, it was like he was blaming others rather than apologizing.
Caputo

11:11 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the reason that Selig is welcoming him back is because he is trying to cover his butt.

He's the commissioner. He had an obligation to uphold the integrity of the game.

He failed and dramatically! He should have been fired years ago.

But he represents the owners who lined their pockets due to the exiting homers and offense as a result of the steroids that built muscle bulk and increased play times due to injury-repair.

All should be ashamed.

11:41 AM 
Blogger William said...

Pat,

The thing that struck me as odd about this story when it broke wasn't the steroid admission, no one should be surprised by the fact that McGwire was juicing. I was shocked that a team would actually hire McGwire as a hitting coach. At his peak he was averaging something like 1 homer in every 7 at-bats, but in my opinion he had one of the worst swings in baseball. If it weren't for his unbelievable hand-eye coordination he never would have amounted to anything at the major league level. He succeeded in spite of his technique, not because of it, and he's the last guy I would hire to teach others how to swing a bat.

11:52 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat,

I'm sorry but I dont think the word "integrity" is synonymous with baseball. Is this not the sport where a team fixed the 1919 world series? What about the pitchers in the HOF that threw "junk balls" are they not cheaters too? How do you quanitfy the effect amphetamines had on the success of players throughout the years? Should pitchers who have Tommy John surgery not be allowed into the HOF either as players 100 years ago didn't have this advantage? Ken Caminiti was the juicer of all juicers and this guy did not come close to McGwire's #'s. I think this debate is just ridiculous. This guy played in an era where everyone did this and he was the most productive of them all. What does that tell you? He's far superior. My point is this: 1.) I'm sick and tired of people trying to judge the accomplishments of today vs. those of yesterday as it really is not apples to apples (steroids or no steroids) as so many other factors have changed, and 2) How do you call someone a cheater, when they are taking a substance that allows them to train like an animal. To me a cheater is someone who takes a shortcut, and what these substances allow you to do is train in a way that is not normally humanly possible. How is that a cheater to be a workout animal? Even if you disagree with me about my definition of cheating, you have to agree with this; in an era where so many players did use steroids, he was one of the most elite performers of them all. How are you one of the best players of your era and not considered to be a hall of famer? Should no one from this era be in the hall of fame, or should all the guys with mediocre stats gain admission because "at least they were clean".

lil rob

PS Pete Rose bet on baseball games that he played and managed in (which i'm sure at some point affected the outcome in one way or another) and you're going to tell me thats less of a sin than a man putting a substance in his body that makes him work his ass off to perform better and win games. no comparison....

1:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
There is an obvious double standard here between McGwire and others. Selig's comments when McGwire was hired as hitting coach were a little bit too glowing under the circumstances.
Caputo

11:22 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

William,
Supposedly he is this great hitting instructor who has worked tirelessly with Matt Holliday and others during the off season. But I agree, does send out a weird message.
Caputo

11:24 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Lll Rob,
McGwire's career was basically done. Then, out of the blue, he has five of the greatest seasons ever. Oh, and he didn't use the PED to enhance performance. Give me a break. But I agree with you about this: There were a lot of players who used PEDs and nothing is said about them. A lot. By the way, Pete Rose didn't bet on baseball when he was playing.
Caputo

11:27 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Pete Rose for his tenacity and his love of competition.

He could flat out hit.

But he was kinda stupid ...

I would vote him into the HOF because he was just a significant player in baseball and excuse his stupidity.

5:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Anonymous,
Take Pete Rose out of the baseball world and he wasn't too bright. Some people didn't like him. But I must say, he was a tremendous player.
Caputo

11:47 AM 

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