Ok folks, so Mark McGwire finally admits he used steroids. No! You don't say, Mac? I mean, did this come as a shocker to anyone? Big Mac admitting he used steroids is like Snoop Dog admitting he smoked pot. Good grief!
The question is-- why finally now? Why not five years ago when he was supposed to?
There are two logical suspicions:
- He's the new hitting coach of the St. Louis Cardinals and the media circus around him would have been to much for the team to bear. So why not get it out of the way now so that by spring training it becomes old news and the team can concentrate on playing baseball.
- Making the Hall of Fame means a lot to McGwire and so far in his four years of eligibility he's posted (23.5%, 23.6%, 21.9% and 23.7% of the vote) respectively and those numbers don't even come close to the 75% required to get elected. So maybe, Mac thinks that by finally coming forth with the truth those numbers can start slowly shifting upwards. Um, I don't think so, but let's wait and see.
My guess is the Cardinals urged him to finally get it off his chest so it won't be a distraction come spring training and the regular season. And as I stated in a post eons ago, the media is salivating for some juicy dirt (pardon the pun) on Albert Pujols. Having a tarnished McGwire working with their biggest prize is not going to help the cause. So having a confessed and repentant McGwire (with a halo over his head) is good for Pujols. I mean, Pujols has said over and over again that he has never touched the stuff. The last thing he wants to do is to have to answer questions about his scandal-stained hitting coach.
My question is-- why would the Cardinals hire Big Mac in the first place? Why open yourself up to all the drama? During Big Mac's hiatus (2002-2009) the Cardinals won 1 World Series (2006), 2 pennants (2004, 2006), played in 4 NLCS (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006) and 5 NLDS (2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2009). In other words, since McGwire retired in 2001 the Cardinals have been one of the most successful teams in the majors, so its not like they desperately missed him. With all that success it seems to me like their prior hitting coaches were doing a pretty good job.
Anyway, it is what it is. Will McGwire's admission finally get the monkey of his back? Yes. Will it get him into the Hall of Fame? I don't think so.
But there is good news for Big Mac as far as the Hall of Fame snubbing is concerned-- pretty soon McGwire is going to have company. As the old saying goes, misery loves company. So in 2011 he's joined by Rafael Palmeiro and in 2013, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Roger Clemens will round out the "Snub Club".
Colored cartoon image courtesy of John Cole/The Times-Tribune
Black/white image courtesy of Mike Luckovich/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com