For real, Mark.
The news that Mark McGwire was taking steroids is really news that never was, though it settles our nerves. In the futures market (if there is such a thing for truth), my money wasn’t on whether you used performance-enhancing drugs, but the question was whether you’d cop to it. But don’t say you did [steroids] for ten years and then claim that you did them “just to get healthy, dammit.” As Michael Corleone says: “You insult my intelligence, Carlo.”
That’s like having your book open in class during a test so that you can get the spellings right. Not impossible, but not entirely plausible. Health is not only a part of the game, it is the game. And at the major league level, there’s so little separation between the notion of optimal health and a discernible inflation in numbers. Because you are you. Totally…
No disrespect. Mark McGwire, clean, was one of the guys you just don’t pitch to in clutch situations. He’s essentially right—he could hit the ball out of the park, no question, without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs. But with them, what’s an opposing team to do? What gets me is maintaining that we [as fans] should just look away and divide the tens years somehow from the potentially inflated performance numbers. It really just is not possible.
Baseball, is a game of inches, percentages that otherwise dissect a team and send it packing for a decade-long rebuilding ear or, left intact, creates legends based on not-so-real results. This is the game of baseball where a .260 bating average sends you to retirement. Conversely, a .360 batting average puts you in the Hall of Fame, don’t go there with the it didn’t help mularkey. Just by the numbers, you’d have pitchers pitching around you.
It’s hard to digest comments like that. Baseball, being America’s past-time, is a sport where it’s conceivable that at one time every person in America and perhaps South America now, had a personal relationship with the sport having known someone who played or personally played themselves. These people know that the sport’s success depended on little things—one of which was truth. there is no more pure form of truth than the record of a Major League team over the course of a season—small things can blossom into wins and devolve into losses just as fast.
The lack of acknowledgement of that regard is a disconnect to the true fan.
You’d have been better off saying you’d do whatever you possibly could’ve done to be a success like Mike Schmidt of the Phillies said some time back reflecting on the so-called “Steroid Era”. Fortunately for him, he retired in the era before fitness and the “good drugs” completely invaded the sport, and quite regularly, the power hitter were honest to goodness fat guys like Greg Luzinski, Gorman Thomas or Cecil Fielder.
Don’t insult my intelligence, Mark. It’s kind of like Mike Tyson biting both of Evander’s ears then saying “I need to feed my kids.” What? (Boxing fans all knew Mike was off the edge mentally and his career would’ve survived had he only bitten Evander once, sad to say).
What’s most upsetting is that you seemed to be the most normal of the big guys. Jose Canseco is nuts and never took the game seriously. Sammy Sosa, first evidenced as off by the corked-bat, incident was proven this year with the skin-bleaching row, Jason Giambi was such a plain clear careerist, Barry Bonds seemed angry at the world, but you, you seemed level and serious about the lifting and all that. The whole ordeal just got out of hand, like the tale of a good guy gone wrong in a comic like Spiderman.
What’s so odd to me now is the realization that much of what we thought were facts throughout the 2000 decade are unwritten and it’s impossible to unwrite the memory of what I realized I personally couldn’t do: I can’t develop a tech company whose value is based on speculation and then sell it for a mint only to find out it’s worth nothing, I can’t transform a small power company into a regional, if not national financial institution with stellar financial gains year after year selling products that aren’t even truly understood only to have it be worthless just a year later, I can’t stage a lone breakaway in stage 17 of the 2006 tour de France only to later find out that this result should be erased from my memory, I cannot witness, and then desire, to be a home run record-holder in the Major League Baseball only to find out that it was perhaps make-pretend and any semblance of a true race only exists in the ephemeral.
All I can say is, how about you re-do your interview on the subject and we pretend you aren’t making excuses.