Monday, January 11, 2010

Non-Revelation of the Day

Mark McGwire finally admitted today that he used steroids throughout his baseball career, including the 1998 season when he hit 70 home runs. I think this qualifies as the non-shock of the century, but at least it's out in the open now. Interestingly, McGwire apparently wanted to come clean in 2005 when he was called in front of Congress, but was denied immunity. That denial led to McGwire's infamous declaration that he did not "want to talk about the past" at the steroid hearings that amounted to a defacto admission of steroid use and invocation of his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The interesting part of this story, however, is what McGwire is saying about his steroid use. McGwire's excuse echos what Andy Pettitte told reporters when he came clean about steroids-- that he used it to heal from injury and not to increase his power output. McGwire went so far today as to deny that steroids really helped him hit more home runs, but instead attributed it to his God given gift to hit the long ball.

While McGwire is a talented hitter and steroids can't help hand-eye coordination, its is absurd for McGwire to claim that he only used steroids to recover from injuries and not to hit home runs. McGwire hit a home run every 10.6 at bats-- better than anyone in history. Just looking at the evolution of McGwire's body over his career combined with the accelerated rate at which McGwire hit home runs at the time in his career where he should have been on the decline seemingly defeats McGwire's argument. Also, the rumors about McGwire that have been circulating are much more vicious than his story. It's been alleged that McGwire used the kinds of steroids that body builders used-- testosterone, drugs used by horses-- not stuff to simply heal. It's hard to dismiss these rumors given the accuracy of the previous rumors swirling around McGwire.

It's great McGwire came clean. There's a good argument he should be in the Hall of Fame despite his indiscretions. But I've got a feeling he's coming half-way clean in an attempt to salvage his image. The only person who knows for sure is Big Mac, but if he still isn't telling the full story or is in denial about the implications of what he did then its unfortunate for McGwire and baseball fans everywhere.

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