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You Can't Have Your Cake and Eat It Too

by: Brian F. Logush

On Monday morning, Mark McGwire issued a statement admitting steroid use in his career, including the epic 1998 season. He expressed great remorse, released a few tears, and begged for forgiveness from anyone who associated with him.

Quick poll: raise your hand if this declaration surprised you. Anyone?

Yeah, that's about right.

I have heard heated arguments from both side of the McGwire aisle for the past two days, solid. And to be honest, it's exhausting.

Those who accept his apology and are ready to move on see it this way: Mark McGwire is a flawed individual, like everyone else on this planet. We've been waiting for something from the long-ball colossus ever since the most awkward congressional testimony in the history of man five years ago. And admit it he did. Well, that part's done. Questions will still be asked, of that no one denies. But the fervor will die down in due time. Alex Rodriguez admitted using banned substances, and he plays in New York for God's sake. How many times did that come up after, oh I don't know... June? It certainly didn't come up during the World Series. The best thing to do with McGwire is to let him go and do his job.

Then there are people who have a personal vendetta against McGwire. The "morals police". They screamed for blood ever since that bottle of andro was discovered in his locker in '98. They don't care that andro was a legal supplement, at the time, under the league's anti-drug policy. He was breaking rules that weren't actually there. They saw his testimony in 2005 and started chastising him immediately. Mark McGwire is to be banned from baseball, never to be allowed back into the game in any aspect, let alone into the sacred Hall of Fame. These people want to see McGwire tied to one of the pillars of Keiner Plaza and given a whipping that would make Kunta Kinte wince. And they would stand there and taunt him, asking him if the steroids block the pain. They expect more. Are you not entertained? Are you NOT entertained?

Now, my position on this is irrelevant. If you must know (and I know you really don't), I belong to the school that believes he should be allowed to coach and do his job to the best of his ability. I don't think it's right to kick him out of the game of baseball? Asterisk by his 70 home run season? Fine. Taking down the section of I-70 named after him? Absolutely.

But my take is more personal than professional. That magical season where he sent baseball after baseball into orbit blew my twelve-year old mind. The countdown on the front page of the Post-Dispatch. ESPN breaking away from Spurs-Lakers to show every at-bat as he neared the record. The band-aid on the sign in dead-center that seemed to be 700 feet away from the plate.

He was my generation's Babe Ruth. This hulking figure who could hit the ball farther in one swing than Delino DeShields could in three. There was no denying the awesomeness of his power. We all had posters of him in our rooms, the perfect pose of that swing that gave all pitchers chills. I remember September 8, 1998 vividly. Having my dad bomb down Lindbergh after soccer practice so we could see the inevitable dinger. Standing no more than five feet from the TV as he hit the most important home run in baseball history. I am sure I wouldn't have been happier if we won the World Series.

So that's it. Hurricane Andro has passed, and the organization is ready to start Winter Warm-Up, and then the migration down to Jupiter, where you will find members of the bullpen playing catch in the cool morning air.

Nothing will change after this. Roger Maris won't be getting his record back. Big Mac Land will still exist. McGwire won't be getting voted into the Hall of Fame by the BBWAA.

But to be honest, I think McGwire would trade never going into the Hall for getting all of the guilt and disgust off his back. He just wants to move on with his life and begin hitting coach duties.

But if Skip Schumaker hits .340 with 25 HRs and 85 RBIs in 2010, I'm joining the Keiner group.


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Cardinals Mix blog featured writers LS Murphy,Brian F. Logush
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