'Roid Rage: Mark McGwire - Yawn - Apologizes to Baseball
During the 1998 Major League Baseball season I went to Houston a couple times as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to cover the magical home-run chase between the St. Louis Cardinals' Mark McGwire and the Chicago Cubs' Sammy Sosa. Baseball bored me back then, but I remember how life would pause during their respective at-bats.
Who would get to 60 first? Who would break Roger Maris' record first? Would one of them flirt with 70? It was riveting stuff. It yanked baseball back onto sports' front burner. It was disingenuous.
And I'd love to see it all over again. You?
McGwire's tearful admission yesterday that - surprise - he used steroids to help him win that transcendant home run derby was a reminder to me not of how he tainted the sport, but rather propped it up.
Steroids weren't against baseball's rules back then. And the more that comes out - the more Jose Canseco is proven credible - it seems more players than not were juicing. It was an unprecedented and quirky playing field, but in a way it was also an even one.
Name a Texas Rangers' slugger from the '90s and chances are he used steroids. Roger Clemens. Barry Bonds. Alex Rodriguez. Everybody was using and everybody else knew. So please, commissioner Bud Selig, stop accepting these apologies. You, my friend, are culpable in all this.
McGwire should be commended for coming clean, and he should also be in the Hall of Fame. In retrospect, he was merely the most prolific hitter in baseball's most intriguing, fabricated era. Fake boobs aren't authentic, but they're still fun to watch. Right?
Plano anti-steroid champion Don Hooton isn't going to like this, but to me steroids are like alcohol. Extremely dangerous and harmful to immature, uneducated teens who can't handle them, but useful and productive in the hands of responsible adults. Kinda like Mark Cuban's angle, I guess.
In the end, aren't sports merely entertainment? If next summer there's a race to 500 strikeouts by two 'roided-up pitchers, I'll again be fixated. You?