One aspect of Mark McGwire’s tearful interview on MLB Network is a stumbling block to many – his view of the impact of steroids on his results.
The primary concern many media members seem to have with the Mark McGwire interview with Bob Costas live on MLB Network Monday night is that McGwire would not acknowledge using steroids to enhance his home run power. He stated his only reason for using over a multi-year period was for health purposes, to help recover from injury. Further, McGwire would not accept that steroid use positively affected his strength and his numbers.
Many seem to think McGwire overall did well by coming out. Yet, some are stuck on the point regarding what the slugger believes about the supposed non-impact on his results.
Let me offer another perspective. Why does it matter what McGwire believes? Does it matter if he is ill-informed or naïve or in denial or just plain wrong?
People wanted his admission. They wanted his apology. They surely got even more than they expected. After listening to an entire hour spent on the hot seat, McGwire not dodging any tough questions, does anyone question his sincerity?
“It’s the stupidest thing I ever did. It’s an illusion,” McGwire said regarding steroid use.
McGwire talked frankly about what he used and when, about his congressional testimony and that fear of prosecution was why it happened the way it did. He outlined the personal anguish. McGwire tearfully apologized and asked for a second chance.
Let the Hall of Fame voters decide for themselves whether to diminish McGwire’s accomplishments or any other baseball player from his era, as difficult as that task may be. They now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that McGwire used steroids.
If writers want to put into question the authenticity of his records, so be it. But that should be driven by a review of the numbers, not by what McGwire personally believes about the impact of steroids. I don’t see the relevancy.
McGwire’s stated reasons for coming forward are for himself and because of his employment as the Cardinals hitting coach. He specifically said it was not about the Hall of Fame. So, why didn’t he say enough on Monday to be allowed to assume his new job in peace?
A final thought. If McGwire firmly believes that steroids won’t help, is that a bad message to send to youth?