Why is it that these guys lie even when they try to tell the truth?
There is no way a pill or an injection helped with all those homeruns? Really Mark? Really? I believe that about as much as I believe he came up with that walking M.A.S.H. unit line all by himself. He did everything else right. He sniffled for the cameras, admitted to using steroids and HGH for virtually his entire career and he sounded genuinely sorry for the decisions that he made.
But when it came time to talk about his numbers, he went right into arrogant athlete mode. He was too proud to admit that at least some of his 583 career homeruns probably came from the extra strength he gained from using steroids. Instead he praised his hand eye coordination and talked about genetics and his god-given ability because even though he eventually had to come clean, he still refuses to let anyone diminish his accomplishments.
Just once I wish a professional ballplayer would be honest about the benefits of steroids. We all know they work. Everyone has seen the guy in the gym with muscles bulging in places muscles aren’t supposed to exist. Ask a bodybuilder or a professional wrestler or someone who runs track what steroids can do. That’s why they’re called performance-enhancers. Why can’t someone like McGwire or Barry Bonds just look into the camera and say, “Did they work? Have you seen my numbers? Do you know how much money I made? Hell yes steroids worked.”
At least then we’d be getting the whole truth.
Our moral outrage today shouldn’t be directed at McGwire because he used steroids. Honestly, who, aside from maybe Roger Maris’ family, has he really let down? American children? Trust me, my little league team wouldn’t recognize Mark McGwire if he were starting at first base for us. And me? I’m certainly not going to stop watching baseball because McGwire cheated and I grew up one of his biggest fans. We all knew steroids were prevalent back then. I accused at least three kids who hit puberty faster than me of being on the juice. So I think I can safely speak for all 23 year olds and say we aren’t shocked by McGwire’s revelations.
If anything, we should be upset that McGwire tried to pull a fast one on us. He wants to be recognized in a separate light than guys like Bonds or Roger Clemens so he came forward and copped to using. He admits making mistakes, but he still wants us to believe steroids didn’t help, which would be like Tiger Woods admitting that he slept with multiple women at once, but assuring us that he didn’t have any fun.
At its core, McGwire’s confession was no different than anyone else's. He was just fortunate to have a lot more time to come up with his story than Alex Rodriguez or Andy Pettitte had with theirs. He managed to tell us everything he wanted us to hear, which wasn’t quite the same as what we wanted to hear.
We wanted a glimpse of what the entire culture in baseball was like from someone not as slimy as Jose Canseco. But McGwire said he never talked about steroids with other players. We wanted him to tell us that steroids did help and maybe apologize to the guys who were ejected from the game because they didn’t want to inject themselves with steroids. Those are the guys we should feel sorry for. Instead, he just gave us a version of the same quote over and over.
"I wish I had never touched steroids."
But in the end, he never told us why.