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Mark McGwire on baseball’s steroid era — ’I wish I was never a part of it’

Mike Oz
Big League Stew

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They say as a man gets older, he gains perspective and regrets some of the mistakes he made in his younger years. Today, Mark McGwire might — might — be that man.

McGwire is 49 now and the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He's more than twice the age he was when he won Rookie of the Year in 1987, and he's 15 years removed from hitting those historic 70 home runs in 1998.

The day the Biogenesis suspensions hit, McGwire found himself returning to St. Louis. It was there he hit all those home runs for the Cardinals and where, ultimately, his career was marred by performance-enhancing drugs suspicions. It wasn't until 2010 that he finally admitted using steroids and took his spot on baseball's Mount Rushmore of drug users.

Maybe being totally earnest — or maybe sensing an opportunity to shed more of his steroid baggage — McGwire spoke out about the steroid era Monday, telling ESPN he wished he had done things differently.

"I wish I was never a part of it. Just get rid of it. If it's better to have bigger suspensions, then they're going to have to change it ...

"I wish there were things in place earlier. They were put in in 2003 I think. I just really hope and pray that this is the end of it. Everybody, especially the players, don't want any more part of it, and I hope this is the end of it."

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McGwire will most likely never make the Hall of Fame and the steroid taint on his career will exclude him from growing into a beloved elder statesman of the game. He can work in baseball, as a hitting coach, but being linked to PEDs — unless something drastic changes — will always follow him around and limit where he can go. He'll always be, to many people, a cheater.

"It's not worth it at all," he told ESPN, now far more aware of the consequences of his actions than he was when he was a Bash Brother.

"It doesn't matter what I think; I think it matters what the players think, and from what I hear every day in the clubhouse, they're just happy it's coming to an end," McGwire said. "They're happy that Major League Baseball is taking care of it and we can move forward. Hopefully this will be the end of it."

You have to admit, it all sounds a bit odd. Mark McGwire, PED opponent. It's like Walter White speaking out against meth. But maybe this Mark McGwire, the 2013 version, the older and wiser version, truly does have regrets.

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