January 11, 2010
Continuing what is quickly becoming a Big League Stew winter tradition, Dave Brown is putting together a transcript of Monday's Mark McGwire interview on MLB Network.
But while DB busies himself with the rewind function of his DVR and we rub our hands together in anticipation, I thought I'd post a few thoughts on McGwire finally discussing his past with Bob Costas.
• McGwire finally did what most of us wanted him to do by admitting his steroid use and offering his apologies and regrets. I also give him a lot of credit for doing the interview live with no restrictions and for sitting in Costas' firing line for almost an entire hour.
Still, it's hard not to get hung up on McGwire's continued insistence that steroids only helped with his many injuries and didn't increase his "God-given ability" to hit baseballs a great distance. His stubborn refusal cast a cloud over the interview and it's the one big roadblock for us believing that McGwire fully understands the ramifications of what he did.
And even if his belief were true, the extending of his career through better chemistry was something that past home run hitters — think Harmon Killebrew — didn't have available to them. Shame on McGwire for not acknowledging that benefit.
• Costas did a mostly solid job and asked many of the questions we wanted him to, but in retrospect we both should've thought to ask about any ongoing health problems that may have been caused by his steroid use. Future health consequences are very real, but they have definitely been the most overlooked aspect of the steroids era in baseball. McGwire has a chance to rectify that mistake by talking of the effects and hopefully he won't pass it up in the future.
• McGwire said he used only a small amount of steroids and if that's true, they must have been the most potent steroids in the history of steroids. He was the size of Sabretooth in 1998.
• McGwire vehemently denied that he ever went into "exile" and said that he was just "enjoying his retirement" instead. And Victor Hugo went to Brussels just for the sprouts. (Yes, I just referenced an old French author and his time in exile away from Napoleon III for a laugh on a mainstream baseball blog. I have no idea why, but using Roman Polanski seemed unfair.)
• McGwire also says he hasn't followed baseball too closely, so it'll be interesting how much knowledge about opposing pitchers he'll be able to give his new charges.
• Oh, and Tony La Russa texted him a job offer to be the Cardinals hitting coach? Is that weird to anyone else?
• I'm sure that many will bash the Bash Bro for not being sincere with his tears and emotions, but I'm not sure you can classify it as anything other than pained and sincere because McGwire appeared hurt, confused, disappointed and angry all at the same time. The Steroids Era hasn't been easy for anyone to unravel or comprehend and if we're looking for a physical representation of the mess it's caused we can find it on the face of the man who's responsible for a lot of it.