Tuesday, January 12, 2010

McGwire Admits to Using Steroids

In an interview with Bob Costas on The MLB Network, Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids during his MLB career.

McGwire admits he first took steroids between the 1989 and 1990 seasons but didn't start using on a regular basis until prior to the 1994 season. He would enjoy his most productive seasons between 1995 and 1999. Of course, McGwire hit a then record 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998.

Big Red revealed that the reason he didn't testify before Congress in 2005 was because he wasn't granted immunity and feared he would be prosecuted. So he declined to answer questions rather than answer dishonestly.

McGwire asserted he only used steroids to enable him to bounce back from injuries. Costas and the panel at The MLB Network were skeptical of McGwire's claims that he would have enjoyed the same level of production without ever taking steroids.

Of course, during McGwire's playing days there were no prohibitions to using steroids. But the federal government has stuck its hand into the pot and they need all the TV exposure they can get.

Before conducting the interview with Costas, McGwire phoned various members of his family, the widow of Roger Maris and Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. McGwire was named the Cardinals new hitting coach last October.

Given how reticent McGwire is I'm surprised he agreed to an interview with Costas. But if he hadn't it would be all the sports media would have asked about. So McGwire was left with no other choice.

Only time will tell if McGwire will be accepted back in the fold. Not by the players so much but by his fans and the baseball writers. McGwire has never received more than 25% of of the Hall of Fame ballot. Baseball writers like Peter Gammons, Tom Verducci and Ken Rosenthal are no more likely to vote for him now as they did last year and the year before. McGwire will probably never reach Cooperstown. But he could make for a great hitting coach and that ultimately could be more rewarding for him if he's given a chance.

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