Sounding off on Professional Sports

Hello, and thanks for reading again.  My new series of posts, having taken a long while off, will focus more on commentary of professional sports, particularly baseball, but will also offer more polemic pieces designed to get people really thinking about significant issues in the sports world.  So, here goes:

Yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals announced that Tony LaRussa would return as manager and that Mark McGwire would become the Cardinals hitting coach.  This is significant because McGwire, one of the most beloved former Cardinals of all time, has been much maligned since his testimony, or lack there of, before Congress during Congress’s investigation of steroids and performance enhancing drugs in professional sports. 

There are several issues that are brought to the forefront with Big Mac finally coming out of his self-imposed exile from the baseball world.  Did McGwire cheat in his past life as a baseball superstar?  Does his lack of candor before Congress make him a liar and leave too many questions about his use of steroids, etc.?  It seems that everyone, specifically the sports writers, think they are judge, jury and executioner.  The self righteousness that wafts from such sports columnists as Jeff Gordon and Bryan Burwell, each of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is almost as appalling as any of the unproven accusations against Mark McGwire.  McGwire admitted his use of “Andro” which at the time was specifically not banned by MLB.  Does that make him a cheater?  The plain answer is no.  The use of a supplement which is not banned by the sports league that one participates in is clearly not cheating. 

Oh, but everyone’s favorite “N.A.R.C.” or drug informant, Jose Cansceco says that McGwire cheated by using all kinds of steroids in his hey day with the Oakland Athletics.  One has to wonder about these cheaters themselves who wish to “out” all of their former teammates.  I think it is appalling.  But Burwell et al want their readers to believe that McGwire needs to “come clean” about his alleged steroid use or we cannot take him seriously as a hitting coach.  WRONG!  McGwire’s job is to make the St. Louis Cardinals a better hitting team, period.  And all of the self-righteous judging by these sports writers does nothing to change my mind about this issue. 

McGwire chose not to lie before Congress, unlike Samy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro who held their right hand up and made bold faced lies.  This was the smart and legal perogative of anyone under investigation by a legal body such as Congress.  I don’t blame Big Mac for this and I look forward to seeing him a Cardinals uniform again, once again making all of the Cardinals around him better players.


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