Mark McGwire finally took the big step that could truly set him on the path to some sort of redemption. He admitted using steroids during his playing career. “I wish I had never touched steroids, it was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era.”
I feel as though this is a heartfelt apology and he is really contrite about his actions. I haven’t felt that from any of the other players who have been in his situation. McGwire though, has shunned publicity and the press since retiring. He’s lived quietly and presumably in shame. It’s been kinda sad. He was at the the top of the world and it all crumbled. He never lashed out at the press, and he never made lame excuses. I can understand denial. Someone who knows that they did something wrong and feel badly for it is someone who is going to deny it. It’s the guy who says, “Yeah, I guess I did that. My cousin injected me with some stuff. Must’ve been bad stuff.” that worries me. That’s an affront to the public. Someone like that must think we’re all stupid. McGwire didn’t do that. He also didn’t write a book and make his confession and apology public at 24.95 a pop like some people have done in an attempt to make right their wrongs.
Naturally McGwire did try to seperate his performance from his drug-use. “I’m sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids,” McGwire said. “I had good years when I didn’t take any, and I had bad years when I didn’t take any. I had good years when I took steroids, and I had bad years when I took steroids. But no matter what, I shouldn’t have done it and for that I’m truly sorry.” I wish it was that easy and we could be like “Well he must’ve been pretty great if he had good years without steroids” or “Steroids must not have produced his good years if he had bad years without them.” but of course it’s not that simple. We won’t ever know what a steroid-free McGwire statline would’ve looked like and that’s his fault. Any speculation would be ridiculous, except the type of speculation which says his home-run totals would have been diminished. You want me to think steroids don’t affect HR totals? Then explain the HR totals during the steroid era. Coincidence? I think not.