What, exactly, are we supposed to do with this information?
Since hearing all about this yesterday I've gone back and forth on my thoughts. Right away it was the "no duh" reaction, next it was the "well, was it really classified as illegal at that time?" reaction, followed by the "well, good for him for coming out and admitting it" reaction and then, this morning, to the "why is he doing this now" reaction. Now it's the "why is McGwire apologizing for something that was just as much the fault of the joke of a drug policy MLB employed as much as it's his own fault" reaction.
It's sort of like I went through the five stages of grief, except it was the five stages of whatever the word is for not being surprised.
The summer that Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa belted it out in an effort to break Roger Maris's's single-season home run record I was 17-going-on-18 and, I have to be honest, I didn't really care whether those two thick slabs of meat were juicing or not. I was caught up in the biggest power display that side of Bonds' 73, it was something amazing and it had been building steadily since the strike-shortened '94 season. Albert Belle cranked 50 in '95, McGwire upped the ante in '96 with 52, he beat Ken Griffey Jr. by a narrow margin by blasting 58 in '97, and then literally blew the record away with 70 during the Summer of Swat.
It was an incredible era for a lot of guys. By comparison, before Belle's 50 in '95 only Cecil Fielder's 51 and George Foster's 52 topped that going back to 1977. But every summer from the strike through '98 there was somebody chasing Maris' record. America was caught up in the spectacle and, at the time, I was no different.
What I'm trying to say is that there is more than enough blame to go around. Personally, I have this innate desire to put things in order and to rank them, so that in my mind I can quantify those things. In this case there is no heirarchy for blame. Major League Baseball, it's owners, the players who juiced, the players who didn't, the fans who accepted that it was happening...it was all one big, major league backwards clusterf**k.
And we all know that's exactly what it was.
So yeah, good for McGwire for stepping up to the proverbial dish. He obviously feels bad, for whatever reason. I give him credit for sitting in front of Bob Costas on live television, because that couldn't have been easy. There's a reason his contemporaries haven't done it.
But...but what the hell? He only goes halfway there, because he denies that he took steroids for any other benefit other than recovery. Dear Mark: We all knew you were juicing in '98, and it was obvious that your results were due in no small part to said juice. Nobody buys the "recovery" argument. Love, Jesse.
Also ignored: the fact that healing faster is a benefit. It's almost like McGwire admitted he used PED's, but he thinks he wasn't really cheating. Yes, I know, MLB's drug policy was a joke, but it was still cheating. Eating yellow snow isnt against the law, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea.
In the end I'm still of more than one mind about all this. A small part of me is glad for McGwire that he's at least come this far, part of me is a little pissed off because he's still lying (to himself, and therefore to everyone else)...but the biggest part of me just doesn't care. I know he juiced, I know lots of guys did, and I'm over it. I can't change the past, but we can still change the future. The good news is that baseball's drug policy is getting better, and that's a start. I was happy with that two days ago, and in spite of Big Mac's confession, I'm still happy with it now.
Now...how many days do I have to wait until I can play The Show '10 on my PlayStation?