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Dear Mark McGwire,
I would just like to say that I feel sorry for you. I felt sorry when you tried to hide behind your microphone during the 2005 hearings. Now, I feel sorry that even when you try to admit to your wrongdoings, you are still in denial. We already knew you took steroids, but thanks for coming clean. However, if you can’t admit to yourself that the steroids made your career what it was and prolonged it by a good three years, then you are cheating yourself and us from the truth. In the famous words of the Monday Night Countdown hosts, “C’mon man!”
First, you say that you only took steroids to keep your body from “breaking down,” which may or may not be true, but to think it didn’t have an effect on your performance? Please don’t make “my body was breaking down at the time” the new “I’m not here to talk about the past.” It’s too painful for us to watch.
When asked by Bob Costas on whether you could hit 70 home runs without steroids, you replied:
“Absolutely. I was given this gift by the man upstairs. My track record as far as hitting home runs, my first at bat in Little Legaue was a home run, they still talk about the home runs in high school, they still talk about the home runs in legion, they still talk about the home runs I hit in college, I led the nation in home runs. They still talk about the home runs I hit in the minor leagues.”
Really? Do you really believe that steroids had nothing to do with your increase in power after you “started to break down in 1993?” I find it hard to believe that someone who played 74 games combined from 1993-94 miraculously went on to hit 345 home runs in his remaining seven seasons (that’s 49 home runs per season by the way) and claim that steroids had nothing to do with the increase in power. Before the injuries (and steady steroid use) you averaged 36 per season.
It’s time to cut the act. You can’t possibly expect us to believe that you don’t remember what steroids you took, or that you never talked about it with teammates. You’re not a bad guy and we want to like you, yet no one is buying into your tell-all interview. We bought A-Rod’s. We bought Pettitte’s and Giambi’s, but why not yours? Maybe because you are still in denial and leave more questions to be answered.
We get it. You’re not great in the public’s eye, but if you just suck it up for one more day and hold a big press conference where you hold no information back, the public might be ready to let it go. You’re the only one to blame for your mistake. It wasn’t Jose Canseco’s fault or the era’s fault. It’s not the league’s or the owners’ or Bud Selig’s fault. It’s yours and you need to own up to it.
And for your sake, Mr. McGwire, I hope this isn’t some ploy to gain votes for the Hall of Fame because there is no way you deserve to become immortalized. Your career was built on the home run, the same statistic that has been jeopardized by this performance-enhancing drug.
We know you have great hand/eye coordination. But guess what? Everyone in the majors has a great hand/eye coordination. You have to have it to make it to the big leagues and last time I checked, hand/eye coordination doesn’t have everything to do with home runs. I bet Ichiro Suzuki’s hand/eye coordination is 100 times better than yours, but we don’t see him popping off even 15 home runs, let alone 50.
The bottom line is that your career was built on home runs, which are a product of hand/eye coordination and brute strength. Everyone has the coordination, but you had the leg up in the strength department. Your career .263 batting average is unimpressive, but those 583 home runs are what pop off the page. In your final two seasons you played 186 games and hit 61 home runs and 55 singles. Shocking.
Without steroids, maybe you fade into oblivion after the 1994 season because of your injuries and we never talk about you again. Or maybe, you play until 1999 (35 years old) and average only 30 home runs, giving you an unimpressive 388 career home runs.
Take a page out of your fellow steroid users’ book and come clean the right way. It’s not fun watching you struggle anymore.