View Full Version : I Forgive You, Mark

01-15-2010, 04:49 PM
Here is a pretty good take on the drugs in sports issue! By David Harsanyi. (http://townhall.com/columnists/DavidHarsanyi/2010/01/15/i_forgive_you,_mark?page=full&comments=true)

Tucked in among the compelling news items focusing on Tigers Woods' prodigious appetite for female companionship was a nugget relaying how the greatest golfer of all time had visited a Canadian doctor now under investigation for providing performance-enhancing drugs to his clients.

Tiger wasn't alone. Noted Olympic swimmer Dara Torres and other prominent athletes also felt an uncanny urge to venture northward to partake in the vaunted Canadian health care system -- all of them, naturally, innocent until proven otherwise.

Then, of course, there was predictable news that one-time Major League slugger Mark McGwire had admitted to using steroids when breaking baseball's single-season home run record in 1998. He has asked for forgiveness.

As this latest news unfolded, I, a sports fan, was neither distressed nor offended. I watched cable news talkers -- thought-provoking policy analysts on a number of other days -- deconstruct this moment of national shame. Nothing. I listened to the moral preening of athletes turned ESPN analysts. Nothing. I suspect I was not alone.

It occurred to me that the question I truly wanted posed was this: Why are performance-enhancing drugs considered so appalling to begin with?

Professional leagues are free to ban any substance they choose in an effort to create competitive parity. Yet there is nothing inherently corrupt or immoral about utilizing technology that allows us to build stamina, strength and quickness -- or, perhaps even more beneficially, helps an athlete bounce back from injuries sooner.

Why is our default position that of aversion? If a professional pitcher is permitted to undergo a ligament transplant that can improve his arm strength and extend his career after an injury, why can't he schedule injections to improve his strength beforehand?

Do enhancers make sports unfair? Yes. But since when have professional sports ever been fair? In baseball, one team can outspend another tenfold. Is that fair? However much we romanticize the enterprise, Major League Baseball is stocked with entertainers, not Seventh-day Adventists.

continued (http://townhall.com/columnists/DavidHarsanyi/2010/01/15/i_forgive_you,_mark?page=2)

01-16-2010, 12:28 PM
I used to be a McGwire fan. But I don't admire the way he constantly prevaricates. He just isn't a stand-up guy. Sportswriters in St Louis, who ordinarily would give him a pass, aren't.

Here's an article by a feature writer on the STL Post-Dispatch. He's a pretty no-nonsense guy, although a lib most of the time.


With Medium Mac, suspend disbelief

http://images.stltoday.com/stltoday/resources/mcclellan100.jpg Bill McClellan
More columns (http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/columnists.nsf/Columnist/Bill+McClellan?Opendocument)
Bill's Biography (http://www.conservativeunderground.com/stltoday/news/columnists.nsf/billmcclellan/story/EA35FDD0ABB87C408625705400563667?OpenDocument)

Bill McClellan (bmcclellan@post-dispatch.com)

Five years ago next month, the newspaper received the following statement from Big Mac: "Once and for all, I did not use steroids or any other illegal substance."

Now we have a newer version of truth from the smaller Medium Mac. He did use steroids, but only for his health, never to enhance his performance. For that matter, the steroids did not help him hit all those home runs. That ability was a gift from God. Nevertheless, Medium Mac is sorry about taking steroids.

Why would you be sorry you did something for your health? That's like apologizing for eating vegetables.

Also, we have learned that Tony La Russa, the smartest man in baseball and Mark McGwire's staunchest defender, learned only this week that his longtime friend was a steroid user. "Mark and I never confronted it," he told ESPN.

http://us.bc.yahoo.com/b?P=b922e56c-02bc-11df-aa87-9bf3c72cc303&T=198kk1glf%2fX%3d1263659542%2fE%3d2022775850%2fR% 3dncnws%2fK%3d5%2fV%3d8.1%2fW%3d0%2fY%3dPARTNER_US %2fF%3d209099863%2fH%3dYWx0c3BpZD0iOTY3MjgzMTUxIiB zZXJ2ZUlkPSJiOTIyZTU2Yy0wMmJjLTExZGYtYWE4Ny05YmYzY zcyY2MzMDMiIHNpdGVJZD0iMTEzMzU1MSIgdFN0bXA9IjEyNjM 2NTk1NDI3NTc4MDYiIHRhcmdldD0iX3RvcCIg%2fQ%3d-1%2fS%3d1%2fJ%3d27558862&U=13u92ogu8%2fN%3dnmpzB0wNiZw-%2fC%3d600474452.600489256.405020833.403865905%2fD %3dLREC%2fB%3d1739551232334111823%2fV%3d2

Not even after Jose Canseco's book about rampant steroid use among La Russa's Oakland players, a book in which Canseco specifically mentioned McGwire? Not even after Big Mac went to Congress and refused to talk about the past?

At a time when everybody in baseball was talking about McGwire and steroids, and La Russa was front and center denying all such allegations, it never came up?

What are we to make of all this?

I think of that famous sportswriter, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Back in 1817, he wrote that being a baseball fan in the steroid era requires a "willing suspension of disbelief." Actually, Coleridge was writing about a reader's responsibility to accept supernatural elements witches and such as part of what he called poetic faith.

But he could have been talking about baseball in the steroid era.

A home run record that had been almost sacred and unapproachable was suddenly demolished. And not just by Big Mac. Sammy Sosa hit 66 home runs the same year.

In hindsight, it's easy to say we should have known. And maybe we did. Remember the reporter finding the Andro in Big Mac's locker? That's called a clue.

Most people ignored it. In fact, the villain in that story was the snoopy reporter.

So we're good at this suspension of disbelief thing.

01-16-2010, 01:17 PM
Here's the other side of the story. Bernie Miklasz is one of the main sportswriters on that lib rag, the STL Post-Dispatch. He's not a rah rah, back the team guy, so I generally pay attention to his views.


Former players back La Russa

http://images.stltoday.com/stltoday/resources/miklasz235story.jpg Sports Columnist Bernie Miklasz
[More columns] (http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/columnists.nsf/Columnist/Bernie+Miklasz?Opendocument)

Bernie Miklasz (bjmiklasz@post-dispatch.com)

For whatever it's worth, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has support in his contention that he never suspected Mark McGwire of steroid use in Oakland or St. Louis. La Russa claims he didn't know until the regretful McGwire called him Monday to reveal the secret.

Former Cardinals outfielder Brian Jordan says there was no steroid talk circulating around the St. Louis clubhouse during the late 1990s. And that extends to the manager's office. "We all saw the same thing Mark McGwire working very hard," Jordan said. "I know I was taken by surprise by this."

Former Oakland slugger Jose Canseco insists La Russa was aware of steroid use among A's players, but other A's disagree with Canseco.

"I trust Tony fully on this," ace pitcher Dave Stewart said. "I believe what he says. I've been asked a lot about McGwire and what I knew. And the answer is 'absolutely nothing.' That's the truth. The best analysis I can give you is, if you are not in that group using steroids, how would you know? One thing we've learned through all of this is, during that time, players using steroids kept it very quiet and private. The game is hard enough as is without worrying about what someone else is doing at all times.
"That's especially true of the manager. He has even more responsibilities and more things to worry about. He's planning for that day's game, handling the roster and lineup, running the game, dealing with the media, taking on unexpected problems. It's a consuming job. Imagine trying to keep track of 25 players."

Former Oakland GM Sandy Alderson told the MLB Network that he suspected a couple of A's may have been using steroids and that at one point the team did confront Canseco.

"But that suspicion did not extend to Mark McGwire," Alderson said. "During my time in Oakland with Mark I don't think anybody in the organization suspected that he was using steroids ... probably the most important consideration at that time was that many of us were simply naive about what was going on."

That's not entirely true, according to former Oakland outfielder Dave Henderson.

"We didn't actually see McGwire or Canseco do steroids, but when you shower with a player every day, you notice their body and muscular (transformation), and these guys got big overnight," Henderson said in an interview