McGwire Laments Steroid Era
Mark McGwire was the poster child for what was wrong with the "Steroid Era." Once an average sized player, the first baseman swelled up and belted his way to the single season home run record.
The problem was, as most suspected then and McGwire confirmed later, one of baseball's most hallowed records fell to a player on performance-enhancing drugs.
As McGwire, now the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, returned home to St. Louis amid a whirlwind of controversy surrounding Alex Rodriguez and others and their use of steroids, he was quick to lament what PEDs and their use have done to baseball.
"I wish there were things in place earlier," McGwire said. "They were
put in in 2003 I think. I just really hope and pray that this is the end
of it. Everybody, especially the players, don't want any more part of
it, and I hope this is the end of it. ... I wish I was never part of
McGwire also pointed to the fact that the players are no longer hiding or excusing the behavior, as he once did, but instead are among the most vocal critics of users.
"That's good, I think it's really good," McGwire said. "I think [Evan] Longoria said it was one of the saddest days in baseball. It is. It's really
bad. I just hope it's over with and we don't have to sit here and talk
about this anymore. I just pray and hope that it is."
Although McGwire was optimistic that the steroid era is over, he was far less upbeat about his own legacy in the game. Specifically, he seems resigned that, despite stellar numbers, he will never have a place in Cooperstown.
"Unfortunately, I don't believe there will be a day that I will be in
there," McGwire said. "That's OK. That's the way things are. I've dealt
with it. I'm OK with it."
Whether the first baseman ever makes it to the Hall of Fame, it will likely be years after the steroid era is officially deemed over for fans to figure out exactly how to view the players who put up big numbers due to cheating. In the meantime, the best that McGwire and others can do is continue to show remorse and speak out against any and all who seek to revive the cheating that defined years of baseball and placed numerous asterisks next to records that fans deserved to be able to have faith in.