Posted on: January 12, 2010 12:37 pm
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My Comments on Mark McGwire

Let's be honest, I don't think anyone is surprised by Mark McGwire's admission of steroid use.  It's not a shocker - it didn't need to be said - it was just known. But, I'd like to take this opportunity to talk about what I think this really means and break out a few things that McGwire said.

First: "This has nothing to do with the Hall of Fame," he said. "This has to do with me coming clean, getting it off my chest, and five years that I've held this in." 

I do believe that he has had this monkey on his back since 2005, when he said he wanted to tell the truth at the hearings.  I do believe this is a burden he's carried with him that has worn on him daily.  It's hard to imagine keeping something of such importance for so long from everyone around him, his wife, his parents, his son – not just baseball fans and the general public. 

I believe his "tearful" admission and discussions on the issue were heartfelt.  But, that doesn't make it right, or forgivable.

Now, here's where I diverge from the "poor McGwire" stance. 

McGwire waited too long, he's past the point of no return.  While fans and the media may admire his admission, the issue will linger much longer for him than for others like Andy Pettitte or A-Rod. 

Second: "There's no way a pill or an injection will give you hand-eye coordination or the ability or the great mind that I've had as a baseball player," he said. "I was always the last one to leave. I was always hitting by myself. I took care of myself."

My interpretation of this makes me think that he's just fooling himself.  Sure seems like he's sold himself on the idea that his talent was God-given and steroids didn't taint that.  But, the real truth is steroids have tainted his "hard work."  It's just a fact, God-given talent or not.

"My first hit as a Little Leaguer was a home run. I mean, they still talk about the home runs I hit in high school, in Legion ball. I led the nation in home runs in college, and then all the way up to my rookie year, 49 home runs." 

NCAA home run leader and as the 1987 AL Rookie of the Year – it's true, but it doesn't matter, it's still all tainted.

Third: "I did this for health purposes. There's no way I did this for any type of strength purposes," he said. And, "getting paid a lot of money to try to stay up to that level."

There are several players out there that have been injured that don't use steroids.  There are also plenty of players that perform and get paid millions of dollars without steroids.  This I'm just not buying.  Sure, maybe it was in a different "era" or got bad advice, but it still doesn't make it right.  

So overall, where do I stand?  I think McGwire is entering a new era of his own, one without steroids.  Hopefully he can put this behind him and show his players how hard he works and build respect as the hitting coach.  Whether his statement was contrived or not, he has a new chance to prove his true God-given talents.  Let's just see what he does with it. 

In the meantime, he said it best –

"I'm sure people will wonder if I could have hit all those home runs had I never taken steroids.

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."

Let's just move on already.

Posted on: July 15, 2009 3:38 pm
 

Selig speaks out, finally

It was just a few weeks ago I wrote about MLB's policy that allows a player to go on a "rehab" assignment in the minors on the tail end of a supension -- so they are ready to get back on the major league roster immediately.

Now, Bud Selig is finally speaking out on the issue and I have to say, it's about time!  Read the full story.

However, no matter how much Selig wants the rules changed, the current rule is in place through December 2011, so it will be some time before it is even brought up again.

During a Q&A session with the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Selig said of the rules, "Their logic was OK -- look, guys get hurt, they can go out on rehab, and so and so forth. But I think that's something we need to really change in the next labor negotiation."

Here's what union general counsel Michael Weiner, who has been designated to succeed Donald Fehr as players' association head,  said:

The current rules were in place "to make certain that the penalty a player actually serves does not exceed the negotiated penalty." And, "A player suspended for 50 games should be able to return to play after the 50 games are served."

Not sure what Weiner is getting at here because if a player is suspended for 50 games, he's right, after 50 games served, he SHOULD be able to return to play -- and that should INCLUDE the minors.   Where's the debate?  To me, it's very clear cut.

Category: MLB
Posted on: June 18, 2009 4:11 pm
 

Chiming in on Manny and Sammy

I feel a sense of outrage after reading about Manny's return to the minors during his 50-game suspension for violating the drug policy.  

Manny is eligible to return July 3, when the Dodgers are in San Diego.

According to the latest reports, he's about a week away from a minor league assignment.  The assignment would be with San Bernardino, the Dodgers' Class-A affiliate.  However, the "schedule" isn't really that convenient for Manny because the league takes a break when Manny can play. 

I just can't believe that any player who violated the drug policy can be suspended for 50 games however, that does not include the minors?  A suspended player can allot time in their suspension for a "warm-up" period? 

The issue just goes back to MLB turning a blind eye to steroids and NOT being clear, concise and unwavering in their efforts to rectify the problem.  If Manny, or any other player for that matter, is suspended, it should be all-encompassing.  Period.  NO minor league stints... NO exceptions.   

Speaking of exceptions, Manny can have a minor league stint but he can't VISIT the clubhouse.  Remember not too long ago the big stink that was made of his visit to the Dodger's clubhouse.  Well, it wasn't really a stink, there was just a "friendly" reminder from the league.  HOWEVER, you'll notice that the policy was NO visits to the clubhouse when media is present, but when it's not present, it's okay?  

No wonder why baseball continues to suffer under the shadows of steroids, the league can't even be clear on punishments.

Seems like there's still a long way to go in this area.

Also, speaking of punishments, another report says a congressional committee will look into Sammy Sosa's denial of using illegal performance-enhancing drugs.  I think that Congress should get back to the business of our country and leave the baseball controversies to the League officials. 

Maybe the league should have such a committee.  However, I think we should start questioning the ethics of the League and this supposed "confidential" drug test back in 2003. 

This time I have to side with the players.  Regardless of if what they did was wrong or right, the League agreed to keep these drug tests confidential.  Amazing how the leaks keep on comming. 

But, shame on the players for not only taking the drugs, but actually believing that this information could actually be kept secret. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 10, 2009 12:01 pm
 

A-Rod

Okay - everyone else is talking/blogging about A-Rod so hey, why shouldn't I, right?  Sure I'm getting sick of all the A-Rod, A-Roid, A-Fraud chatter, who isn't? 

In a way though, I think that all this mess is working to his advantage.  Here's the thing, I'm starting to actually feel BAD for the guy.  He may not have to worry about a down economy with his excessive $28 million per year, but he certainly has the world on his shoulders personally and professionally.

With his divorce behind him, it seems as if in these troubled times he's turned to his family with his children and ex-wife standing behind him.  That's just a statement as to how much he needs the support to get through these troubled times.

When you make the kind of money that he does, I would think you'd feel a sense of duty and responsibility to perform... at least I would.  Then BAM! comes the steroid saga, which makes all his fans and teammates doubt his abilities.  I'm sure all he wanted to do was get back on the field and play baseball to prove himself.  But, before you know it, he's stopped in his tracks when he needed surgery on his hip.  Now he can just recover, rehab and patiently wait to get back on the field.  That has to be the worst feeling.  

This won't be the last of the A-Rod saga for the season.  Do you think it's even possible for him to come back and shush all the ney-sayers and non-believers?  Or do you think that no matter how well he performs, he's doomed and set up to fail?

I think this season will be a big one for A-Rod. I believe it's actually possible for him return to baseball and put all this behind him, it's just a very thin line he'll be walking on for a while.

 

 

Category: MLB
Posted on: March 5, 2009 2:30 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2009 11:37 pm
 

Mixed Emotions on WBC

So, it's here.  The World Baseball Classic.  The 16-team international baseball tournament -- a product of the many great minds at MLB coming together for the greater good of international baseball. 

I have no problems with international competition, but shouldn't that be left to something like the Olympics?  Of course I'm aware that baseball (along with softball) has been officially voted out of Olympic play.  So, where does that leave international baseball competition?  One decision had nothing to do with the other, the Classic was planned way before baseball was axed from the Olympics.  But, if baseball can't drum up enough support for the Olympics, how will the World Baseball Classic make it?

It almost seems like a nuisance, this international competition in several different locations around the world, held during spring training when teams are supposed to be gearing up for regular season play.  How do players benefit?  MLB? International baseball?  I hear so many different things through the grapevine.  I think it's a love / hate relationship really.  There's pros and theirs cons, as always, but which weighs more?  

Sure, players love the camaraderie, but shouldn't many of them be back with their teams, getting ready to play 162 games and building team camaraderie? 

What about injuries?  Sure players run the risk by playing in the tournament, but they're just barely ready to play - let alone travel and compete in an international tournament.  What about fatigue that could hit earlier because they wore themselves out too early, too soon?

And, what about the state of the economy?  Surely that has to effect ticket sales. What kind of crowds will there be at each location?  Will there be too little ticket sales to warrent discontinuing this? 

I'm curious to see the aftermath of the 2009 Classic . . . I think it comes down to $$ and in this day and age, nobody seems to have any to spare. 

Visit:  World Baseball Classic Coverage

 

 

 

 

Posted on: September 9, 2008 4:31 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2008 12:40 pm
 

Worthy of punishment?

If you didn't see the live version of it last night, I would hope you've seen it in highlights today.  I'm talking about the all-out brawl between the Yankees' Ivan Rodriguez and the Angels' Torii Hunter

Who was involved?  I don't really care.  Who started it?  Not a concern either.  What really irks me here is the reaction in the aftermath of the event. 

As it's been said, Pudge and Hunter are supposedly friends off the field and later made amends for the act.  I doubut I'd have the same reaction if I went to pounce on one of my friends.  Who knows, maybe I would if we were REALLY good friends. 

-- "Torii is a nice guy. We apologized to each other," Rodriguez said. "He's a very professional player and so am I. I've been in baseball for 18 years and I've never started a fight. I compete and I compete hard. And sometimes when you compete hard, things like that happen."

HUMMMM, I'm not so sure I buy that either.  I don't recall Michael Phelps fighting the French swimmers after their smack talk in Beijing during the Olympics on his way to a record eight gold metals.  I could be wrong though, but I don't think so. 

And from Hunter -- "It happened so fast...I don't know if Pudge thought I pushed him. He pushed me. It just got frustrating."

To me, that statement sounds like it comes from someone who is trying to prove he didn't do anything rather than truly apologetic for the incident - faulty or not.

The AP reporter descirbed manager Joe Girardi as, "glad to see some feistiness in his team." 

Girardi even said, "It's not something that you want to see happen, but it's emotion...Pudge was showing emotion, and I'm OK with that. Emotion is a good thing. It's baseball. Boys being boys."

This is when I really am in awe.  I didn't realize baseball rules included emotion leading to fights in the rulebook as okay.  And "boys being boys" -- these aren't boys.  They're men.  And, they should set an example for the boys who look up to and admire them. If my son got in a fight at a Little League game I certainly wouldn't tell him, "it's okay - it's just boys being boys."  and I wouldn't expect a coach to condone it either. 

I'm not saying that these things don't happen sometimes.  Like Angels manager Mike Scioscia said,  "It was an unfortunate incident."  -- And it certainly was.  I just think that it should not have been blatenly condoned by coaches or the players.

Update: So Pudge and Hunter were suspended for two games each.  I agree with the judgement, do you?  It all seems fair although but both players were previously scheduled to sit out one of the games anyway.  What about Girardi?  Do you think his original comments were worthy of any ramifications?  I would have to say that's  stretch, but i still don't agree with it. 

Torii said the most respectable thing after the punishment was handed down, "I figured it would be like a game, but two? I didn't expect that... You do the crime, you got to do the time.."  -- Good for you Torii,

Pudge's reaction you ask?  Is he truly sorry or willing to take responsibility for his actions?  You be the judge:

"That was just part of the game," he said. "It was just two players that love to play the game, that play the game hard and it happens. I'll just take it now, so I can be ready Saturday."

Posted on: August 28, 2008 12:10 pm
 

Ready, set and here we go

Summer is officially over and for me, it means back to business.  And by business I mean sports.  Of course sports IS my business, but that's besides the point.  It's always towards the end of summer and all the repeats I start to miss the hustle and bustle of sports overload. 

You know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Yeah, sure there's baseball throughout the summer and smack in the middle of it is the MLB All-Star Game.  Of course that's also the slowest week in sports.  I'm guessing that's part of the fun of Fantasy Baseball.  All summer long you can throw yourselves into your leagues without any other sports (real or fantasy) taking precidence.  But in my house, there's much more to sports than just basball. 

Usually around the beginning of August I start to long for the days spent watching college football, planning weekends around who's playing who and where and who's leading in all the standings.  This year, the Olympic Games were a nice taste of things to come. I really enjoyed watching it, but it made me long more for all the kickoff days yet to come. 

Let's not forget the part of the fun that involves tailgaiting and watching games at bars.  There's always enough wings, pizza, chips, fried apps and beer to feed 10 times more people than are actually there. 

And, that's what I'm talking about and eager to get started... NFL and college football are first, MLB heads into the playoffs, NBA starts training, NHL starts and it all becomes the focus of life for the next several months.  And that is until I've been overloaded at some point after the New Year.  Then, I get just enough of a rest to appreciate March Madness.  Then it all starts over again.

Category: General
Tags: Fall Sports
 
Posted on: August 1, 2008 3:24 pm
 

Midseason trades: What does it all mean?

Here  a few thoughts on the trades that went down:

In the American League . . .

For the moment, the Rays have the lead in the AL East and they need to keep playing how they've been all season.  But with a few monster trades, the Yankees will certainly be breathing down their necks.  I like their additions, but just not sure why they never went full-speed ahead for pitching help in the back-end of the rotation.  And as for Boston, Jason Bay has stats similar to Manny, but comes with less experience.  There's no doubt he's more of a team player so it could be a good mix for Boston.

In the Central, Griffey to the White Sox was an interesting move.  With the Twins closing in on the lead, you’d think they would go with more of a WOW trade, but maybe he can shake up the lineup in Chicago enough. 

As for the West, well, the Angels got themselves a little “October” insurance with the addition of Teixeira.  The Angels have shown some interest in keeping him around so the offseason will be interesting. 

In the National League . . .

I'm surprised there weren't more "big moves" in the NL East.  The Mets, Phillies and Marlins are all within a game or two and nobody really made a make-it (or break-it) trade. 

Despite the Brewers' recent losing streak, I still think the addition of CC Sabathia is a good one for the Brewers and will make the NL Central race a tight one to the very end. 

And, in the West? Will Manny's addition to the Dodgers lineup give them an edge over the Diamondbacks?  We'll soon see.  Although, I'm sure he'll add some drama, somehow.  I think Manny could have really made a difference for the Marlins, but in the end, I think it's better he didn't end up there.  Nobody expected the Marlins to be where they are and perhaps one of the reasons they are playing so well and still in the hunt is because of good chemistry in the clubhouse.  Who knows if it all would've exploded when Manny arrived.

Check out the complete TRADE ANALYSIS for an in-depth look at the trades.  
 
What do you think was the biggest midseason trade?  Do you think any were a total bust?  Which teams missed the boat?

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com