Memo from The Sports Desk: There’s No Crying in Baseball By Raoul Duke Jr.

12 January 2010

Ed. Note: The following piece came over the Mojo Wire this morning. Due to time constraints and inadequate staffing, we could not edit all of Duke’s notes. We post it as is.

8:35 a.m. – editor called me up and said “get your lazy ass to St. Louis, McGwire is gonna tell all.”

Holy shit I thought, how does he know that those girls from last night were underage Indonesian drug mules. Damn this drive-by media.

“No you booze-addled blog hack, Big Mac is going to admit he used steroids.”

“But boss, is this news? What next, do you want me to cover Harry Reid saying that Prez Obama is black? Gimme a real assignment, one with a generous expense account and an open bar.”

My pleadings went nowhere and off I was to St. Louis to cover a non-event.

1:15 p.m. …usual press/sportswriters mingle near the PR table…full copy of Mac’s prepared words…swear that one flak is eyeballing me, doesn’t he know I always carry enough explosives to blow up half of downtown where ever I am?

(Ed. Note: Factual background on McGwire courtesy of Pure Gibberish Research Department.)

Mark McGwire was the first baseman for the Oakland A’s and St. Louis Cardinals from 1986-2001. In his rookie year with the A’s he hit a record 49 homers and won the Rookie of the Year award going away. He became part of the Bash Brothers with Jose Canseco, who later admitted to taking steroids and first implicated McGwire. Along the way Mac and the A’s won a World Series in 1989. During the series, an earthquake nearly wrecked most of the San Francisco Bay area. In 1997, McGwire was traded to the Cardinals where he finished his career. In 1998, he set the then single season home run record with 70, obliterating the previous mark set by Roger Maris of 61 in 196. Three years later Barry Bonds blow McGwire out of the water by hitting 73. McGwire retired in 2001 due to injuries.

So there is McGwire facing the press, via telephone, talking to AP only. Nothing says coming clean like hiding behind a phone in an undisclosed location. Who does he think he is Cheney?

The nuts and bolts are that Big Mac admitted he used steroids throughout the 1990’s but couldn’t remember when it began or when it ended. He was sorry for what he’d done and wished he hadn’t played in the steroid era. The ‘roids didn’t make him a better hitter. He called the Maris family and apologized. He didn’t want to lie in front of Congress but he had to protect his family. Then he gave the biggest load of horseshit anyone has heard since NBC told Conan – you’re our guy. “This has nothing to do with the Hall of Fame. This has to do with me coming clean, getting it off my chest, and five years that I’ve held this in.”

So many things to rip apart so little time.

Where was the apology to the sportswriters? In 1998, Associated Press reporter Steve Wilstein found the bottle of Androstenedione in his locker and he said it was a vitamin supplement. Whenever we broached the subject of Andro, a banned substance in the Olympics and NFL, McGwire would seem inflate himself, his uniform would rip from his overly pumped body and he would turn green. During one such occasion, he tore the head off St. Louis Post-Dispatch scribe Rick Hummel. It got better.

On March 17, 2005, McGwire, along with a few other steroid users went before Congress to lie about the abuse of ‘roids that was prevalent in baseball. McGwire, four years retired, told congress “I’m not here to talk about the past.” I guess he was there to say that he would no longer use the juice now that his career was over. How noble.

Wilstein reported at the time that McGwire, “looked like a guilty man trying to cover up.” He also did not believe that any home run records would be erased due to the scandal, but believed “the whole era will be tainted.” He called the hearings a “sham.”

Back to the phone conference…as for an excuse McGwire said, “During the ’90s I went to the DL seven times and missed 228 games over five years. I experienced a lot of injuries, including a ribcage strain, a torn left heel muscle, a stress fracture of the left heel, and a torn right heel muscle. It was definitely a miserable bunch of years, and I told myself that steroids could help me recover faster. I thought they would help me heal and prevent injuries, too.’’

It has been argued that steroids doesn’t help you become a better hitter, you still need hand and eye coordination. That’s true. But when I go elk hunting, I still bring a big game rifle and 700 Nitro Express cartridges to increase my odds.

After his -plagued seasons in the mid-1990’s when he started juicing full-time, McGwire’s HR production improved and the power was astronomical. From 1995-1999 he hit: 39, 52, 58, 70 and 65. And he wasn’t clearing the fence either. His shots, shown through the Hubble Telescope on SportsCenter, knocked down buildings across the street. One homer threw the Strela-2M satellite off its orbit.

His real motivation is the Hall. This past election season he got 23.7% of the vote, a mere 51.3% shy of induction. He is playing the only card left in his hand – contrition. If he kept denying the steroid claim, he would sit at 23-25% for the next nine years. Then the Veteran’s Committee would shun him due to the bright light shown on baseball’s dirty little secret. With this admission, McGwire probably gains 50-75 votes. That could get him above 35%. Goodwill and playing nice with the press could get him another 20 votes. Next thing you know he is approaching 50%. Then it’s just a waiting game.

Not that I am allowed to vote (see previous Memo) but he will never get mine. I hate to be a “do as I say and not as I do” type person, but my excessive drug use and immoderate alcohol consumption, while making me a much better writer, is not illegal, except in Snellville, GA. I don’t have to sign a morals contract with this two-bit blog. If writers ever had to, newspapers would be ads and nothing more. Trust me, even the religion columnist is a glue-sniffer who hangs around your town’s red-light district hoping not to stumble into a fellow churchgoer.

…is he crying?…

Come clean already you swine… who’s going to listen to a tainted hitting coach?

Ed Note: the last page of the Mojo wire is blurry as Duke didn’t use the IBM Selectric II typewriter provided at his insistence but went to hand written notes.

Hall doesn’t want him…

Writers won’t forgive so easily…

Maybe on the Veteran’s Committee in 13 years…

Why can’t I get a decent white Russian at these things?…

Hotel is lousy St. Louis RV Vacation & Travel Show, why couldn’t he do this in two weeks When the Auto Show is on town. More gas-guzzlers!

Baseball off the field 2010 weird craziness…

Who’s next? Palmeiro, Bonds, Sosa and Clemens will never give it up, cowards all.

-30-

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