"I used steroids during my playing career and I apologize," McGwire said in a statement released on January 11, 2010.
Like the time Bill Clinton confessed of an extra-marital affair, Clay Aiken announced he was homosexual or when Nick Nolte pleads 'no contest' to any alcohol-related offense, there were certain celebrity admissions that don't exactly catch the rest of us too far off guard. Nor are we blindsided to learn another modern day slugger took steroids while rapidly climbing baseball's home run list.
Was it the 500-foot bombs being launched from Popeye-like forearms that first hinted of McGwire's involvement during that decade? Didn't Big Mac put some special sauce on that speculation in 2005 wih his refusal to speak about the past when he was sitting before congress for the sole purpose to speak about the past?
Anyone who didn't suspect McGwire, or others, of using steroids wasn't paying close enough attention. And whoever needed Mark to come clean to know that he was cheating needs to just stop paying attention (to anything, come to think of it, because you're naivety might be dangerous to the vast majority).
For baseball fans, it justifies our understanding of the game when the more obvious users confess to our suspicions. But the manner in which they admit to their actions is worse because that insults our intelligence.
Alex Rodriguez got his from a cousin, Barry Bonds didn't know what it was ( Sammy Sosa, remember, couldn't speak English for one day) and McGwire's attempt to come clean was also a pile of lies.
"I have the chance to do something that I wish I was able to do five years ago" "I wish I had never touched steroids", Mark's statement had self-righteous rhetoric and his sincerity was as enhanced as he and his fellow bash brothers were when they played ball.
McGwire spoke with the Associated Press soon after he sent his prepared release and, as he apologized, his voice cracked. While some suggest that was just a precursor to what his tendons might someday do, I think it was genuine emotion coming from McGwire.
Genuine and selfish emotions from Mark, I'd say.
[Flashback to the summer of 1985 and, with his newly earned State of Pennsylvania Driver License, Dominic Joseph Zaccagnini is sitting on his parents couch while a Shaler Township policeman explains how he just clocked my mother's Volkswagen Rabbit at double the speed limit through a 40 mph zone. As I was busted and banned from that mean machine it dawned on me that I didn't have a car of my own, or anything else, so I began to apologize. Over and over until, and I'm pretty certain, my voice cracked while I did.
The point was that I wasn't so emotional because of how sorry I was for making my mistake. But I was REALLY sorry that I was caught. It was difficult now telling the truth and scary too.]
The timing, tone and take of Mark McGwire's admission felt disingenuous.
The mistruths continued just hours following his released statement and AP interview when McGwire told Bob Costas on the MLB Network, "The only reason I took steroids was for health purposes"
It had nothing to do with his hitting all those home runs, he says. Or, the fame, money and adulation that comes with being a major league baseball home run king.