Thursday, January 22, 2009

et tu, Mark?

Well, it's been quite some time since I posted anything, but there were two fairly major stories that broke today concerning the Cardinal Nation. Unfortunately, neither concerned the signing of a major free agent and neither were exactly good news. I'll start with the fact that Troy Glaus had shoulder surgery yesterday and will be out up to three months. If he is out that long, it would mean missing likely the first month of the season. Though Glaus had only a so-so offensive season last year, he is the best "proven" bat he have to surround Pujols and his defense was excellent last year, so much so that there is no question we got the better of the deal we made with Blue Jays. There is a slight positive to this injury in that our minor league system is more loaded at 3B than any other position. Freese, Wallace and Craig are all thought to be potential future major leaguers. In fact, it's widely assumed that the Cardinals will part ways with Glaus after this season when he is a free agent, if not beforehand if it seems prudent to do so. Freese will most likely get the first shot because he is the most seasoned, but Wallace is thought of as the bigger talent in the long run. So, long story short, it's likely we'll get a look at one of more of those guys sooner than we thought, and if they play well enough, perhaps a deadline deal involving Glaus will be more of a real possibility this summer.

The second big story involves more bad press for Cardinal icon Mark McGwire. The essence of this story is that McGwire's brother, Jay, is peddling a book in which he claims to have been the one to introduce Mark to performance enhancing drugs and helped him start using them in 1994. Now this story has some major asterisks. First, it broke on I love that site for it's witty blogging, but it's never really been known for it's hard-hitting journalism. Second, Jay McGwire admits to having a major falling-out with his brother several years ago, and they are no longer on speaking terms. Clearly, Jay is trying to make some money on his brother's fame and the steroid controversy. That being said, the story does probably have some credence. First, Mark himself has famously never denied (or admitted I guess) using performances enhancers like steroids. Second, Jay was a professional body builder who has admitted using steroids in the past, and undoubtedly had the connections that he describes giving Mark. I've always wanted to give Mark McGwire the benefit of the doubt. He was a great player who helped bring the game and the Cardinals back to national prominence in the late 90s. He also seems like a great guy who has done a lot of good things outside of the game. Because, of this, I really hope this story makes him come forward and tell the truth. It seems pretty clear that he used some type of performance enhancers in some way at this point. The people who have come forward and admitted it like Giambi and Petitte, have by and large been forgiven and moved on with their lives. The ones have not done so, like Bonds, Clemens, and Palmero, despite evidence to the contrary, continue to be vilified. I think McGwire is a much better human being than those three, and if he comes forward, admits his mistakes, and apologizes, people will still love him. Especially in the Cardinal nation. I personally believe that 20 years from now, a lot of players like McGwire will be in the Hall of Fame because we will eventually have to judge players on their level of comparable greatness in the "juiced" era, and not compare or condemn them based on the players that came before them. Some records will likely be given an asterisk, but the truth is that probably the majority of players used something at sometime in the late 80s, 90s, and early 2000s. McGwire was better than almost all the other juiced players and in reality, he wasn't even breaking any rules at the time he played. I just hope he can look far enough into the future to see his redemption and tell the truth so that he will one day live it.



sarah-bug said...

Not that I'm defending Mark or taking any kind of stand on the issue, but Canseco's book tells a slightly different story. He claims to have introduced Mark to 'roids way back in the 80s, several years before Jay claims to have introduced PEDs to the slugger. It's hard to know who's telling the truth when you have to rely on such *upstanding citizens* for accounts of what happened.

Trey said...

I think most people would agree that Canseco was full of crap in just about everything he said in that book. Jay McGwire also probably has less than pure interests in what he says. Unfortunately, Mark's sudden resurgence in the mid 90s and his own silence on the subject are what lend credence to these new claims. I hope he proves me wrong though.

Cardinal70 said...

McGwire really does need to do something, I think. Hiding only enforces a negative opinion. If he did it, say so and move on. He was hitting against juiced pitchers, so he should still be in the HOF. If he didn't, at least defend yourself somehow. It may not change many minds, but it may change some.